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Adhesive thoughts - what would you use?

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Jun 3, 2020 - 8:56:26 AM
105 posts since 11/14/2018

I am laminating three pieces of walnut for a neck blank. I'm trying to decide between simple 30 minute hardware store clear epoxy adhesive or titebond water resistant woodworkers glue. The end result will get exposed to weather because I will be taking it camping. Which one would you use or would you recommend something else?

Jun 3, 2020 - 9:12:18 AM

3132 posts since 5/29/2011

My first choice would be yellow wood glue. Tite Bond is the go-to choice now but I still like Elmer's yellow carpenter's glue when I can still find it. If you are going to finish the wood, which I would assume you will, the plain yellow glue will work just fine.

Jun 3, 2020 - 9:52:47 AM
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7677 posts since 1/7/2005

As long as you don't boil your banjo, yellow glue, like Titebond 1 will be just fine. Probably best not to play outside in a rain storm. If it starts to rain, put the banjo away in your car, or tent. It's unlikely you'll be backpacking with a banjo.

If you're going to be taking your banjo on canoe trips, get a waterproof bag. If you plan on scuba diving with your banjo, you should probably assemble it with Titebond 3, or marine epoxy, or resorcinal glue, or Weldwood plastic resin glue. You'll also want to finish it with numerous coats of marine spar varnish.

Jun 3, 2020 - 10:02:13 AM

10828 posts since 6/2/2008

I'm no builder, but people -- including myself -- have been taking banjos and guitars and other instruments with conventionally glued up laminated or multi-piece necks on camping trips for decades and I've never heard of anyone needing one built with special glue. I'm thinking of all those laminated neck 1970s Ode, Fender Artist and Gibson banjos I've seen out in the parking lots and camping fields at festivals.  They didn't come apart if it rained.

Besides ordinary wood glue, there are many builders who use only hot hide glue for everything they build.

Good luck and have fun.

Jun 3, 2020 - 11:41:52 AM

rcc56

USA

2863 posts since 2/20/2016

I would use plain old Titebond Original.

When I used one of the newer Titebond wood glues some years ago, I had a couple of glue failures. I subsequently learned that other people had similar experiences.

Actually, I would probably use hot hide glue, but it's not for beginners.

I suppose that if you are that worried about it, you could use one of the better marine grade epoxies. I would avoid the quick set hardware store epoxies, though. Over several decades of repairing instruments, I've used epoxies only a handful of times.

Jun 3, 2020 - 12:18:50 PM

Fathand

Canada

11599 posts since 2/7/2008

Titebond 1 or similar yellow carpenter's glues work great.

The epoxies I know are prone to stretch and a lot of luthiers advise against waterproof titebond.

Jun 3, 2020 - 12:23:22 PM

7267 posts since 8/28/2013

Quick-set hardware epoxies, in my opinion, are worthless. No, I take that back; they are worse than worthless.

Original Titebond would be my choice, unless you plan on playing the banjo while deep sea diving.

Jun 3, 2020 - 12:47:02 PM

13018 posts since 6/29/2005

I would use Titebond 2 or 3 because they are waterproof, or at least moisture resistant.

As has been said, the epoxy you buy in the hardware store is an unknown in terms of what it is what its properties are, and how it works—epoxies are something you have to be familiar with and I use a lot of it my banjo building practice, but not to laminate necks—I just use Titebond 1 for that, but I'm not concerned about water resistance.

As an aside, appropriate to the topic, ODE used marine resorcinol glue to laminate their necks and nothing whatsoever would make one of those come apart—hurricanes, floods, steaming, vinegar—nothing, but that's pretty extreme, and I really don't know why they did that

Jun 3, 2020 - 1:20:40 PM

105 posts since 11/14/2018

Actually, I'm building the banjo to take backpacking. The neck could get exposed to frequent and prolonged wet conditions, although I plan to make a cover for it.

Edited by - 98v70dad on 06/03/2020 13:27:26

Jun 3, 2020 - 1:42:29 PM

26 posts since 4/16/2020

The modern wood glues like Titebond if used properly and parts are joined prepped/clamped properly are pretty flawless and a failure is more likely to occur at another location in a wood part than the glued joint. The differences in the Titebonds (1,2,3) is: 1 isn't waterproof. 2 and 3 are, and 3 is the "most" waterproof. Their bonding PSI (holding strength) differs a little bit with type 3 being the strongest. For your purpose it would make little difference. Keep in mind that these are PVA based and don't work well in low temps. Read the instructions and make sure it stays clamped and cures for at least 24 hrs in a warm area, not a cold shop.

