Does CA glue thicken with age?

Good Evening. I am attempting to complete a model, and I am almost at the point of gluing the control surfaces to the tailfin, stabilizer, and wing with thin CA glue. (I will be using CA hinges for all of these joints). I opened a bottle of what was claimed to be thin CA glue, but when I poured a drop on some wax paper, it came out thick. I wiped it up with a paper towel, and I noticed a thin "string" of the glue as I lifted the paper towel from the wax paper. I originally opened the CA glue bottle back in November of last year (it's a 2 oz. bottle), and I am now wondering if the glue has become useless. Any advice here would be appreciated.

Thanks, Harry Sanchez

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Harry Sanchez
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Henry: Yes it does thicken with age...if the bottle is unopened, you can keep it in the freezer for years, but once opened it is not a good idea to put it back in freezing as it will not keep as well. Usually a good quality CA will last for a couple of years on the work bench... but not always...your thin CA is now thick CA...still probably useable in a thck application... Regards, Frank Schwartz

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Frank Schwartz

I would not use it at all. The fact that it "stringed" shows it has already partially polymerized and is less able to bind with anything else.

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"M-M" wrote

Gluing a pine or hardwood block in to hold the landing gear or wing hold down might cause a joint to be weakened enought to tell a difference. A balsa to balsa joint will still fail the wood, way before the glue.

The major difference is that it will not "wick" into an already assembled joint like thin will.

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If in doubt, try a test joint with some scrap balsa and/or spruce. Test it to destruction and see where it fails. Outside of the joint, or the glue joint itself. I would not use it for hinges as the glue needs to wick into the hinge and balsa for a good joint.

A friend lost a good model when it came apart in flight. When inspected the stabilizer glue joint had failed. He had used some old CA he had on hand.

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Several years ago I had some serious problems with CA. I wound up spending an afternoon on the phone with one vendor after another until I got a real education as to the care, storage, and use of CA from one.

I was told that that CA begins to 'cure' when exposed to UV and over a long term an exposed joint already cured will actually break down. Hence my avoidance of CA hinges, but your milage may vary. I was also told that raw CA absorbs moisture from the air. The implications of that are that if you have frozen your product (not necessary or recommended but a common practice) you really should let it gently warm up to room temperature before opening it to avoid getting instant condensation caused moisture in the bottle that will contaminate the glue.

Once the glue has been opened, try to keep it sealed up to avoid atmospheric humidity changes and place it in a dark place to prevent the light from breaking it down. I live in south central Texas and before I learned those things most CA would not last very long at all and frequently would be defective when I first opened it. Now CA stays in my shop for months at a time since I discovered the Titebond (r) gives a lower weight finished product. I keep my opened CA, sealed and under an inverted coffee can until I need to use it.

Good luck.

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I've found that once it starts getting thick it doesn't stick too well

-- thin glue that's thickened isn't the same as thick glue.

Reply to
Tim Wescott



I used to own a hobby store way back in the 1970s.

At that time, CA glues were fairly new on the market so I decided to stock them.

Without thinking, to entice people to buy a bottle of this exciting new product I put virtually my entire stock in the shop window in a very eye-catching display.

It wasn't too long before customers started returning purchases - the glue in the window had gone rock hard through exposure to sunlight. An expensive mistake and a hasty rethink of my window display!!!!

Future stock of CA glue was stored in a dark fridge!!!!



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