Review - GluBoost - A Liquid Finish For Wood

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mg_dreyer

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A few months ago I was asked to do a demo at the Midwest Penturners Gathering on finishing. At that same time I had the opportunity through a Chicago based turning club to talk directly with a manufacturer of a liquid finish generally used in the high end woodworking and musical instrument repair arena – GluBoost. I had a series of good, technical conversations before I decided to try the product. Before MPG I only had a few days to try it, but since then it has become my “Go To” finish for all my wood pens. I demonstrated it at the AAW conference in Portland with great interest. Below are my observations and why I like it so much.

Advantages:

• GluBoost is a professional finish. The application is fast, easy and safe. First and foremost with respect to safety, the viscosity is such that I found I can apply it by hand with the lathe off. Simply hand turn and apply with the grain. The lathe is not spinning. Blue paper towel. This allows me to control the application, it self-levels and unlike typical CA finishes, I get no lines from the product spin drying because of air flow which I eventually have to sand out.

• Only a few coats does it. I have been using only 4 – 5 coats. The first two are the “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula” to give me a good base. I have been using the GluDry accelerator in between. Then I like to use a very light touch #0000 steel wool (lathe off) to just knock it down. Finally two or three coats of “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula Thin”. Micromesh starting at 4000. Polish. Buff. Done. If you have ever heard me talk in the past I had an elaborate three day process of three coats of thin / dry overnight, steel wool, then repeated three times. Sincerely I can now be done in ten minutes. I have heard people having to undercut the bushing because they apply 20 some coats of finish. I haven’t seen the need to go over five. The result is water clear and glossy.

• The GluDry accelerator is marketed as applied “with no bubbles, pitting, hazing, crazing, blooming, yellowing or white spots.” I know these are issues with many of us and I read these questions on the board all the time. Generally I have been against accelerators, but after the conversations I had, and their understanding of the chemical process and humidity / moisture issues of wood, I accepted using it and the results with the accelerator are exceptional. Fast and easy – a little knock down with steel wool.

• Now for the exciting part. The system can accept a tint. You can change the color of the wood to anything you want – yet get the beauty of the grain comes through because it is a surface coloring – not a stain. I have been playing a lot with the amber coloring and have included a picture below of a 25 cent maple blank enhanced with the colorant to get a unique piece. And all you do is mix the “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula Thin” with the master tint color(s) you want and apply like mentioned above – lathe off / paper towel / with the grain. I have tried two coats to vary color and love the effect. Then a few coats of clear and done.

The only open issue I have is simply I have only used it for a few months and only over a few dozen species of wood – so I look forward to your comments. I have used it over half wood / half acrylic pens and it went on smooth. If you decide to try it – please let me know your results. I know Ed Brown from ExoticBlanks asked me for contact info at the MPG and is now carrying it on his website and posted his first pen in my AAW Portland link. I think that one looks great.

I have attached some pictures. I classic wood pen with 4 coats of GluBoost. The half wood / half acrylic I mentioned above. And finally the amber tinted maple blank. I caution I am not a photographer so please be kind to my skills there.

If you have any question or comments – let me know. For anyone going to Turn On! Chicago I will be demoing it there and will have it available for the Friday night “Pens For Troops” turning session.
 

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brownsfn2

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Nice review. This is a CA based finish right? Does is say if there is anything in the mix that makes it flexible? I am just curious as I know that this is a feature of some others. Also is there a smell as it cures like there is with a regular CA glue finish?

Thanks for posting. I am going to have to try it. :)
 

edstreet

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No longer confused....
Be VERY cautious when dealing with products that refuse to post the ingredients such as which form of CA they are using and also accelerator. It’s listed as “trade secret” and there is a heavy refusal to tell you what it’s based on. Be it ECA, MCA, OCA, acetone etc.
 

jttheclockman

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To me there are alot of questions that get asked alot here all the time and you did not even touch them.

How is the odor??
Being it has an accelorator I assume it is a CA, are there different viscosities, thin, med, heavy??
Is it a hard based finish, flexible or even dent proof???
What size container will it come in??
Does it have a UV protector in it??
Is there a spec sheet on it???
Is there a cure time for it???
Can it be used as an adhesive and will it stick to all surfaces such as acrylics???
Does it polish out with the same methods of MM???
Always tough to see photos and judge sheen and shine so we have to rely on you first hand or anyone else who used it to make those comparisons, how does it compare to any other finish you have been using???
I am sure there are many other ????
 

