Super Glue and Baking Soda for Strong Repairs

As a finish carpenter, I have been using Super Glue for years to glue and reinforce my miter cuts.  It wasn’t until recently however, that I stumbled upon other uses for this miracle adhesive.  Read on for the low down.

What is Super Glue?

Super Glue and Krazy Glue are common trade names that most of us have heard of.  The actual proper name for this adhesive is CA Glue, which is short for Cyanoacrylate.  Most people that use it regularly either in their profession or in hobbies refer to it as CA glue or Super Glue.  I refer to it in it’s proper name, so we’ll use the term CA glue from now on.

CA glue is an extremely strong and fast setting adhesive.  Which you will be well aware of if you have ever glued yourself to something.  Don’t have to guess how I know that one!

Is CA Glue Fast Setting?

Compared to most traditional glues and adhesives like wood glue, subfloor adhesive and epoxies, CA glue is very fast setting.  Set time for CA glue is measured in seconds rather than minutes, hours or even days like some other adhesives.

But even though it is fast setting you might be surprised to realize that getting two pieces to bond with CA glue is not always that easy or quick.

In the past, the only method I knew of to speed up the setting time of CA glue was to use an accelerator (or activator) to make the setting time of the adhesive virtually instant.

In my case,  as a finish carpenter, I will always use a CA activator if I am joining two pieces of wood with CA glue.  I find if I don’t use the accelerator, often times the glue absorbs into the wood before it sets.  This can mean my joint is either weak or it doesn’t adhere at all.  This is especially true if the wood is an MDF or LDF composite or open grained wood such as oak.

If you are gluing less porous items like plastic that have a tight joint an activator might not be required.

The Super Glue and Baking Soda Trick

So what is the deal with baking soda and CA glue?  I’m glad you asked. There are two things that baking soda with CA glue are useful for:

  1. Speeding up the setting time (like an activator/accelerator)
  2. Filling gaps

Let’s take a look at these tricks in order.

Baking Soda as an Accelerator

If you want to speed up the curing time of CA glue, I would always normally recommend using an accelerator designed for that purpose. But what if you have run out or don’t have any?  using baking soda will do almost the same thing.  Here is how it works:

  1. Apply the CA glue to the joint as you would normally.
  2. Immediately sprinkle baking soda liberally over the joint and fresh CA glue.  Don’t worry about applying too much baking soda as it won’t all stick.
  3. Optionally press the baking soda into the joint and CA glue to ensure maximum baking soda gets into the mixture.
  4. After a couple of seconds, you can remove excess baking soda by tipping the item, blowing it off or lightly vacuuming it.

Using this method, the curing time of the CA glue will go from 5-15 seconds down to almost instant, similar to using an accelerator.  The only downfall of using this method over a standard activator is the residual baking soda that will remain on the joint.

Baking Soda as a Gap Filler

This, in my opinion is where the baking soda technique really shines.  We have all likely come across a situation where we need to glue two parts together that might not have a tight joint.  Getting an adhesive to bond the two pieces together can be a real pain in the butt sometimes.

Starbond EM-150 Medium CA - Cyanoacrylate Super Glue 2 Ounce

Starbond EM-150 Medium CA - Cyanoacrylate Super Glue 2 Ounce
in stock
$10.89
Price updated: May 24, 2020 3:38 pm

Starbond EM-2000 Thick CA - Super Glue

Starbond EM-2000 Thick CA - Super Glue
in stock
$10.89
Price updated: May 24, 2020 3:38 pm

To use baking soda and CA glue as an effective gap filler is a very simple task by following these simple steps:

  1. Place items together in the proper position.
  2. Pour in your CA glue.  CA glues comes in different thicknesses, ranging from super thin to thick and even gel. I recommend using at least medium thickness or even thick if needed.
  3. Liberally sprinkle baking soda on to the gap and freshly poured CA glue.
  4. Press baking soda in to adhesive but try not to press below the joint if a clean appearance of the joint is required.
  5. Remove excess baking soda by blowing, vacuuming or tipping over the object.

That’s all there is to filling a gap with baking soda and CA glue.  As I said, it is a very simple task and will give you a very strong joint with most materials.

The CA glue/baking soda combination is easy to sand with sandpaper or form with a file if needed.  Sanding CA glue is a little nasty so wearing a mask or respirator is always a good idea for safety.

If you are more of a visual person and want to see this procedure, check out this video:

Summary

I hope you have found today’s quick tip helpful.  CA glue is one of those wonder products that you will find once you have used it, it will be an indispensable tool that has many uses.  The baking soda trick simply makes this great adhesive even more useful.

If you have found other uses for CA glue or have any comments on this article, please feel free to leave your comments below!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply