Canadian Woodworking

Starbond CA glue

A high quality cyanoacrylate (CA) glue available in thin, medium or thick viscosities that bond just about anything.

If you don’t know CA (cyanoacrylate) glue – you should. It’s an incredibly versatile adhesive for use in the shop and around the home. It’s easy to apply (straight from the bottle – no mixing), no wait time as it bonds instantly (within seconds), bonds almost anything, forms a waterproof bond, and forms a high strength compression bond.

I recently had an opportunity to try Starbond CA glue and was very pleased with its performance.

ManufacturerStarbond
Products: CA glue, 3 viscosities – super fast thin; multipurpose medium; gap-filler thick. Accelerator
Price: $13.35 (2 oz thin, medium or thick viscosities); $9.15 / $23.35 (2 oz / 10 oz) Accelerator
Viscosity (cps): thin (2-3 cps); medium (150 cps); thick (2000)
Bonding time: thin ( 5 – 6 seconds); medium (10 – 20 seconds); thick (60 seconds)
Shelf life: 20 months
Made in: Japan
Source: KJP Select Hardwoods

Starbond is a premium CA glue made in Japan. I tried the thin, medium and thick versions along with their accelerator.

The accelerator isn’t strictly necessary, especially since these glues set-up so quickly. However, the thick glue does take about 60 seconds to bond (or set), and if you use it to fill gaps (up to about 0.2″ / 5mm) it may take longer to bond – the accelerator speeds up the process. So to harden the glue instantly just lightly spray the assembly you’re gluing – either before you apply the glue or after. Use it sparingly, but if you over-spray Starbond accelerator won’t whiten the glue-up as other accelerators do. Remember that it does take about 24 hours for the bond to cure (reach maximum strength). And while CA glue is great for cracks, splits and small gaps, for large gaps you’re better off using epoxy.

Most CA glues have an 8 to 12 month shelf life. Starbond has a 20 month shelf life. However, it’s imperative that you firmly recap the bottles and store them under 40°F/4°C before and after use. I always squeeze out as much air from the bottle as I can before recapping and store them in an air-tight container in my refrigerator.

What’s especially convenient abut Starbond glue are the accessories that come with each glue bottle. You get 2 applicator caps (come on, who hasn’t inadvertently “misplaced” a cap?), a clog-free stopper that has a tiny pin in it to prevent the cap from clogging, and 8 micro-tips that are a real boon when you’re making delicate repairs or need to glue in hard-to-reach places. While they’re designed to be thrown away after use you can clean them with acetone.

starbond cap and micro tips
Cap, stopper and micro-tips

 

The thin CA glue has the consistency of water and takes about 5 seconds or so to bond. I use it occasionally on veneer that’s lifted and when I have very thin cracks to fill. Woods with large pores wick this stuff up very quickly so you want to work fast. Woodturners like to use it on small projects because it’s so quick to get a durable, crystal clear finish.

The medium glue has the consistency of olive oil and takes between 10 and 20 seconds to cure. It’s useful for filling small gaps and tightening loose-fitting joints. I’ve also used it to temporarily glue up jigs and to hold moulding in place before it’s nailed in place.

The thick glue has the consistency of syrup and takes about a minute to set (depending on how thickly it’s been applied). This is the viscosity I use most frequently in the shop and its the only one I use with the accelerator. I find it a better choice when applying glue on vertical surfaces, when using it with sawdust as a filler to fill gaps, on open- or coarse-grained wood, for small pieces that are awkward to clamp and when gluing pieces that don’t fit tightly together.

This is an excellent CA glue that is priced very competitively comes with very useful accessories.

starbond ca glue


Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

2 Comments

    1. Depends on the type of plastic. If it’s polystyrene or ABS then CA will work. For polyethylene or polypropylene I’d use 3M Scotch-Weld DP 8005.

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