Chief TomaToe

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First of all, thank you for the review. But I have a question a little different than some of the others posed already. What I'm unsure about is mainly the price point. If I were to buy the, "starter pack," which would inclued the 2oz thin, 2oz base, and a bottle of accelator my total would come up to $42 (via exoticblanks.com). If I were to buy the somewhat equivalent of the Stickfast brand (2.5oz thin, 2.5oz medium, 7.5oz accelerator), my total would come up to be $20.65 (via exoticblanks.com).

I don't come close to using 20 coats of CA with the Stickfast brand, but the properties of GluBoost you claim would make me want to try the product. However, is the reduction in glue usage and sanding time going to make up the vast difference in cost? I'm definitely willing to pay more for better performance, but $20 more? That is a different question!
 

jttheclockman

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Thanks for starting the conversation on this product. Anxious to try with the tints. Package coming tomorrow.
Bruce you have been around a long time and have been pen making for a long time, just curious why is it you need to try the product?? Are you not happy with what you are using now or looking for something in particular. I get the theory of trying new things that come on the market, but if you have found something and have had good results from it why mess with success. You now have to set this product through its paces with reliability for the customer and all the other tests you have already done that have proven to be within your guidlines or else you would still be looking all these years. Just the curious side of me asking. No hard reason in there. :smile:
 

mg_dreyer

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Nice review. This is a CA based finish right? Does is say if there is anything in the mix that makes it flexible? I am just curious as I know that this is a feature of some others. Also is there a smell as it cures like there is with a regular CA glue finish?

Thanks for posting. I am going to have to try it. :)
Ron,

It is CA based and there is a smell. The smell is no more than than my current brand, I believe it to be less, but this is subjective, so I cannot measure it. As for flexibility, there are a few different mixtures available - from dent repair to ding repair - remember this is a high end wood and instrument repair system - that leaves a great finish. I have only used the thin, but to address your last question I did look on their website - "Fill n’ Finish products are flexible and non creeping so they can be used in areas where CA, and other adhesives have been used before (but now with increased performance and super-clear results)".

As mentioned I only use the thin.

Thanks,
Mark
 

ed4copies

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There are several reasons you might consider a replacement for CA glue, used as a finish.

1) Application time and process--if you could cut this by a factor of say, 80 percent, would the product be worth using?
2) Tinting--have you tried tinting CA--I have and all I have gotten was "instant pretty rock". This product claims to be able to be tinted.
3) Adaptable to our purpose? Normal CA finish pens show up all the time with "problems". IF the product is MADE to be a FINISH, and if it has been used for years for Guitar repairs, does it make sense that it will endure vibration of the wood without cracking?

Those are the reasons I can dream up to look at new "FINISH" products--you are certainly entitled to stay with your preferred method.

Still hard to beat a good lacquer finish--if you have several days to work on it!!

FWIW,
Ed
 

JohnU

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I can add a little. I am not affiliated with and have no vested interest in the product. I just used it. It is a CA glue and there is an odor. As I sit here at work typing this I don't recall if it was more or less of an odor than my previous CA. They have thin and ultra thin. I used it over alumilite with successful results. It went on very easy. I put two coats on with the lathe on low and two more with the lathe stopped, using my finger in nitrile gloves. I also used the glueboost accelerator on the two final coats. I finished with micromesh and polish and the end results were the same as my previous CA finishes. It cured fine without the accelerator in short time (maybe 15-20 min but I didn't time it while I was doing other things). While using the accelerator I did not have any bubbling or white issues with the glue like I have in the past with thin CA. The difference is I didn't apply as many coats, or spend as much time as I usually do. The cap also has a pin inside that fits in the glue bottle tip, keeping the tip clear from glue buildup or clogging. This was on a pen I made for my son so I will give it some time to see how it holds up. I did use the tint for another blank. It was very easy and the tint powder mixed very quickly - not leaving any lumps. I had plenty of time to use it adding some colored dots to a surface, before it set up on me. So far I like it and look forward to seeing how it works with casting. I did find their "FAQS" page I linked below, if that helps anyone.

