Super Glue

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Jack Devlin, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    I use super glue (loctite brand) quite often in my tying. I never leave the bottle open for lone being very careful to close it up real quick. Only use it maybe once per fly. Long before I even use 1/3 of a small bottle, it starts to get real thick and gooey. Is there anything I can use to thin the glue? I've written to LOCTITE but haven't received an answer. $4 a bottle is getting to be an expense. I usually get the small bottle with the brush.
  2. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    My bottle is doing the same.
    My main use for it is when tying on clouser eyes. I just continue to use it when it gets goopy and it still works fine.
  3. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    I primarily use gel type super glue so I have better control. However, I also use the liquid and have fairly good luck with Elmer's. As far as thinning goes, if you check with your local hobby shop, they probably sell something that will work. I seem to remember my brother sells a thinner from Zap at his hobby Shop.
  4. pittendrigh

    pittendrigh Active Member

    CA glue (cyanoacrylate...or super glue) has a shelf life.
    It lasts longer if kept cold. But that's difficult. Most wives would roast you alive if you tried to keep glue in the fridge.

    Most of it is manufactured in Japan and/or Taiwan. The Japanese stuff tends to be higher quality and clearer. The Taiwanese stuff tends to go bad sooner and it has a slightly more yellowish cast to it.

    Small bottles purchased at hardware stores have often spent a year or more sitting on distributor shelves, before they ever got to the hardware store.
    ZapCa and ZapAGap (can't remember the distributor) is made in Japan. It's among the better ones. They have high volume turnover, so you're less likely to buy old stuff if you get that or a similar high quality brand.

    Beware of "sales" on internet hobby store sites. Cheap glue means they bought a pallet of old glue that's going to go bad soon (thicken up).

    High quality glue (ZapAGap is not the only good quality glue) purchased at full price from a high volume hobby website is the best bet.....the most likely NOT to be old and near the end of its shelf life.

    I lost a bunch of money trying to distribute CA glue as a fly tying tool back in the late 1980s, as Sandy's Superfly. I did discover you can buy PTFE (Teflon) tubing online in various thicknesses. You can buy small amounts. #20 guage is good for ZapAGap. #28 guage is good for the thinner ZapCA. ZapCa is so thin it wicks into thread quickly, which is useful but dangerous. Too much glue will wick all the way up the wings and ruin the fly. ZapAGap is more generally useful. I maintain both. Use them both a lot.

    Cut a short length of tubing. Cut the top off the glue bottle. Shove the tubing all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. Make sure the bottom (inside the bottle) end of the tubing has a slanted cut on the end. Caulk the tubing in place with a hot melt glue gun. Now you have a "wash bottle" dispenser. Which means you do not have to tip the bottle to apply glue. You squeeze the bottle. You can watch the glue as it comes up the tube and reduce pressure just as it reaches the tip. That way you can dispense micro-dots of glue right where you want it. When you release pressure on the bottle any remaining glue in the tube gets sucked back into the bottle. If the tube does clog up it will be at the tip only. So use a razor blade to snip 1/16th of an inch off the top of the tube. Buy the smallest bottles available.
    Tacoma Red, speyfisher and GAT like this.
  5. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    Wow. Great information.
  6. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    So, is there anything that will thin the glue?
  7. pittendrigh

    pittendrigh Active Member

    ......not that I know of. But maybe I missed that part.

    There are instant hardeners. By the way. I forgot that subject earlier.

    You can unscrew the back end of an architects marking pen (choose a super light color). And then soak the fiber wick inside with CA hardener. Screw the back end of the marking pen back on. Now you can take the cap off the marking pen just long enough to wipe one side a proposed gluing surface with the marking pen (which puts a light film of solvent-based hardener on that surface).

    Now put some CA glue on the other surface and press the two pieces together. The glue will harden in two seconds or so.
  8. RonBraud

    RonBraud New Member

    If you put CA in the fridge, first put it in something like a sealed glass jar.
    Over time a residue appears on the inside of the jar. So indeed, fumes
    escape from the CA tube or bottle.
    pittendrigh likes this.
  9. Tacoma Red

    Tacoma Red Active Member

    I haven't tried it but I'm told "Japan Thinner" (Ace Hardware) which to my knowledge is used to quicken the drying of shellac and varnishes, will thin CA...but I haven't tried it.

    I use a different Loctite glue called GO2 (not a super glue, works very well but takes just a little longer to dry), Stick n Seal Extreme Conditions (a contact adhesive gel that dries very fast and is very strong), and Liquid Fusion. When I want to use a super glue I buy the very small volume tubes at the dollar store for 4-5/$1.

    However, I do buy good CA glue from the Hobby Store when I'm out there.
  10. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    Thanks. I'm going to try and get an answere from Loctite. I like the glue and their little bottle with the brush. Not to sure about Japan Thinner. Next time I'm in the local ACE store I'll look at the can and see what is in it.
  11. Tacoma Red

    Tacoma Red Active Member


    It might take a little detective work but you should be able to find MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the specific LocTite product you are interested in. The solvent base should be listed.

