Hey y'all,

After many years of repairs and builds I have a question that I should have asked earlier.  What is the difference between "Loctite's" professional grade super glues and the other super glues available from our suppliers and wood working companies.  For some reason I have never ordered any, just went to the hardware store and bought regular ole superglue.  Any problems with doing this?  It always seems to work well, just wondering.


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I am not sure about letting the glue come to room temp, however, the firdge thing is for sure.  It does last longer stored in the fridge.

The Loctite guru told us to store partially used containers in the fridge with the lid off.  The idea is that CA only goes off in the absence of air.

If you have the viscosity you want, I doubt the temperature makes much difference - the dispensed quantities are so small that they must come to ambient temperature right away.

This sure runs counter to what I've read on the labels and so on. The Satellite City guy was adamant that I never put it back in the fridge after opening it. But I never put a cap on it once it's open, and the bottles remain good to the last drop. And my shop is generally quite cold. Hmmm.

I learned a long time ago to keep accelerator very far away from the stuff itself. One little drifting cloud of accelerator will kick a whole bottle in slo-mo.

Paul, I probably misremembered the advice.  It was more likely to store new product in the fridge, then store opened bottles with the lid off (but not in the fridge, which is indeed a humid environment).  I have never had a fridge in the shop, and my stuff is not welcome in the kitchen.

I suspect there are other things that will kick CA, e.g. volatile solvents like acetone.

After a lot of experimenting, I've finally settled on (a). keeping the stuff refrigerated until it's opened, and then (b). once it's opened, the squeeze-bottle gets stored in a small glass jar lined with aluminum foil and a tight lid.

It may be contrary to it's chemistry, but (once opened) It seems to stay fresher longer in a light-free and air-deprived enclosure.

the frig advice came from a loctite rep i repaired a guitar for, i took his word at the last longer in the frig bit,and i go thru it fast enough to keep fresh stuff .i also live about a mile from woodcraft so i dont stock alot of glue.


The reason I was told not to store it in the refrigerator was the possible introduction of moisture as condensation. If you keep it cold, use it cold, the return it to the fridge I don't suppose that's much of an issue. I have always kept mine out; I keep one of those tiny teflon tubes stuck in the nozzle of the bottle so hardly any air can get to the stuff. I buy small bottles and throw it out if it starts to thicken in the bottle.

CA does have a shelf life and all CA's are not created equally....

I too like Bob Smith CA (which can be found private labeled in hardware and hobby stores as mentioned) for it's consistency of manufacture (never had a bad bottle), for it's availability (easy to find in local hobby and hardware stores), and for it's "freshness" (more on this in a moment...).

Although I'm not a fan of CA use in Lutherie.... there are a few applications where it works great.  As such I do use it but for what we do I use the "thin" stuff needing it's wicking action.  If you have noticed as your CA ages the thin stuff gets thicker and the medium and thick stuff will also get thicker until at some point it's a solid....  This is the "shelf life" that I speak of.

Some years ago in my role as a consultant to businesses or more specifically how to grow businesses I did a consulting gig with a local hobby store chain that was going national with franchising, etc.  I was also an avid RC airplane and helicopter guy at that time too and as such, since my flying skills were so great..... &*(*&^%$%^&^ a frequent CA user as well.... ;)

From my time spend learning and understanding this Hobby store chains business one of the very first things that I learned was that this organization would place massive orders with Bob Smith twice a year.  Even though they sold thousands of bottles of CA annually they only dedicated enough shelf space to CA, since it sold well anyway, to meet say one week's need.  This created a "back-stock" situation which in turn, and my understanding was at the direction of the manufacturer, to store the CA back-stock in the fridges located in the back rooms of the stores.  Some stores had so very much CA back stock at any given time that they had two fridges....filled only with CA.

Employees would restock shelves as needed taking the CA from the fridge to the shelf AND recomending to customers when asked that they too, we, store our CA in the fridge when not in use.  As such I have always stored my CA in the fridge when not in use or when it's fresh and I want to preserve life as much as possible.

Bond strength from storing or the age of the CA was never a concern or an issue and for many of us in the RC hobby erroring on the side of being a cheap bastage.... and not using fresh glue could be disasterous AND dangerous...