https://gluboost.com/faqs/
 
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BRobbins629

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Thanks for starting the conversation on this product. Anxious to try with the tints. Package coming tomorrow.
Bruce you have been around a long time and have been pen making for a long time, just curious why is it you need to try the product?? Are you not happy with what you are using now or looking for something in particular. I get the theory of trying new things that come on the market, but if you have found something and have had good results from it why mess with success. You now have to set this product through its paces with reliability for the customer and all the other tests you have already done that have proven to be within your guidlines or else you would still be looking all these years. Just the curious side of me asking. No hard reason in there. :smile:
John - while I’m not unhappy with my current processes I do like to try new things. My philosophy comes from when I used to grow tomatoes. Each year I had a champion and a challenger. Sometimes the challenger was better and sometimes not. Maybe I’m a sucker for marketing or had a weak moment, but there are two reported features I wanted to try. One is the filling of pores with open grained Woods such as walnut and purpleheart. Now I fill the grain with a mixture of sawdust and CA and this works well. Just want to see if there is a better way. The other is the apparent ability to tint. I’m not concerned with reliability for the customer as I don’t sell anything. I’m more likely to give them away. Finally, I usually lead the Richmond Penturners group and am always looking for topics. This will add to my collection of finishes for a demo which will include CA, BLO, Drs Workshop, Penturners finish, several UV curables, Aussie oil, Beall buffing, etc, all of which I use from time to time depending on my mood, the type of wood, clay or plastic and surface texture. Like you, I’m curious.
 

mg_dreyer

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First of all, thank you for the review. But I have a question a little different than some of the others posed already. What I'm unsure about is mainly the price point. If I were to buy the, "starter pack," which would inclued the 2oz thin, 2oz base, and a bottle of accelator my total would come up to $42 (via exoticblanks.com). If I were to buy the somewhat equivalent of the Stickfast brand (2.5oz thin, 2.5oz medium, 7.5oz accelerator), my total would come up to be $20.65 (via exoticblanks.com).

I don't come close to using 20 coats of CA with the Stickfast brand, but the properties of GluBoost you claim would make me want to try the product. However, is the reduction in glue usage and sanding time going to make up the vast difference in cost? I'm definitely willing to pay more for better performance, but $20 more? That is a different question!
Ronnie,

I appreciate your question and completely understand the financials. For me it is an ease of use and quality decision - which is very subjective. I like the ability to use only a few coats to generate the finish and it is a lot easier than my current process - which as described above is long and has multiple steps. As as mentioned above my goal is to provide a review on an alternative for those who are exploring options. Honestly and sincerely I appreciate the direction of the question.

If anyone from Ohio or Portland has tried the product - I would like to have them chime in also.

Thanks,
Mark
 

ed4copies

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First of all, thank you for the review. But I have a question a little different than some of the others posed already. What I'm unsure about is mainly the price point. If I were to buy the, "starter pack," which would inclued the 2oz thin, 2oz base, and a bottle of accelator my total would come up to $42 (via exoticblanks.com). If I were to buy the somewhat equivalent of the Stickfast brand (2.5oz thin, 2.5oz medium, 7.5oz accelerator), my total would come up to be $20.65 (via exoticblanks.com).

I don't come close to using 20 coats of CA with the Stickfast brand, but the properties of GluBoost you claim would make me want to try the product. However, is the reduction in glue usage and sanding time going to make up the vast difference in cost? I'm definitely willing to pay more for better performance, but $20 more? That is a different question!


This is why we handle so MANY products!!!!! I BELIEVE you will use less than half as much GluBoost, BUT that is still an opinion, not a fact. If you believe Stickfast gives you more for the money--use IT!!

At ExoticBlanks we want you to have a choice--but our preference is that you purchase YOUR favorite FROM US!!
 

brownsfn2

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Ron,

It is CA based and there is a smell. The smell is no more than than my current brand, I believe it to be less, but this is subjective, so I cannot measure it...

...I have only used the thin, but to address your last question I did look on their website - "Fill n’ Finish products are flexible and non creeping so they can be used in areas where CA, and other adhesives have been used before (but now with increased performance and super-clear results)".

As mentioned I only use the thin.

Thanks,
Mark
Perfect. Thanks Mark!

