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Phixius

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Mar 21, 2019
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10
Location
Georgia, USA
I think I'm on the right path but wanted to ask the experts. I'm new and curious can CA glue go "bad". I been working on several blanks and had a case of several blowing out. My tools are sharp but about the time I get to the last few passes before down to appropriate diameter boom they blow. Frustrated part is the tool isn't snagging or "cutting" a lot of material as this is on the last few passes. While researching on the internet seems most people blame it on the glueing process. The other part of this question is that when reading the back of the bottle it talks about using and activator on one section and the glue on the other. This is the glue that my local woodcraft sales and suggest. These pieces were glued with plenty of glue and even left to cure over 24 hours more like 48 lol. The local woodcraft says no activator needed but bottle says opposite lol. I also see a flexible glue is recommended so I'm kinda on information over load. What glue to use what am I doing wrong did it go bad do I need activator argh... Thanks
 
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mbeddo

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Jan 31, 2017
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1
Location
Abiquiu, NM
Thick CA

I always use thick CA for gluing blanks to brass barrels. Rough the brass with some sandpaper first. Thick CA has some flex after curing. I’ve never had what you’re describing happen to me.

I don’t use activator for this part.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 

1080Wayne

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Feb 5, 2006
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2,619
Location
Brownfield, Alberta, Canada.
CA can go bad , in terms of the viscosity increasing over time , from thin to medium to thick . Storage ar room or higher temperature hastens the process , so fridge or freezer storage is best .



Many of us use Gorilla or equivalent polyurethane glue rather than CA , because the foaming during cure does a better job of filling any irregularities caused by the drill bit . If you look closely at the failed pieces , you may see areas where glue coverage was poor .



What brand of glue are you using ? Some seem to cause more trouble than others . Activator not usually required in my experience , unless putting on multiple coats .
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
12,253
Location
NJ, USA.
I think I'm on the right path but wanted to ask the experts. I'm new and curious can CA glue go "bad". I been working on several blanks and had a case of several blowing out. My tools are sharp but about the time I get to the last few passes before down to appropriate diameter boom they blow. Frustrated part is the tool isn't snagging or "cutting" a lot of material as this is on the last few passes. While researching on the internet seems most people blame it on the glueing process. The other part of this question is that when reading the back of the bottle it talks about using and activator on one section and the glue on the other. This is the glue that my local woodcraft sales and suggest. These pieces were glued with plenty of glue and even left to cure over 24 hours more like 48 lol. The local woodcraft says no activator needed but bottle says opposite lol. I also see a flexible glue is recommended so I'm kinda on information over load. What glue to use what am I doing wrong did it go bad do I need activator argh... Thanks
Hello Kevin and welcome to the site ( I am going on the assumption the name is Kevin. )

There are a few questions that can help us help you. That glue you mention advertises as a wood glue. I mention this because just because it is a CA glue there are many versions out there and if they go out of the way to stress wood glue than I assume it is designed mainly for gluing wood for quick joints but need further fastening later. I also read that it does mention good for gluing to pen tubes but to me it looks like an after thought. Not saying it would not work. If the glue is bad it would be rock hard or harder than what it is original. It is not going to lose its ability to adhere if in liquid state. Many people use CA to glue tubes in and get away with it. But with that said look at the blank after it was drilled and you slide the tube in. Many times the gap is somewhat large and now you are asking a a liquid to fill that gap and remain in contact with all parts of that tube and inner blank. Yes it is a thick version but the same theory applies because as you insert the tube you are guaranteed to remove glue from areas as you slide it in. Just the nature of the beast. As I said some get away with this and do just fine.

One thing about any CA glue DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT use accelerator when inserting tube. You will not get the tube in in time before it adheres.

I am one who prefers to use an epoxy glue to glue all my tubes in. This does two things. Fills gaps because the viscosity is thicker and remains on the surface of the tube and inner side of the blank. Some like to use polyurethane such as Gorilla glues that expand. To me you have to be careful as that glue drys that it does not push the tube out and it can get messy.

Now to your turning adventures. You do not say what the blank is but really does not matter. Heat is your enemy. This is in all aspects of pen turning, drilling, and turning. As you get closer to proper size the diameter of the blank becomes small and thinner. So any heat can not dissipate as fast as when full size. Transfer that heat to the tube and the glue becomes weak. With that said another thing to be aware of is heat when drilling. Use sharp bits, and keep cool. There are some woods that are so suspect to the slightest amount of heat that they develop hairline cracks from drilling and can not be seen until turned down. Some acrylics are this way also.

Hope some of this helps and maybe a few more details can help us help you. Photos are always a good thing too. Good luck.
 

