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Ever get confused about what sort of glue to use on a project? I’m twice degreed in Chemistry, and I certainly do. A great resource is This to That,, a comprehensive “glue advice” database run by a theatrical prop-builder and some buddies. They say:

We aren’t a front for any manufacturer or some National Glue Association (if such a thing even exists.) Our recommendations are totally impartial. We have advertisers but they don’t influence our selections at all. And they never will. We promise.

The folks at This to That were kind enough to give MAKE permission to reprint their main glue chart in The Maker’s Notebook, so it’s available in the notebook’s reference section in the back.

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. ken says:

    I love it. It even cracks wise if you are gluing weird things together.

  2. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    I love sites like this that are stylistically minimal and packed with useful info. The no-BS approach to web design.

  3. TD says:

    That site has only broad categories of materials. “Plastic” for example, could be any of thousands of materials with an extreme range of surface properties. Where do you go to find out how to glue polyester to acrylic?

    Broad categories can be found on many web sites and even glue packages at the store. If you want to find glue for a specific application, especially for plastics, you need to learn about surface energies, a concept similar to surface tension.

    If you want an adhesive to stick to a particular plastic it starts with wetting the surface with the glue- if the glue beads up on the surface it can’t possibly stick. Surface wetting is accomplished when the glue has a lower surface energy than the surface you want to wet with it. Water beads up on wax because the water has a higher surface energy (tension) than wax.

    See here for more info:
    http://www.adhesives.org/StructuralDesign/SurfaceEnergyandWetting.aspx

    1. Findlay says:

      The site may only have broad categories of materials, but I mostly seem to find myself gluing broad categories of materials together (like plastic to metal). This site is a wonderful resource. It means I don’t have to go find those other web sites or (good lord!) surf the backs of glue packages at a store. Hell, the store I visit may not even carry the kind of glue I need, and I wouldn’t know by looking at the shelves.

      If you realize that you have a specific need (acrylic to polyester), you probably also know that you need to seek a more specific answer.

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