Now, and sorry for being so long winded....., regarding big box store CA such as Locktite brand I won't use it...  Why?  For all of the reasons stated above.  I seriously doubt that the employees at say Home Depot are keen to "rotate" shelf stock CA moving the older stuff forward so as to facilitate sale or that they store back-stock CA in a fridge.  This "freshness" issue is enough in and of itself for me to avoid CA from big box stores, auto parts stores, etc. if the CA is likely to be stocked and forgotten and never properly rotated for freshness or stored appropriately either.  I have also helped out a few builders who got in to trouble using big box store epoxy, which, by the way, is also important to try to purchase fresh stock too.  By the way Bob Smith industries also makes a very decent epoxy as well that is private labeled and available at hobby stores too.  I prefer West Systems but Bob Smith epoxy has always served me very well too.

There are many quality brands of CA available IF you can get them fresh and properly handled prior to your purchase.  Bob Smith, Satellite City, ZAP (a pacer product), Carl Goldberg (not sure if this one is still available), and a new favorite of mine - Star bond.  In nearly all cases too these brands are less expensive for the quantity purchased than big box brands such as locktite.

Although again I am not the biggest fan of using CA in Lutherie I try to at least use a quality, fresh CA and I do store my CA's in the fridge too - sometimes for years in as much as I currently have a 2006 bottle of Stew-Mac CA in my fridge that is still fine to use.

Heat and moisture are the primary causes for reduced shelf life on high quality CA.  There are, of course, some brands that will rarely have a good shelf life.

Hess and Mike give a lot of good information here.  John repeats the myth that CA cures will lack of air, which appears to have been started by a German producer.  CA is not anerobic like most threadlocking materials.  It is the trace amount of moisture that is on most surfaces that provides the hydroxyl ions that initiate the polymerization of cyanoacrylates.

CAs like Zap and BSI, if kept in a dry indoor environment at 70-75 degrees, will last more than two years.  Specialty CAs, like the rubber toughened and odorless, have a shorter shelf life.  For long term storage, CA kept in sealed glass jar with a pack of silica gel desiccant can last for many years in a refrigerator.  There is no significant difference if you put it in a freezer except for the fact it will take longer to warm up so you can use the CA.  CA works best at temperatures above 60 degrees.  For application where you need to have a longer working time with the CA, you can use it cold and let it warm up during the bonding process.

Once the bottles are opened, they should not be taken in and out of cold storage on a daily basis.  This can cause condensation to occur inside the bottles.  If you know you're not going to use open CA bottles for a month or more, storage in a fridge is no problem.

California dealers that handle BSI CA commonly get product to put on their shelfs that was bottled the day before.  It's rarely more than two weeks old.  Using product that has never been warehoused can make a big difference in the performance that the end user experiences.

Charlee Smith

Bob Smith Industries

My supplier of CA in Germany states a shelf life of 1 year at 5°C in the 'fridge, but I just leave mine at room temp on a shelf in my workshop, and I've never noticed any degradation. It's certainly  capable of sticking my fingers together after 2 years (don't ask) 

The StuMac CA is very good, but just too expensive to get it shipped to Germany (customs duty, sales tax etc) 

Thanks Charlee. That is very helpful information. Tom

Just now looking at this discussion. I would add a couple of things after using CA for 20 yrs. I learned about uses initially from Dan the Man Erlwine, lots of good uses in Lutherie. My experience with Hot Stuff that StewMac used to sell was good but the tips would clog constantly because of being a narrow taper. I switched to Bob Smith because it is locally available, has a wider tip taper (doesn't clog) and I assume is fresh due to high usage by hobby shop customers. I buy 1/2 oz. bottles and they will last 6 -12 months on my bench after opening unless I use it up. I keep my shop at near 50% RH. Since Titebond has come out with their own CA and it's carried at local Woodcraft store, albeit in 2 oz. bottles, I have been using it except for the water thin which I still use 1/2 oz. Bob Smith for. Since I have used various forms of Titebond for years and they are an adhesive company, I assume their stuff is good. I have bottles of thick and medium that are over 3 yrs. old and still good, the gel has hardened up some, but I rarely use it. If you have any questions, I have always found it useful to call the manufacturer for the last word. Franklin (Titebond) has always been very helpful and has good info on their website in data sheets for each product.

Thanks to Charlee Smith for the input from BSI.


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