No matter which adhesive you use, carefully follow the directions and safety information on the package. And wear thick rubber or vinyl gloves and work in a well-ventilated location or outdoors.
Don’t Expect Miracles
Whatever you’re gluing together must have a clean break of the kind you’d expect from broken ceramic or glass; if you’re using superglue, the two parts must fit together perfectly with no gaps. And if you’re gluing unlike materials, you’ll need a glue that’s suitable for both, if possible, for satisfactory results.
Use the Right Amount
Remember this mantra of proper gluing: Less is more. Use the minimal amount of adhesive needed to get the job done.
One Type can Pose Health Issues
Polyurethane glues can cause skin irritations and respiratory problems, and subsequent exposure to them could cause stronger reactions.
To control how much you apply, squirt some onto a piece of aluminum foil or the product’s plastic packaging. Use a toothpick or a wood or plastic coffee stirrer to apply the glue. (Some two-part epoxies come with a plastic paddle for mixing.) Immediately wipe up any excess glue that comes out of the joint as you work.
Of less concern but more common are fingers stuck together with superglue. “Soak your glued fingers in warm, soapy water,” Dr. says James S. Taylor, M.D., a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said. Then ; gently separate the skin with a soft spatula. If water doesn’t work, use acetone or nail-polish remover. Taylor cautions that both of those materials could irritate your skin.
Pay Attention to Color
The Devcon Plastic Steel 5-Minute Epoxy, $4.25, for instance, dries dark gray, but some adhesives come in other colors. If there’s a chance that the glue will be seen after it has dried, use one that is colorless after drying.
Doing It Right
Don’t make the mistake of using the wrong glue for the job. If you’re working with an item for the outdoors, for example, choose a water-resistant glue. And although some multipurpose glues do well with wood, we recommend that you use a wood glue for wood projects. Types will tell you which glues are right for which materials and tasks.
Many superglues are now sold in single-use sizes, and manufacturers sell packs with two, four, and even up to a dozen tubes. That means dried-up, half-used tubes of superglue are a thing of the past. “The tubes got smaller because people complained they’d go back to reuse the glue and it was too hard and crusty,” says David Nick, a consultant to the adhesives industry. None of the tested glues had an expiration date, so if you have a lot of repairs or projects, buy multipacks to save money.
Shopping for glue? Read about types, features, and other must-know topics in our glue buying guide to make an informed choice.