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Apr 05, 2019, 12:43 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
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Gorilla Wood Glue

I'm a committed Titebond Original user, I used this for RC wherever possible because I had experience with it from general woodworking and I already liked it. When I started building RC models again I had been on a bit of woodworking kick before that and I'd been using Titebond (always Original, to me that seems best suited to modelling and if I do any other woodworking that's what I prefer for that too).. My 1st completed RC model was an RCM Trainer 60 where I used maybe 10 drops of CA on the whole thing, mostly just to harden the threads for holding the landing gear on. My 2nd was a Bruce Tharpe Engineering Venture 60, I used a lot more CA on that one. The plans and instructions call for CA but I subsctituted Titebond wherever I could, though I did use CA on many of the wing joints. Admittedly I wasn't using Zap or another specially developed hobby-type CA, I was using a hardware store super-glue type, though I did try and get the best I could find. I didn't know the difference then, I've tried Zap and it really is far better for model building.
I used to be able to get Titebond at two places, one a big hardware chain that's gone out of business called Masters, and another was the specialty woodwork sipplier called Carbatec, who are now the only place I know of. It seems they've actually dropped the price on Titebond since Masters closed, Masters used to be Really Cheap, Carbatec are merely Pretty Cheap but used to be far more than Masters. It's only $AU10 for 16 oz/473 mL so to me that's great value, that would build many models. Trouble is, Carbatec is a long way from here and I don't have a car. (BTW at Masters it was under 8 bucks, that's remarkable for a good product like this). So I was glad to see Bunnings, the biggest hardware chain with stores much more accesible to me, were finally stocking an aliphatic resin carpenters glue in the form of Gorilla Wood Glue. You get 1/2 as much and it costs about 50% more, but it also saves me a lot of trouble getting hold of it.
I've only tried it on some scrap balsa and some pine to test it out so far, I'll do some more of that before I decide if I'm going to trust it on my next model over ol' faithful Titebond, but it looks good so far. It's a slightly different colour to "titey" and it's thicker in consistency. It also seems like it makes an initial bond with a bit of strength in it faster than Titebond. I think the speed of Titebond Orig. is just about right and I like it how it is, though sometimes I wish it was just a little faster, and the Gorilla wood glue actually is. There's a Titebond version that's the same as Original but slower setting but my preference is for faster. I clamped two bits of 40 x 17mm pine with it and within 15 minutes I can't pull them apart, I found with Titebond I'd want that to be about 25 minutes before I'd say you can put heavy loads on it and of course that's only a fraction of its full strength by then. For model building I don't need much "working time" to move parts around once I've applied the glue, I've made a habit of trial fitting everything without glue first and know about how much gap to leave for the glue too, so when I'm ready I glue it up and assemble with as little movement after that as possible. By the way I recommend *always* clamp the workpieces while the glue cures. You get a MUCH better bond strength and parts won't drift out of the place you set for them. If I can't get a clamp on something then I'll use weights or even elastic or rubber bands, but get some positive mechanical pressure on there and leave it until it's making no difference. I like to give it at least 6 hours but if I need to I can live with about 30 minutes before removing the clamps, I would think less is probably OK too (usually, it depends on the specific joint, so if you need a rule of thumb I'd say clamp for the entire cure time on the bottle).
Next step is to use it on a model, if you've seen my posts you'll know I've started a modified Ugly Stik which has been much more talk than building so far. That's going to be built with aliphatic wherever possible as before. Like most people I also use epoxy and/or polyurethane glue for certain jobs, eg epoxy to bond the firewall, landing gear mounting plate and wherever high strength is needed. I used to prefer it for laminating/area gluing, such as bonding the large surface of a double to a fuselage skin, but I later tried polyurethane and it's pretty good too. You have to be a little careful with it though, as it does want to expand and go "foamy" as it cures, but for certain jobs it's useful, like an epoxy you don't have to mix and with better gap-filling properties. But if I need to depend on strength in a critical joint I use full-strength (ie 24-hour) epoxy. I prefer Araldite, once again hobby stores might have something high quality but there's nothing wrong with Araldite, it's well-known for quality and strength.
I experimented with making my own "balsa ply", laminating a few layers of thin ply sheet to make a piece for internal bulkheads/formers etc. I tried it with epoxy, P/U and Titebond. In the end I preferred Titebond, as the others used up enough glue to cost a noticeable amount, as they're expensive and I only have a certain supply on hand. Normally you don't area-glue (laminate) with aliphatic because being water-based, it shrinks as it dries and will warp the workpiece, however for this job you're layering the grain at 90 degrees with each layer, so if you weigh it down under a flat board it comes out also flat. By the way I have some home-made cloth bags my sister sewed up for me, filled with aquarium gravel which was her idea too, and it's a winner. The bags are excellent, as you can mould them to any shape you want, they're made of left over scraps of curtain material which is tough but soft so it won't damage a surface, and the gravel unlike rice, wheat etc. doesn't go mouldy or anything. I had planned to get lead shot but that's very expensive here and I don't think I need THAT much weight. I might get a kilo or two so I've got some small, more dense (heavier) bags if I need them but I just stack my gravel bags until i have enough and they do a great job.
So I'll try making balsa ply with Gorilla glue for a final test but I think I like it, all except for the price. It may even prove to be slightly better as I like the fast cure and greater thickness, but in the end I think I'm going to keep finding a way to travel to Carbatec to pick up bottles of Titebond as I need them. The thing is, even the bottle of 1/2 as much Gorilla glue as the Titebond would be plenty to make several models, so I'm going to have both on hand for a while.
This typically ridiculously long rambling review brought to you at no charge courtesy of BernardW's boredom and need to do something for a while
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Apr 05, 2019, 01:27 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
Thread OP
PS I note that Titebond II costs 50% more than Original (at Carbatec) and Titebond III is 80% more. TB II is waterproof for outdoor use, which I think is irrelevant for models as if water gets under the covering it's not the joints you have to worry about first. TBII is also waterproof and is approved for use where there can be contact with food eg cutting boards etc., and is slower setting and can work at colder temp's. Again that doesnt' sound relevant to models for me, so buying Titebond just to build models I'll stick with Original. However if I needed II or III for other uses where that water resistance might be needed, then once I'd bought it I'd have no problem building models with it too. I can't see an ad for the type I mentioned that was like Original but slower setting. They do, however, have ads for a whole new set of Titebond products I wasn't aware of -

