Glue to suit you

Glues and adhesives: Your guide to making the right choice

Just try to imagine life without glue. It literally helps hold our world together. With so many varieties, how do you know which one to use for your project? Our short guide will give you a good overview and help to make that decision easier.

Who invented glue? You may be surprised

Archaeologists have found evidence of clay pots repaired with a primitive form of glue dating back at least 4.000 years. Whoever first used a substance to bond two items together is not exactly known, but obviously glues of some sort have been with us for a very long time.

The first patent for an adhesive was issued in Britain around 1750. Glues and adhesives have been improving ever since. While traditional glues were usually made from natural items like tree bark and animal products, these ingredients have largely given way to synthetic substances. Today we have a wide variety of adhesives to choose from ranging from old standards to space-age polymers and epoxies.

Glues and adhesives: A quick overview

Once you start thinking about it, there are quite a few different types of glue. Let’s briefly list some of the most common.

White glue is probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions glue. It’s found in almost every home and office. This household glue is made from synthesised chemicals and may contain polyvinyl acetate, acrylics, or similar substances. It is versatile, safe to use, and easy to clean up.

Also very common is super glue. Gram for gram, super glue offers incredibly strong bonds for many types of materials such as wood, plastic, and ceramics just to name a few. Usually made from cyanoacrylates, these advanced formulations rapidly dry to leave a permanent bond.

Next are epoxies, which usually come in two parts: a resin and a hardener. Once these are mixed, a chemical reaction begins, and the epoxy will harden into a durable, plastic-like substance.
One advantage of many epoxies is that they can fill gaps, thus bonding rough or broken materials while remaining very strong.

Where would the building industry be without construction adhesive? These adhesives are used in framing, drywall, tile setting, roofing, and many other applications. Typically made from acrylic resins, polyurethane, or rubber-based compounds, they are crucial for many trades.

What glue to use? Here are some general guidelines

Here are some guidelines to help you decide which glue is right for which job.

White glue is the perfect adhesive for porous materials like cardboard or paper. Being water-based, it is non-toxic, easy to clean up and safe for children. No wonder it is used in most schools for arts and crafts.

Super glue’s properties make it ideal for many household repairs. It bonds to nearly everything and often only a few drops are needed. As long as the two pieces being joined fit together tightly, super glue should do the trick.

Epoxies are the solution for many repairs in which gaps need to be filled, due to the parts not fitting snugly. The chemical bond formed has exceptional strength and most are fine for exterior applications.

Glues and adhesives: A few top performers

As you can see, there is a very wide variety of glues and adhesives to choose from. Here are a few top performers that might fit the bill for your projects. Loctite Super Glue Liquid is a quality tool with a new and improved formula, making it resistant to water, shock, and temperature extremes. It forms a super strong invisible bond in just seconds.

Another great all-purpose glue is Loctite Stik’n Seal Outdoor Adhesive. It bonds to aluminium, brick, fibreglass, fabric, and many other materials. It comes in an indoor version as well. Its thick consistency prevents drips and runs.

Finally, Loctite Epoxy Quick Set will work well on a wide range of materials and acts as a versatile gap filler. It won’t shrink, is resistant to most solvents, and can be sanded and drilled once dry. It also lives up to its name with a set time of just 5 minutes.

Removing super glue from fingers:

  1. Soak the area in warm soapy water.
  2. Use a dull edge, like the handle of a spoon to gently pry the fingers apart.
  3. If that doesn’t work, try applying acetone or nail polish remover to the glue.
  4. Lemon juice may also soften the glue.
  5. If all else fails, use a glue remover from a craft or hobby store.