rookie pen turner question about CA glue

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by JoshJock posted 11-05-2010 06:24 PM 18754 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JoshJock's profile


94 posts in 3819 days

11-05-2010 06:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pen turning ca glue crazy super finish question rookie

Helly everybody! this is a very rookie question and I know this is the best place to get advice. I am a rookie at pen turning, I just uploaded my first project pen ever, and I used CA glue because that is what I’ve seen 99% pen turners use. I have a couple of questions. No. 1 what is the differnece between CA glue and the crazy/super glue that we can buy at walmart? when using CA glue is it better use thin, medium or thick on pens? on what order? I used medium CA on my pen and it worked fine but of course I am looking for the best way, and I know that can be subjective but I would love to hear what you guys think. Love you guys!!!


-- "Does this lathe makes my butt look big?"

19 replies so far

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 4027 days

#1 posted 11-05-2010 07:35 PM

Whoa. Lots of questions.

Is CA Glue the same as Superglue/grazy glue? .......Yes, pretty much, but I try to use the CA glue stuff, because I know that the debonder and activator will work, and it comes in different thicknesses.

Are you asking about assembling pens, or finishing them? I like to use Medium for assembling the pens, it seems to give me just enough time to slide in the tube to the blank. I use thin CA for filling and stabilizing punky woods like spalted maple. I do not use CA for finish like some people do, so I can’t answer your question if that’s what you want to know.

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4764 days

#2 posted 11-05-2010 07:57 PM

I agree with Edziu, I use med for gluing in the brass tubes. I use thin for stabilizing the soft spots and thin again for finishing. Stick with the CA stuff from Titebond or similar, you just don’t know what is in the Krazy glue stuff or how it will react. Plus you can’t get that stuff in different viscosity.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View JoshJock's profile


94 posts in 3819 days

#3 posted 11-05-2010 08:13 PM

Edziu, I am sorry I should’ve been more specific, yes I was refering to the pen finish. I did notice a nice bond between the tube and the blank, so I will be sticking with that. thnx!
Shannon: thanks for your opinion. I didn’t think about how the krazy glue might react with the blank. I will stick with CA glue. Thank you for you guys input!!!

-- "Does this lathe makes my butt look big?"

View brtech's profile


1079 posts in 3899 days

#4 posted 11-05-2010 08:46 PM

Not a pen turner, but I’ve dealt with CA a lot.

Crazy glue is just a brand name for a particular mfg’s CA. It’s just CA. It’s cheap per tube but very expensive per ounce. Hobby stores usually have larger sizes and are more economical per ounce. You can mail order cheaper than that. Brand matters some: good brands have more consistent viscosity, bond time, and strength. Two good brands are Robert Smith Industries and Zap.

Thin, medium and thick have obvious viscosity differences, but there are also bonding time differences. Thin is like water, and sets very fast (seconds). Medium is like maple syrup and sets in a minute or two. Thick varies, but clearly it’s pretty stiff, and it takes several minutes to bond. There are also some CAs with additives that make the glue more flexible.

The result is pretty much the same.

Accellerants make the glue bond pretty much instantly. You don’t need them, and they are expensive. You can use water mist, but it tends to make the glue cloudy.

Do have some debonder around if you are going to use your fingers anywhere near CA. Debonders work.

You can break a glue bond with heat. A heat gun will get a joint hot enough to break the glue bond. Of course, in pens, I don’t think you would ever want to do that, and a heat gun can burn wood.

View JoshJock's profile


94 posts in 3819 days

#5 posted 11-05-2010 08:54 PM

brtech: thank you for your comment, very helpful. I use latex gloves when applying CA glue (learned the very first time lol). Do you think Krazy glue can be used to finish pens???

-- "Does this lathe makes my butt look big?"

View brtech's profile


1079 posts in 3899 days

#6 posted 11-05-2010 09:00 PM

It’s just CA, so yes. I think you will find that it’s not very cost effective, but yes, it should work. I would go to a hobby store and buy a bigger bottle.

View JoshJock's profile


94 posts in 3819 days

#7 posted 11-05-2010 09:05 PM

thnx brtech!

-- "Does this lathe makes my butt look big?"

View grub32's profile


215 posts in 4024 days

#8 posted 11-06-2010 03:00 PM

This is my process of using ca glue as a finish…not the only, may note the best way but it works for me every time.