Jun 3, 2020 - 2:23:07 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12688 posts since 8/30/2006

Glue is one thing, finish is another
Glue doesn’t repel moisture
Finish does
I suggest you learn to French polish, it’s waterproof and easy to repair

Recently I’m getting good results from boiled linseed oil

I’ve got 100 necks out there, all Titebond One

Wipe off the finger oils and grime when you’re done

Jun 3, 2020 - 2:24:19 PM

rcc56

USA

2863 posts since 2/20/2016

I have had glue failures using Titebond 2 for instrument work. I do not recommend it.
I have heard reports of similar problems from other repairmen.

And Larry is right about the finish being the essential component to protecting an instrument from high humidity.  Although I don't like the stuff, I would recommend polyurethane for an "outdoor" instrument.

Edited by - rcc56 on 06/03/2020 14:27:19

Jun 3, 2020 - 2:32 PM

13018 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

I have had glue failures using Titebond 2 for instrument work. I do not recommend it.
I have heard reports of similar problems from other repairmen.

And Larry is right about the finish being the essential component to protecting an instrument from high humidity.  Although I don't like the stuff, I would recommend polyurethane for an "outdoor" instrument.


Good point!

Jun 3, 2020 - 2:57:36 PM

105 posts since 11/14/2018

I don't like poly either, but many coats of polyurathane on the wood is my plan for the finish.

Jun 3, 2020 - 3:22:23 PM

2876 posts since 2/18/2009

I have read that Titebond 2 and 3 are much more prone to creep than Titebond 1, so I have never used them. I've built a couple of canoes with epoxy, though it wasn't the hardware store kind, it was the kind that comes in bigger bottles that you mix and then it dries overnight. I don't know how that kind of epoxy would work for instruments, but for canoes and paddles it's great.

Jun 3, 2020 - 3:50:30 PM

105 posts since 11/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Hoyt

I have read that Titebond 2 and 3 are much more prone to creep than Titebond 1, so I have never used them. I've built a couple of canoes with epoxy, though it wasn't the hardware store kind, it was the kind that comes in bigger bottles that you mix and then it dries overnight. I don't know how that kind of epoxy would work for instruments, but for canoes and paddles it's great.


The really good epoxy that you used is really good stuff.  The epoxy you can get at a big box store is probably not as good but the engineering properties are generally available and they are very capable.  Some two part epoxy I used recently has a lap shear strength of 4500 psi.  That's more than you'll ever need to hold some wood together in a lamination.  The cheaper two part epoxy from the big box store is usually about 3500 psi which is also plenty strong for my purposes.  

Jun 3, 2020 - 4:04:19 PM

105 posts since 11/14/2018

Thanks for the comments everyone. I didn't really mention this in my origional post but I am mostly interested in thoughts about how the different glues would affect the stain on the walnut. I want the glue lines to disappear as much as possible and don't want to clog up the open pores so it won't accept stain. I know titebond will be OK in that regard but I'm not so sure about epoxy.

Jun 3, 2020 - 10:27:32 PM

rcc56

USA

2863 posts since 2/20/2016

You will carving the neck after you have laminated the pieces together. Glue won't penetrate very deeply, so I don't see how clogged pores on freshly carved wood could be a problem, no matter what glue is used.  But if any of the surfaces are not going to be sanded or carved after lamination, you could expect to have problems with epoxies.

Edited by - rcc56 on 06/03/2020 22:30:22

Jun 3, 2020 - 11:46:49 PM

7677 posts since 1/7/2005

If you don't stain the wood, then glue residue is a non-issue.

If you are really planning on backpacking with the banjo, weight becomes an important factor. For a lightweight banjo, I would consider making it out of spruce rather than walnut. Much less weight and plenty strong enough. They make canoe paddles out of spruce and paddles take a beating.

For finish, I would recommend spar varnish. No woodwork is exposed to moisture more than a boat, and wooden boats are either painted or varnished. Spar varnish is more flexible than polyurethane, so the finish is less likely to crack or flake as the wood swells and contracts with changing humidity.

Marine grade epoxy is also better able to flex without cracking than hardware store epoxy.

DD

Jun 4, 2020 - 5:14:17 AM

105 posts since 11/14/2018

Thanks for the comments. I'm a backpacker of over 40 years and you are right that weight is very important. I will probably only take it on short overnights where weight doesn't matter as much. I carefully considered all the options for wood selection. I considered spruce and locally available cypress and declined to use them due to their softness. They both have a very high strength to weight ratio and probably would have been the lightest choice. I saved a great deal of weight in the pot by using carbon fiber and aluminum. I plan to reinforce the neck internally with either a carbon fiber rectangular tube or maybe aluminum to save some money. Anyhow, I am not doing a conventional approach. Its more of an engineering project than a woodworking project. Your comment on spar varnish may change my mind about using poly. I know about spar varnish but chose poly because both finishes are expensive and I have a one gallon jug of water based poly left over from putting in hardwood floors in my house. I forgot about it eventually getting brittle.

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