Bubba57

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Joined
Mar 11, 2014
Messages
103
Location
Lake City, Florida
This doesn't really answer your question but it might help. I had fairly frequent blowouts when using CA...sometimes it would peel the wood right off the brass tube. I switched to epoxy and haven't had a single blowout since.
Just something to consider.
 

penicillin

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
135
I had blowouts on my early pens, which were glued with medium StickFast CA glue. Here are some things I learned that may help you.

* It depends on the wood. What type of wood is @Phixius using? I have trouble with more blowouts from "brittle" woods like marblewood, for example. It blows out more than other wood types that I have turned. Other woods might soak up a lot of the CA, leaving too little glue between the tube and the blank. A book I read on pen turning suggested that you apply thin CA to the inside of the hole on certain "absorbent" woods before gluing.
* Use "Flexible CA" for glueing tubes. CA can be brittle when cured. Flexible CA has some "give" and that extra cushioning and flexibility may help keep the wood attached to the tube, where a regular CA might crack apart.
* Glue application technique? It sounds like Phixius is doing all the right things, making sure that the glue is thoroughly distributed between all of the tube and the inside of the blank.
* Use activator? When I was having blowout problems, my expert pen turning friends suggested spraying activator on each end of the blank after the tube has been inserted in the blank. That helped. The blowouts stopped, but it could have been improved technique or other factors.
* Old glue? Glue I bought mid-summer 2018 has not worked well for CA finishes for the last two months. Replacing with fresh glue fixed the problem instantly.
* Frankly, the best answer for me was that I switched to polyurethane glue for most pen glue-ups. I have never had a blowup or other issue with polyurethane. See my notes below.

When I Glue Tubes with Something Other than Polyurethane:

* Flexible CA Glue: If I do not have time to wait overnight for polyurethane glue to cure, then I use flexible CA glue. Sometimes you want to make a pen from start to finish in one session. Once the tube is inserted in the blank, I spray each end of the blank with activator, per my friends' recommendation. The blank(s) should be ready to turn in a few minutes.

* Epoxy: I use epoxy on special pen blanks where the glue might show, like those translucent acrylic pen blanks. (I used to paint the tubes but not the holes. The next pen, I plan to paint both, and will reassess to see if I still need epoxy in those cases.)

Polyurethane Glue Notes

If you are thinking about switching to polyurethane, here are a few hints:
* I dip a Q-tip in water and wet the inside of the drill hole before glueing. The water helps activate the polyurethane glue.
* I wear gloves and work on a Rockler silicone mat and wax paper. Polyurethane is messy.
* I squirt polyurethane glue around the tip of the tube and spiral it along the length, then I insert the tube with a twisting motion, pulling it in and out while twirling, to make sure that the tube is fully coated.
* During the next hour or so, the polyurethane will foam out of the hole and down the outside of the blank as it cures. Let your blanks cure on wax paper or a silicone mat. I have never seen it happen, but I have been told that it can push your tube out of the hole.
* I use a sharp chisel to slice off the excess polyurethane from the outside of the blank. There is no use dulling your pen mill on hard glue. Chisels are sharp. Be careful!

I have tried using Play-Doh to plug the tubes before glueing. It was messier and more work than cleaning excess glue with the pen mill (or on rare occasions, a round file). I have not tried potato or dental wax yet. Frankly, glue cleanup has not been much of an issue for me.

I hope this helps.
 

pshrynk

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
202
Location
Lake City, Minnesota
When using polyurethane, I always wrap a rubber band lengthwise with a turn on one end to keep the tube anchored. I have had some problems with them pushing out and the rubber bands do the trick. Sometimes I have to chisel the bands off with the glue, but usually they pop right off and I can reuse them. Polyurethane can be dyed to camouflage the tubes, also.
 

Phixius

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
The help here is amazing first of all. 2nd I am fortunate to have an awesome mentor that did an autopsy of my pen blank blowouts. He walked me through his gluing technique but also took a quick inspection of my lathe tools. I have been using a carbide tool at his shop without issues. So when I could I bought one for my self. Seems unbeknownst to me his carbide tool blade is 15x15x2.5 30degrees angle with a 4” radius curve. Here’s the kicker I bought my tool looking at his but did not know of the 4” radial curve that was the kicker upon noticing this slight detail he gave me a couple of blades to replace my perfect square well voila that was the difference an the issue. The great thing is I have learned an awesome amount from you guys thank you very much.
 

garypetersen

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Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
4
Location
Seffner Florida
I know this is an older post, but i use foam ear plugs. I roll them thin, insert in the tubes then glue my tubes and insert into the blank. When the glue has cured i just pull them out.Any foam lft from the earplugs comes off when i trim the blank.
 

Phixius

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
I know this is an older post, but i use foam ear plugs. I roll them thin, insert in the tubes then glue my tubes and insert into the blank. When the glue has cured i just pull them out.Any foam lft from the earplugs comes off when i trim the blank.
Awesome
 
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