Best of luck,


-- Educator by Day, Wood Butcher by Night!!

View marcbousquet's profile


18 posts in 3391 days

#9 posted 12-18-2011 03:27 AM

I’ve heard you can also use acetone (nail polish remover) to help remove CA glue but you need to use it when the glue is still wet otherwise if you get it on your fingers and it dries your only real options are waiting for it to wear off or use a somewhat dull chisel or plane blade you don’t care about to and carefully scrap it off. Best bet though is if your going to be using CA glue or something similar is to hit lowes/home depot/ect for a box of latex or nitrile gloves. They are usually cheap for a box of 100 gloves (50 pairs).

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3014 days

#10 posted 08-23-2013 02:21 AM

And it must be Dawn of the Living Dead Posts because I’m bringing this one back from the grave…

I just watched the video and had a question – same one I noticed in the comments section that wasn’t answered:

What keeps the glue from gluing the pen parts to the bushings? I see someone else left a comment that this happened to them. I’ve got a pen on the lathe ready for applying a finish now and it’s either CA, BLO, or danish oil since that’s about all I’ve got on the shelf that I can trust.
EDIT: I forgot about the stuff in the laundry room – I’ve also got three rattle cans of poly or lacquer.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Wildwood's profile


2936 posts in 3111 days

#11 posted 08-23-2013 11:34 AM

Check prices on CA glue at this site;

Had glue failures using CA on tubes & blanks so switched to epoxy. Also used polyurethane glue, but prefer epoxy.

Stopped us CA for finishing because became sensitive to the stuff, great finish never had a problem with apply.

For tip tricks and techniques check out FINISHING section over at IAP.

-- Bill

View MrFid's profile


908 posts in 2881 days

#12 posted 08-23-2013 11:45 AM

JustJoe – Nothing stops the CA from adhering the wood to the bushings. I am generally pretty careful to not overdo the CA near the bushings, but you’ve gotta cover the whole blank so you have no choice really. When you take the pen off the mandrel, you can break apart the pen parts from the bushing by hand easily without more than about 2 fingers of pressure. Not much of the CA actaully adheres the two together. Sometimes a little ring (kind of feels like a burr) of CA will be left on the blank after you break the pieces apart. I sand this off by holding the blank perpendicular to a piece of 220 sandpaper. A few strokes will get the CA “burr” removed. Then, next time you use the bushings make sure to scrape off the old CA (sandpaper can work for this too).

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3014 days

#13 posted 08-23-2013 01:15 PM

Bailey, thanks. I’ll give it a shot. I don’t have any accelerant so I will be doing it a bit slower.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View moke's profile


1656 posts in 3753 days

#14 posted 08-23-2013 05:17 PM

Most of the guys that do a lot of pens use “delrin” bushings (cones) for finishing…others wax the metal bushings. Either way be very careful when you take the blank from the bushing. The CA finish is not very stable for about 24 hours. I always wait overnight to trim any excess off the ends of the blanks and I am very careful pulling the bushings off…if I even do that night.

CA finishes that are thick are an art. Some do not like thick CA finishes…mostly because thye say it does not feel like wood any more. I do, I have been on quite a few private jets and I look at the wood on those and they have a very thick and smooth finish and feel like a thick CA finish. I just like that feel, but it is a very plastic feel.

BLO is really not a neccessary thing…it really only smoothes the CA a tiny amount. Now the intial application of BLO before the CA is more for staining or bringing out the grain. I only really use it twice. I put 10 coats of thin on, sand to 600 clean with BLO, and another 10 coats of thin. I sand to 1200 then I use a beall buuf set instead of Micro mesh….it’s much quicker and I can see if any problems are in the finish before I spend another hour on it.

One other suggestion is if you use CA to glue in the tubes, is that CA has many accelorants…particulary heat and moisture…..if you glue in the tube right after drilling you may have heat issues and the tube might get stuck half way in. DAMHIKT

As Wild wood suggested the IAP site is great for learning pen turning….there is some fantastic turners with some unbelieveable pens. Be prepared to be humbled. They are pretty helpful as a whole, but it is one of the Clickyiest sites I have ever been on.

-- Mike

View grenger's profile


202 posts in 4343 days

#15 posted 03-14-2015 01:39 PM

i am using ca glue to fix cracks…. glue will spread off the crack. How can i remove the glue?

-- Gerry (the beginner), Gatineau, QC, Canada

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics