Thank you everyone for the comments and related experiences with CA. All of us who have used these materials are familiar with the more obvious negatives – hardened lines, stuck fingers, glossy joints, etc. – so further discussion of those issues may not be needed. We can either use or reject CA for any or all of those reasons if we choose – in favor of other available options – with their own disadvantages I may add. I am more concerned about the more insidious, long term issues that have occasionally been mentioned in connection with the use of CA on rigging specifically.
Since I have used CA on rigging, I am glad to hear that so far, at least, no one has actually experienced a deterioration problem. I can add myself to that list. I used thin CA on most of the rigging joints on my 1:96 Victory. To date there has been no ill effects on a model that has spent the last six years in a sunny window – a possible issue described below. Longer term performance may still be a concern.
I am naturally suspicious of conventional wisdom, so many of the statements about CA perked up my tentacles. So far, no one responding here has cited any data that would provide a technical basis for concerns about long term CA performance in rigging.
My interest here is mostly curiosity. Although I have used CA in various applications, I do not expect to use it in rigging Young America. I expect to use PVA on splices – either darkened Titebond II® or acid free pva glue. In brief, applying a small blob of this to a wetted splice has resulted in strong bonds in tests. More could be said about this. I have tested other materials, including matte medium. While there are acrylic emulsions with excellent adhesive properties, artists media generally use coatings emulsions.
In addition to soliciting comments here, I have contacted a number of CA manufacturers, describing the rigging application and the concerns. Here is a response from Satellite City, makers of the Hot Stuff® products that I use:
Our glue has been used since 1970, first by model airplane builders and then by all sorts of other users. Cyanoacrylate is a permanent adhesive. The only thing I would be concerned about affecting the longevity of a bond is UV exposure. If your ship is stored where it is exposed to direct sunlight, the UV will break down the glue. In a test we did a few years ago, it took a couple of weeks of full sun all-day exposure to break down a thin layer of Hot Stuff that we had applied to a piece of wood in the way it would be used as a finish. At the end of the two weeks, the glue which had been clear originally had turned whitish and was flaking away. This level of exposure is not something I expect a model ship would be exposed to, and the glue itself was fully exposed to the sun as it was on the surface and facing the sun whereas if you use it to bond materials or secure knots, there will typically be minimal exposure. So unless you are using the glue as a finish on a model ship and displaying it in full sun continuously, you need not be concerned about the longevity of Hot Stuff.
Cyanoacrylate is essentially and inert plastic when cured. I am not aware of any trace contaminants or leeching of acids. Cyanoacrylate does react with cotton and similar materials by curing very rapidly and giving off a great deal of heat and a little smoke while it does so, but I am sure you are already familiar with this if you have used it with those materials in the past.
Attached are some pictures of our glue being used on some models you may recognize.
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for using our products, and have a great day. "
I examined my sun-exposed model after receiving this and found no trace of the white flaking described. The CA absorbed into the thread seems unaffected as expected from the response.
I will post other responses, if and when I receive them.
Edited by EdT, 24 December 2016 - 02:34 PM.