1) Application time and process--if you could cut this by a factor of say, 80 percent, would the product be worth using?
I think that would do it for me. I spend a lot of time applying 20 coats of a previous brand I was using. :)

I just found out it’s ECA with Dibutyl phthalate added from 10-30% to yield “flex” properties. See my previous postings here on the many benefits of flexible CA. Also all CA can be dyed.
Very good to know. I like having the possibility of including the flex CA in my finish since I think it will last a lot longer.

Thanks for all the responses. Now I need to place and order and get something to turn. LOL.
 

edstreet

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In the grand scheme of CA we know that ECA ranks on the bottom of the charts compared with the newer chemicals on the market that can be used. Many of these are flexible already without additions.

The second part is the accelerator which makes all the difference in the world. To date I was only able to find "trade secrets" listing which does not set well at all when it comes to additive chemicals, i.e. casting, clay, composite, etc. simply because you have no way of knowing what type of reaction it can have. For all we know it could be acetone.
 

PatrickR

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I always thought CA is CA until switching from StickFast to Mercury. What a huge difference. I have no doubt this is a very good product but if anyone has had experience with both I would love to hear about it.
 

edstreet

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No longer confused....
By no means is all CA equal. There is a difference. The additives makes even more of a difference also the accelerator makes a great impact on performance.


Mike. I have a question for you. In your review you did not mention if this product uses any type of stabilizer for it to be listed as environmental insensitive. Is there one used??
 
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mg_dreyer

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By no means is all CA equal. There is a difference. The additives makes even more of a difference also the accelerator makes a great impact on performance.


Mike. I have a question for you. In your review you did not mention if this product uses any type of stabilizer for it to be listed as environmental insensitive. Is there one used??
I checked and found the product is surface insensitive.
 

edstreet

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Great. Surface insensitive means they are using a higher volume of acid which means more accelerator needed to polymerize. Also factors like pH and humidity will yield more stable results.
 

leehljp

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Thanks for the review. I was intrigued when I read that it was used in the furniture industry. Not sure the reason they use this over others, but it does speak well of this brand. Time will tell. I was also was fascinated to hear that AAW folks have tried it. I tried using CA off and on when in Japan on bowls and turnings. CA was not developed to the level it is now for such divergent purposes.

But I do like the way that CA seems to be developing in different directions for different uses and purposes.

Thanks.
 

ramaroodle

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Good link re surface insensitivity.

3 to 4 times fewer coats
Less sanding
Less cracking potential
NO WHITE SPOTS!
More peace of mind for sold items
Tint

Twice as much $?

Yes. Gotta try it.
 
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BRobbins629

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I’ve had a chance to play with the GluBoost products for a few weeks now and even gave a brief demonstration for the Richmond Woodturners of some of the features. I ordered one bottle of Fill and finish pro (medium), Fill and finish thin, the Gluboost accelerator and one of the vintage color tint packages. Over the 12 years I have been making pens, I’ve used several brands of CA but for the recent past I’ve settled on Titebond thin and medium and Satellite City accelerator. For one, I like the CA bottles and two, our local Woodcraft carries them and I like to support the local store.

The reasons I wanted to give this a try include wanting to try new things, to see if the accelerator would eliminate the white spots when I try to make a patch, to see how the tints work as described, to see if the tints would act as a colorant to laser etched or CNC carved patterns and to see if the medium would do a better job at building up a smooth surface over etched items.

First, the bottle. One of the reported features was a metal tip inside the cap to help avoid buildup. Yes, it’s there, but it’s also on my bottles of Titebond which appear to be exactly the same bottle except with a black rather than a clear cap.

I should note that I sometimes used only 2 or 3 coats of thin on some woods and with buffing am able to get a very high gloss smooth surface. Can I do the same with GluBoost? Yes. I’ve also built up fairly heavy thicknesses on some clay, abalone and snakeskin blanks and have personally never see the cracking that many have reported. Maybe I’m lucky, but I cannot comment on this feature.

For open grained woods such as walnut and purple heart and burls, I normally wet sand with 220 grit and a few drops of CA to seal the pores and open spots. I wanted to see of the fill and finish pro could eliminate that step. The answer is no.

As for buildup over laser etched barrels, I general use enough coats of thin and or medium so that you can’t feel the indentations from the laser. Since this is more of a volume needed, I find no functional difference between the Titebond and GluBoost.