Liquid Hide Glue - sounds interesting, it's already liquid and you don't have to mix or heat it.

Titebond Polyurethane Glue - there are several brands of P/U glue out there and I usually use either Gorilla because I like the bottle size, it's small and cheap and I rarely get to finish a bottle since it spoils approx. 6 months after opening
Titebond No Drip No Run wood glue - all I know about it is what the name says. I wonder if it's just a thicker version of Titebond or is it some completely different formula. Interested because the Gorilla wood glue seems to me like a thicker Titebond, I wonder if that's the closest match.

Titebond Titebrush - at $4 I might get a couple to try. Silicon based so the glue won't adhere to it, just peels off. Shaped so you can use the handle to double up as an applicator for tricky-to-reach places like inside a mortice joint
Titebond Titewrap - again cheap and interesting enough that I would like to get it to try out. Says it only sticks to itself and stretches up to 300%. I use 1/2" elastic sometimes for things like wing D-tubes but the problem is how to secure the ends, I usually use clamps but this would be better... except I just realised all I have to do is sew some velcro onto my elastic. But this would be much better as you'd want different lengths all the time
I've also never tried traditional hide glue and I know a lot of "real" woodworkers swear by it and won't use anything else. So there's a brand of that for sale here and any product with the name "U-beaut" or phonetic equivalent is trying very hard to prove its "Aussie" credentials so who knows, it may even actually be made in Australia. The price is OK so if I need to build anything big enough in wood that isn't balsa I might try some.
Some other intersting products on the glue page -

Glue paddles, some other brand. Again made of silicon so the glue can just be peeled off when dry and designed for pokey little crannies as well as easy application to regular surfaces

As these so-called Aliphatic resin glues have been described as a refined version of PVA (in fact aliphatic doesn't mean much as a definition here, both "carpenter's yellow glue" and white PVA could be called Aliphatic AFAIK and likewise Titebond could also be called PVA), one day I should try using some white wood glue on balsa and see what happens. What I think is it'll be slower to set, wetter (might warp thin balsa as it dries) and might not be quite as strong, though PVA white glue is pretty good stuff and does make strong bonds. WOrth a try one day.
Apr 06, 2019, 04:31 AM
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Spaaro's Avatar
Good report, BernardW.

