Its been almost 20 years since I had to make a 'wing' section and back
then I used to use a product called 'Tarzans Grip'.
Ultimately I have to build a foil that is 480mm x 3000mm (VAWT Blade)
and I am looking for a balsa wood adhesive that will set in a reasonable
time and be reasonable strong. I want the wood to fail before the glue
does if you get my meaning.
I am way out of date on covering materials as well if anyone has any
advice on a film or even a fiber glass product I would be interested in
I think there are plenty of glues that will do that nowadays.
A lot depends on your taste and temperament.
And the kind of joint you're trying to glue (dovetailed in some
fashion, end-grain, butted, etc.).
Cyano-acrylate (CA) glues (thin, medium, and thick) set very
quickly and do an adequate job on most joints. Some people
even use them for holding firewalls on.
I've used both Titebond and Elmer's glues (outdoor formula)
and been happy with the outcome. These set more slowly and
usually require clamping for best results. You can take more
time getting the pieces aligned because the glues set
Epoxy is great stuff to work with. As a general rule, you get
more strength with the slower-curing mixes (30 minute
vs. 5 minute).
I've had some fun with the new polyurethane glues. I was
very impressed with how well they held hardwood pieces
together. These glues are catalyzed by moisture in the
air or the wood and foam before they begin to set. The
foam can make a mess if you're not careful, so I normally
use these glues where looks are not important. The glue
sets in the bottle, too, if you don't use it all relatively soon,
and I don't know of any thinner that can retard or reverse
I haven't tried any of the poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) glues.
Some folks seem to like them.
So much depends on your goals and your skills. I've worked
mostly with Monokote, but there are other excellent coverings
available. I've done a little bit of fiberglassing and hope to
do more as time goes on.
I am looking for a balsa wood adhesive that will set in a reasonable
Sounds like CA (cyanoacrylate) glue to me. It sets quickly, often
within seconds, depending on the type used. It's not overpriced, since
you use so little of it on a typical model. One drop will cover about
1/2" of joint. Check it out at your local hobby shop or Tower Hobbies
There are many plastic heat-shrink coverings available. Monokote and
Ultracote are the two best, IMO. If you want a fabric appearance, use
any of the *tex" coveringe, like Solartex, Colortex. Coverite also
makes a good fabric covering material. All coverings mentioned are
fuel proof and heat-shrnikable.
Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not
so great) words of knowledge:
Many people today use CA (Super Glue ) for building. There is a
drawback to CA though. Some people are allergic to the fumes. The
symptoms are, typically, running eyes, stopped up nose/sinus. If you
use CA and find you are allergic to it, they have an Odorless (Foam
Safe) CA, however, it is about twice the cost of regular CA.
I have developed an allergy to CA, so I only use CA when I absolutely
have to. The rest of the time I use Titebond II. Titebond takes longer
to set and does require clamping though.
Epoxy is good where you need extra strength - firewall, landing gear
blocks, etc. I would avoid the 5 minute stuff though. Besides having a
short working life, it is not as strong as a 30 minute epoxy. 30 minute
is 3 - 5 times stronger. The downside to epoxy is that it is very heavy
compared to CA or Titebond.
Pre painted film and fabric coverings are much more prevalent than the
older style of coverings (Koverall, silkspan, etc.) Monokote is what is
referred to as a high temp film. It usually takes about 275 - 300
degrees to shrink it down.
I, and many others, have switched to Ultracote for a film covering. It
shrinks down at about 225 - 275 degrees. I have found it much easier to
use on wingtips and other curved areas. Price is comparable with Monokote.
The primary pre painted fabric coverings are Coverite and SolarTex. My
experiences with Coverite have been:
1. The airframe needs to be coated with BalsaRite or a similar adhesive
because the adhesive on Coverite is marginal.
2. Coverite is heavy compared to SolarTex. A prime example - I covered
two identical 40 - 60 size planes. The one I covered with Coverite was
3 1/2 - 4 oz heavier than the one I covered with SolarTex. Before
covering there was less than 1/2 oz difference in weight.