To test to see if the accelerator did not create white spots, I placed a liberal amount of CA on a barrel and sprayed liberal amounts of GluBoost on one blank and Satellite City on the other. This is where I definitely saw a big difference. The one on the right is GluBoost. If you experience this phenomenon, the GluBoost is definitely the accelerator of choice.

The last tests were on the tints. I first tried it as a color fill for a CNC engraved blank. While it did fill color the engraving, it also colored the surrounding areas which I was able to sand off. Would it work? Yes, but I think there are better methods at least for me. The last test was with several pigments and tints and the two brands of CA I had. There must be something a little special about the GluBoost tint as Transtint and other pigments tended to clump up. When the GluBoost tint was mixed with either CA, it stayed liquid long enough for easy application to a blank using a Q-Tip and applying with the lathe turned off. I’m not sure if I ever need to tint something and there are probably other method methods, but this was pretty cool. Perhaps a sunburst is in my future.




Bottom line: The most interesting features for me are the elimination of white spots when using GluBoost accelerator and the ability to tint. The CA is on the high side of pricing but not exorbitant relative to what I have been using. I do wish the accelerator came in a larger quantity. Listed on the bottle is net weight 2.4 ounces whereas the Satellite City lists net weight 6 ounces at similar pricing. For me, it will be a “special purpose” accelerator.
 

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BRobbins629

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Thanks for the review. So, are you saying it would be prudent to just buy the accelerator?
For my purposes, yes and possibly the tints. Note that I have not seen a problem with CA cracking as many others have reported. If you do have that issue, the CA may also be under consideration.
 

ramaroodle

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Thanks again. I took the plunge and ordered the 2 glues and the accelerator. Just curious if the finish can truly be applied with just 2 coats of each with .0000 steel wool to de-nib it.
 

mg_dreyer

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Andy,

Please let me know how it works out. As mentioned I have been using only 4 – 5 coats. The first two are the “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula” to give me a good base. I have been using the GluDry accelerator in between. Then I like to use a very light touch #0000 steel wool (lathe off) to just knock it down. Finally two or three coats of “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula Thin”. Micromesh starting at 4000. Polish. Buff.

Mark
 

ramaroodle

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Andy,

Please let me know how it works out. As mentioned I have been using only 4 – 5 coats. The first two are the “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula” to give me a good base. I have been using the GluDry accelerator in between. Then I like to use a very light touch #0000 steel wool (lathe off) to just knock it down. Finally two or three coats of “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula Thin”. Micromesh starting at 4000. Polish. Buff.

Mark
Will do. This is the vid I first saw Gluboost on. The lathe is off for most of the process.
 

ramaroodle

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Andy,

Please let me know how it works out. As mentioned I have been using only 4 – 5 coats. The first two are the “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula” to give me a good base. I have been using the GluDry accelerator in between. Then I like to use a very light touch #0000 steel wool (lathe off) to just knock it down. Finally two or three coats of “Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula Thin”. Micromesh starting at 4000. Polish. Buff.

Mark
Will do. This is the vid I first saw Gluboost on. The lathe is off for most of the process.
OK, I got my Gluboost trio the other day. In short, I like it a lot.

2 coats of the thicker blue bottle of Fill n Finish with a spritz of accelerator in between, .0000 steel wool, and repeat with 2-3 coats of the orange bottled thin formula and another light wipe of .0000, all with the lathe off. Then my normal micro-meshing. I also added a the step of using some Triple E before the plastic polish. No white spots or bubbling.

Non-technical chemical analysis......Smell was no worse than regular Stickfast CA, and maybe a little better. The 3rd blank that I did I forgot to use gloves and got a layer on my finger. It definitely is a different formula from regular CA. It actually was more flexible after it dried and peeled off of my finger in one piece vs the hard CA that also removes a layer of skin and fingerprints.

As with Stickfast, I will run out of accelerator 4 times faster than I run out of glue so I might as well order more now.

I really have no way (or need/desire) to compare the thickness of 4 coats of this vs 10 coats of CA but it definitely goes on easier, dries smother and faster without clouding or spots and looks great. Even the thin is thicker than thin CA so it might be depositing more product per coat. I think it even has a richer, smoother finish but that might just be my imagination or the fact that I used EEE before the plastic polish.

Would I recommend this product? YES.
 
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