CA Glue - Did I not take Chemistry?

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Blog entry by Transition posted 06-16-2011 08:22 PM 1763 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I also posted this in the Safety forum:

•I often use my bare fingers around CA and will get it on my hands. This usually isn’t a big deal, however I recently let a good deal of it build up rapidly, and got a nice little burn. The burn was small, but the heat generated by the curing CA glue was very significant and extremely painful. I believe the heat caused the burn, and not a chemical reaction with my skin. The MSDS for CA glue also warns against using cotton gloves, as apparently CA will react with cotton, although I imagine using CA with any pourous glove at least has the potential of leaving one wearing the gloves for a while!

•CA glue vapors will burn your eyes. So wear safety glasses/goggles, and don’t stand directly over your work, especially if you are applying the glue in a manner which will lead to vaporization (e.g. applying glue to a pen rotating on a lathe). I have a fan behind me which helps blow vapors and dust away from me as I work, and this has helped.

•Be aware that CA glue will react with Boiled Linseed Oil. I use a CA/BSL combo as a finish on pens. I recently tried to make a mixture of the two so that I would have a consistent ratio for my finish. I combined approximately .25oz of each in a little plastic sqeeze bottle. The two did not readily mix. However upon shaking the two reacted, giving off significant heat (I couldn’t hold the bottle), and the mixture quickly solidified. The reaction was not quick (~1min).

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

4 comments so far

View Rob_G's profile


13 posts in 3959 days

#1 posted 06-16-2011 11:34 PM

CA reacts with water, which is why it went off in the boiled linseed oil. Also, you can avoid a lot of the fumes if you use odorless CA, which is sold at R/C shops. As far as heat buildup, the thicker the CA glue, the slow it cures,and the slower it heats up. The original super-thin stuff’s almost useless on anything anyway.

View wildbill001's profile


111 posts in 3982 days

#2 posted 06-16-2011 11:57 PM

ALWAYS have some CA-solvent within reach when working with CA!

I used to repair antiques for my wife. One day she brought home a chest with veneer loose between the drawers. My job was to secure the veneer. The next day I tackled the project while everyone else in the family had gone to a movie. Yeah, you’re probably guessing what happened next.

I had to move the chest to the side of the shop to make room for another project. So I grabbed it from the front in a bear-hug and waddled over to the wall. Apparently I had been somewhat heavy on the application of the CA because when I set the chest down I discovered I was glued to the front. I don’t mean just the T-shirt. I mean the T-shirt and ME. The solvent was on the other side of the shop, about 8ft away on a shelf. No one was expected home from another couple of hours…

VERY careful work with a snap-blade knife I had in my back pocket enabled me to escape without too much pain or blood. But I learned my lesson.


-- "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back" -- Unknown

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3979 days

#3 posted 06-17-2011 12:36 AM

Bill, now that you’re safely cut free, that’s pretty funny and a good lesson for the rest of us. ;^)))

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3884 days

#4 posted 06-17-2011 12:50 AM

@Bill – Some of us just really become attached to our work. I had a similar incident with a bowl. I attempted to stabilize a knot with some thin CA. Little did I realize that the CA went through the knot, dripped down the inside of the bowl, and filled all of the little gooves in my fingerprints where I held the bowl. I didn’t have CA solvent and it was a delicate peel.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

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