I have found the adhesive on SolarTex to be excellent - the airframe
does not need to be coated with an adhesive.
For matching colors for the films there are two out there - LusterKote
and Ultracote. There have been numerous complaints about LusterKote.
These range from very poor color match to and including VERY poor
spraying. I no longer use LusterKote because of this.
For fiberglassing a plane many people still use epoxy resin and 1/2 -
3/4 oz fiberglass cloth. A "new" technique has evolved in recent years
using water base polyurethane to apply the fiberglass cloth. The end
result is: Strength about 60% of a resin job. Weight is about 50% (or
less) of a resin job. Sand ability is SUBSTANTIALLY easier than resin
and final results prior to painting are equal.
For painting, many people are now using paints such as Krylon,
Rustoleum, etc instead of the traditional dope. MOST of them require
clear coating to be fuel proof. I have been using latex for my painting
the past several years. It does require clear coating to be fuel proof.
The only downsides I have found with latex have been the shine is not
as high as with dope or an enamel, the paint is not as hard and the
paint needs to "cure" for about 7 - 10 days before clear coating. Here
is a link to an article by Top Gun winner Roy Vallencourt on using latex.
A couple of other links you may find helpful are:
in article VshXd.189425$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Megan Woods at
email@example.com wrote on 3/8/05 8:08 AM:
On a built-up wing, a number of adhesives can be used. Cyanoacrylic (CA) is
very fast, but rather expensive and the fumes are toxic. My pick would be
yellow carpenter's glue of some sort. It's strong, easily sandable,
relatively nontoxic and cheap. Just about any adhesive will be stronger
than balsa. Most of us use 30 minute epoxy for high stress areas like wing
joiners, landing gear plates, firewalls and attaching the elevator and
rudder to the model. Epoxy is also good if you're going to use pinned
hinges for ailerons, flaps, etc. However, the CA type hinges must be stuck
with thin CA.
There are a whole range of coverings out there, too. In the U.S., Monokote
and Ultracote seem to be the most popular. In Oz, though, these coverings
may not be as readily available. I'm thinking Ultracote is sold outside the
U.S. under the name Oracover, and it would be my choice because it's pretty
strong, has a paper backing, (it's sometimes difficult to separate the film
from the plastic backing other brands use), goes around curved surfaces
well, and can be applied over foam surfaces without melting them.
It's listed under the toxic group, a LOT of chemicals are. Read the
entire MSDS. CA is harmful and an irritant, but not likely to cause
death or serious illness. You Henny-Pennys keep this up, and you'll
get it banned or heavily controlled, just like a lot of other things
have been due to a knee-jerk reaction. Be sure of your facts first.
I'm not sure whose post you are replying to or what the person said.
But I suggest that it is conceivable that some few people may have
bad allergic reactions to CA that could, in the wrong circumstances,
Some folks react that way to peanuts.
Peanuts haven't been banned (yet) just because some people
are allergic to them. I doubt that CAs will be banned just because
they might hurt some people.
I am personally taking greater care to limit my exposure to the
glues we use, especially epoxy. I heard a man whose opinion I
respect say that almost anyone who gets enough exposure to
epoxy can develop allergic reactions to it. I'm much more careful
than I used to be when I was younger (circa 1995-96).
I'm grateful to the "Henny-Penny" who issued this warning.
It's not something that I would like to learn about from personal
Don't forget the best compromise for glow fuel durability, price, and
ease of use. Plain old acrylic laquer, it is fuel proof to about 15%
nitro. You can buy it in the auto stores under the brand Plasticote.
Dries in a hurry, to touch in 15 minutes. Nice gloss finish, and
doesn't need a clear coat. Be sure to read the back of the can as
Plasticote also make's enamels and nitro based laquer (the same thing
as nitrate dope).
Megan... Try Titebond 2. It is waterproof , stable and gives you plenty of
working time. Above all, there are no fumes to avoid. Most all of the other
glues are strong enough to do most any job, but they are harder on your
lungs than you might imagine.