  12. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    Now why didn't I think of that.
    Thanks. Will do some research tomorrow am.
  13. pittendrigh

    pittendrigh Active Member

    MSDS..........good idea. I just did that. They all look pretty much the same. It appears there is no solvent base. Super glue (if I read this correctly) consists of one material only: ethyl cyanoacrylate

    So somehow that must mean ethyl cyanoacrylate can be made to have different properties......or's coming back to me now. They thicken this stuff by adding a clear and ultra-fine powder made from silica? I'm not sure about that. But I think so.
  14. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    All I could find is the mention of Acetone and we all know that Acetone is the " antidote" for unsticking super glue.
    Acetone is used to thin nail polish and also remove it. Wonder if it might work the same with the super glue??
  15. silvercreek

    silvercreek Active Member

    Super glue hardens by absorbing moisture from the air. Sealing out air is the key to keep it from hardening in the container.

    Refrigerators are the worst place to store tubes of CA glue. Warm air gets in the refrigerator and it cools lowering the dew point.

    The best is to put the tubes in a Zip Lock bag and put in packets of silica gel desiccant that come with shoes, electronics, and some medicines to absorb any moisture in the bag.
  16. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    I called my brother who owns the hobby shop and asked if there is a thinner for CA glue. There isn't but he said what he does is simply add new thin CA glue to the stuff that is starting to thicken. You must stay with the same manufacturer of the adhesive but he says it works slick.

    He told me the stuff that removes CA glue doesn't work too hot to thin it.
  17. Tacoma Red

    Tacoma Red Active Member


    1) Acetone
    2) Heating slightly to remove saturated water...not to confident in this!
    3) DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) might work if you know someone who works in a research lab as well as for #'s 4-6.
    4) Xylene
    5) Tolulene
    6) Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) or butanone.
    7) MAYBE ETHER ??? You can by this in a spray for helping to start engines.

    I have some CA that is getting very gummy and I'll try the acetone but I think the hydrolysis is irreversible. If the acetone doesn't work it's likely none of the other solvents will work well. Perhaps removing a blob of the glue on a nail and heating it with a lighter (outdoors...think napalm or neurotoxic cloud of smoke) might decrease the viscosity/elasticity. I still use it to glue but not so much in fly tying.

    In all honesty. Is best not to be messing around with these solvents as some are suspected or known carcinogens (#3-6).

    The LocTite Stick n Seal Extreme Conditions is the same as Ultra Gel (takes 5min to cure). I like this product and I use a hypodermic needle or tooth pick for small applications. HOWEVER, I am waiting for the UV curing resins to come down in price and then I'll transition.

    CA Properties from Wikipedia:


    In its liquid form, cyanoacrylate consists of monomers of cyanoacrylate molecules. Methyl-2-cyanoacrylate (CH2=C(CN)COOCH3 or C5H5NO2) has a molecular weight equal to 111.1, a flashpoint of 79 °C, and a density of 1.1 g/ml.[3] Ethyl 2-cyanoacrylate (C6H7NO2) has a molecular weight equal to 125 and a flashpoint of >75 °C. To facilitate easy handling, a cyanoacrylate adhesive is frequently formulated with an ingredient such as fumed silica to make it more viscous or gel-like. More recently, formulations are available with additives to increase shear strength, creating a more impact resistant bond. Such additives may include rubber, as in Loctite's Ultra Gel, and/or unspecified additives, as in Instant Krazy Glue'sADVANCED Formula.
    In general, cyanoacrylate is an acrylic resin that rapidly polymerises in the presence of water (specifically hydroxide ions), forming long, strong chains, joining the bonded surfaces together. Because the presence of moisture causes the glue to set, exposure to moisture in the air can cause a tube or bottle of glue to become unusable over time. To prevent an opened container of glue from setting before use, it must be stored in an airtight jar or bottle with a package of silica gel. Another tactic is attaching a hypodermic needle on the opening of glue. After applying, residual glue soon clogs the needle, keeping moisture out. The clog is removed by heating the needle (e.g., by a lighter) before use.

    Solvents and debonders

    Acetone, commonly found in nail polish remover, is a widely available solvent capable of softening cured cyanoacrylate.[19] Other solvents include nitromethane, dimethyl sulfoxide, and methylene chloride.[20] gamma-Butyrolactone may also be used to remove cured cyanoacrylate.[21]Commercial debonders are also available.[22]

  18. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

    I'm starting to think about a return to just plain head cement/varnish and a dubbing needle which served me so well long before the super glues came along. Probably a lot safer to use.
    Will try the acetone ( I have some to thin SallyHansens) and see what happens but I may not be replacing the $4+ bottles of loctite any more.
  19. jwg

    jwg Active Member

    I have some CA that is getting very gummy and I'll try the acetone but I think the hydrolysis is irreversible. If the acetone doesn't work it's likely none of the other solvents will work well.

    Yes, once it starts to thicken up its going bad and its pointless to thin it, you're just thinning bad glue that will never be as strong as fresh glue.

    Acetone, unless coming from a freshly opened can, usually has a lot of water absorbed into it, so this is also bad for thinning glue that you want to use as glue, since the water in it will degrade the glue. Acetone is OK, and recommended, for helping soften cured glue you want to remove

    Buying it in tiny inexpensive tubes as suggested by Tacoma Red seems like a good strategy to me.
    Storage with a dessicant, as suggested by Silver, is also a sound plan.

  20. kamishak steve

    kamishak steve Active Member

    Most fly tying glues can be solvated with acetone. I just buy the cheapest superglue i can find at the hardware store, like 8 tiny bottles for 1.99 At taht price i don't feel compelled to thin it...