I didn't mind the 'dose-of-verbose', in exchange for the detailed rating of these adhesive's behaviors.
Apr 06, 2019, 08:08 AM
What could possibly go wrong?
Thread OP
Thanks for that, my problem is I have spent so long posting so much on all sorts of internet forums since I learned to type that I'm actually about the fastest typist I know. It's easiest for me to just throw it all in there. I typically spend about 10 minutes writing a couple of pages off the cuff, then maybe 20 or 30 minutes trying to edit it down to a reasonable length and remove all the bumf. People who two-finger type have an advantage here, because they learn to express themselves efficiently. But learning to type when I was 10, nearly 40 years ago, was such an advantage in school in the pre-wordprocessor and very early home computer days that I credit it with probably a 20% boost in my grades overall.
So I made the balsa ply, a 5-layer and 2-layer piece made from 1/16" (sold here as 1.5mm). The 2-layer is interesting, much stronger in one axis than the other. For the 5-layer I cheated a little, it's about twice as long as it is high so for one layer I placed smaller off-cuts side by side with the edges parallel to the grain. I thought that would make no difference as we all know how easily balsa snaps if you bend it along the grain, but it's actually got very good strength to weight in the other direction. For the 2-layer piece I can't explain why it's stiffer in one axis than the other... maybe just a local difference in the pieces I used.
But the 5-layer piece was the surprise. I gave it a not-too-hard bend longways and it snapped straight away, right down the divide between two of the pieces I used to make up that 2nd layer. That was the last thing I expected, I really thought that the cross-layer bonding would mean that in that weak direction you relied not at all on the piece being continuous, but now I know.
Regarding the glue, I would say it quickly reached as strong or stronger a partial bond as Titebond did, but then stayed gooey and only partially cured for much longer indeed. By about an hour Titebond is for all intents and purposes cured, but I checked these pieces between one and two hours and the excess glue squeezed from the layers was still soft and sticky. Therefore I'd recommend clamping it up for several hours minimum. That will mean in the contact area itself the layer is thinner and should cure faster, but it was interesting nonetheless. A blob off excess Titebond will turn to a dry yellow crust in a couple of hours, but I would say even at 3 hours this stuff was nowhere like it. Applying the glue I really noticed the difference, it's thicker alright. I even wondered if it were slightly separated from its water content, there seemed to be a "curds and whey" effect, a thicker core and slightly thinner run-off. It's water based so I suspect my bottle needed mixing, I got it months ago and it'd sat on the shelf until I glued up those pieces last night. In future I'll remember to stir it properly. I can't say for now if that would have affected curing time.
Anyway the other test piece I made with two bits of pine set up just fine. As it should, the glue joint proved stronger than the wood itself. I put it in a vice and hauled on it till it broke, and what happened was the wood split along the grain in one of the pieces (glued in an L shape) leaving the joint itself, and a small layer where I guess it soaked in, intact. I'd have been pretty disappointed if it wasn't like that. I only kept that piece clamped for under half an hour to test the partial strength at that point and didn't clamp it again, and didn't try testing to breaking, just gave it a twist and noted it stood up to it.
I guess the story is, either is perfectly acceptable for building wood models. I don't usually use Titebond against ply and I haven't tested either for that, I will some time. What I suggest is that with smooth-faced play like good aircraft ply, slightly roughen it with a coarse sander first. My pine pieces were the opposite, very rough, so I sanded them to smooth them. You need good contact area but smooth ply might resist penetration. I haven't tested that but I will some time and post it here.

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