Cyanoacrylate Glue

By on September 10, 2010 -- Modified on August 17, 2017

CA Glue (aka Cyanoacrylate) could revolutionize the way you build models. CA glue takes away the wait time for glue to set. No longer wait 30 minutes, or even 4 hours for the glue to harden up enough to move on in the building process. Instead, CA glue allows you to instantly bond two surfaces together. However, CA has disadvantages as well, including health concerns. Read on through this entire article before making your decision to use CA glue.

How Does CA Glue Work?

CA glue is a acrylic resin. It uses water to cure. Yes, water. Other glues rely on the lack of water to cure, but CA glue is the opposite. Usually the natural moisture in air is enough for the CA glue to harden, but this is not always the case.

CA glue works best on porous materials, such as Balsawood or Basswood. In fact, any kind of wood is ideal for CA. Actually, one of the absolute best materials for CA is your skin. No joke, human skin is very porous and has a good amount of moisture built into it. This is why CA glue always seems to instantly bond your fingers together. I have accidentally glued my fingers together many times throughout my building career.

Cyanoacrylate Glue comes in different thicknesses, or viscosity. Thicker CA’s take longer to set, and are heavier. In addition, thicker types tend to leave gaps in the joints. On the other hand, a thin CA glue will soak right into the wood, creating a stronger joint.

Benefits of CA

  • Quick Drying
  • Can Be Lightweight
  • Can Soak Deep Into Joints

Disadvantages of Cyanoacrylate

  • CA Glue Is Expensive
  • Easy To Glue Your Fingers Together
  • CA Goes Bad Relatively Quickly
  • It is Easy to Use Too Much
  • Has Strong Fumes

CA glue has strong fumes, which some people react against. Please only use CA glue in a well ventilated area. Have a window open in the room where you are working.

Where Can I Get CA Glue?

  • Local Hobby Store
  • Online

Any hobby store ought to have some sort of CA glue. But you probably can find a better price online. In fact, here is a link that will take you to Amazon and show you their selection of CA glues from their various sellers:
CA Glue From Amazon

Tips On Using CA

Remember that CA glue bonds easily to human skin? Well, eventually the natural oils in your skin break down the glue molecules and the CA is worn away. Keep this in mind as you are handling the wood that you are using to build your models. As a general rule of thumb, always wash your hands to reduce the oil transfer to the wood you are using. Human oils weaken any glue joint, especially when using CA glue.

Don’t use too much glue. A little goes a long way.

To help CA glue last longer, keep it refrigerated.

To create a stronger joint, roughen up the edges of wood you are gluing with sandpaper.

I have found that if you do glue your fingers to your model, then don’t try to peel your finger off. Instead, rotate your model and twist until your finger comes free. This helps to prevent skin loss.

Additional Resources

Cyanoacrylate Glue and Other Adhesives
What is Cyanoacrylate Glue?
What Good is CA Glue?
Cyanoacrylate

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