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EdT

Cyanoacrylate (CA) Glue for Rigging

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Hello everyone,

 

I would like to gather information on the use of CA adhesive to secure splices in rigging lines.   I recall seeing comments negative to the use of this product.  For example, brittleness and expected failure of joints, joint deterioration over time, acids leaching from the material into rigging lines and leading to deterioration, etc.  I do not know to what extent these issues are data based and would be most interested in seeing some actual data or some technical literature assessing long term performance.  My online searches have turned up nothing negative on these issues.  The use of these products in a wide variety of industrial applications has been going on for many years.

 

There are advantages in the use of CA in rigging.  For example, instantaneous bonding of a wide range of rigging materials - cotton, linen, polyester, very strong joints, ability to harden soft materials to make tiny eyes, etc.  

 

I have experienced no problems from using CA in rigging in an admittedly short model lifetime of around ten years.   

 

Comments?

 

Ed

 

 

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Hello Ed.

This is MY take on the matter. 

I NEVER use CA in my rigging, EXCEPT to stiffen the end of a rope and cut it in diagonal to make a kind of needle so I can insert it through a tight hole.

Having said that, CA runs through the ropes making them take angles or straight lines where you don't want them, leaves an ugly shiny spot, makes the lines brittle, and it will be a mess when (not IF) you get your fingers glued together.

I have used FLAT lacquer to secure my knots for years and I don't see myself changing. It doesn't have any of the drawbacks I mentioned before, plus is a lot cheaper. The next option is diluted white glue.

As far as technical data, I don't have any... my opinion is based on experience only. :)

 

Hope this helps make up your mind.

Best regards

 

Edit: I meant FLAT "Varnish" above. Sorry.

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My novice experience in reference to complicated rigging and especially ratlines I started using ca specifically on the ratlines on vic, I got to about 30 % finished and the shiny spots were to noticeable, and switched to watered elmers which looked great but I still had the old  shine. That is what made me cut them all out and redo among other noticeable errors.

 

Use the diluted Elmers. Some of the pros mention use no glue so the lines can be loosened or repaired or tightened over time I heartily agree with that but do not have enough nerve yet to poke my big fingers in tight spots to redo a line. maybe one day.

 

This based on my limited knowledge, good luck.

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I have always used CA to secure rigging knots. It darkens light-colored lines so I have an anti-fray product for fabric that I use on light-colored lines, but I would prefer to use the CA. The first ship I built was in 1999 and I had it out of its case a few weeks ago to steal the pedestals for another project. I specifically checked the knots and the lines seemed as strong as when I first made it. This is just my experience, but everyone may do what suits them.

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I use a lot of lacquer to coat and stiffen my patterns, but I would not enjoy

using it inside.  The solvent gemisch seems kind of unhealthy.

 

For PVA,  I think bookbinders neutral pH -  woodworkers PVA is acidic.

 

No data but isn't CA weak in resisting shear forces?  I think shear is a major

factor with rigging.

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Ahoy Mates

 

Since I am now sensitive to CA-it causes me to have symtoms like I have hay fever,I also just use CA to stiffen the ends of thread and with material that PVA can not hold. It was a great change in my building quality of the rigging and how the thread looks after it has been glued. I also use flat varnish to hold knots.

 

I use transparent Titebond and Titebond II. The transparent Titebond has a more flexible when it hardens,and is almost clear.

 

Then only problem I have is with black thread and how the silvering shows if you do not water  it down enough. It causes holding problems since there is not the same thick glue to start with. Sometimes I just use the regular thick glue and then touch up the silvered area with flat black ink or paint,and then cover with flat varnish.

 

But it always beats the problems with brittle,stiff and glass like surfaces that CA can create on the thread and where you use it. With the PVA,it still shrinks down into the thread when it dries,which CA doesn't.

 

It doesn't harden as fast as CA,so you do not build as fast,but that's a great thing since you end up looking and thinking about what you are doing and have done. Remeber you are doing this for enjoyment not a speed building race.

 

Just try doing the same knots and rigging with CA and then PVA and really look at the end results. You decide- it's your build and you are the one who knows which one you like best. And PVA is easier to debond with just rubbing alcohol . 

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year form Pickels and Keith

post-7881-0-83932700-1482429866_thumb.jpg

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Bear, I don't think Pickles is "feelin the spirit" by his/her expression.  Probably hoping this pic doesn't go viral.   :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at MSW.

 

By the way, I have only completed one build and I did use CA on some of the rigging.  I did fall victim to lines breaking, especially the strops around the blocks if they were twisted or bent in a direction other that how it dried.  I will try some watered down white glue or fabric stiffener to secure knots if need be on my current build.

 

Tom

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Hi Ed,  I started using CA with my Endeavour build some 12 years ago - not knowing any better back then.   I used CA (thin) on all the splices, knots etc and they are still holding and have yet to go brittle (they are stiff but not brittle).  I know that museums etc do not like this, but they are very slow to update it seems - I know there will be many objections to this comment, but for me time will tell.  I have been helping to restore some older models and one of these appeared to have used CA and the knots/splices were not the isssue; rather it was rotten rope.  To me, I think the scale rope will rot as quickly as the glue may go brittle.  I also coat my knots with Dullcote to reduce the shine of the CA which may further protect the process further.  I have yet to find a knot that has let go, or a rope that snapped due to the use of CA.  Furthermore, the issues I had were with other items parting (eyes etc) or mostly due to me bumping the part.  Whenever I needed to redo a line/knot, a few drops of debonder usually did the trick.  I for one simply could not get PA or lacquer to hold my knots, no matter what I did.

 

All that said, you are creating some masterpieces with your models and may not wish to take the risk.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Ahoy Mates

 

Pickels is high on Cat Nip plus he was going around in circles trying to catch the damn red laser light that I tease him with. And mostly because he hates the damn Santa Hat!!!!!!!. But other than that he's a very happy cat and ruler of the house here in Troutdale.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ALL!!!!!

 

And use CA only when you have to. PVA is better on your model and health than CA. My sisters horse Wyatt says to stay away from the hide glue also for reasons I do not have to explain here,and in memory of his parents.

 

Ho Ho HO  LOL

 

Keith

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I still use CA to secure knots - just the tiniest drop from the point of a pin. I have tried watered down white PVA with no luck - doesn`t hold well. I have also tried something called hypo cement for fabrics - too stringy & takes too long to dry. I don`t like having to wait an hour after gluing each knot - it would take me ten years to rig a ship. I have also gone to using a CA called Super Gold CA - it`s odorless & works just as well as the smelly stuff. I also use the medium viscosity - it doesn`t leech up the line like the thin CA does. I have never had a knot or a line fail.

 

Mark

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Just checked my Hannah which was rigged over 15 years ago. I used a combination of CA and Liquitex Acrylic Matte Medium (as suggested by Harold Hahn). I can't tell which lines were secured with which and they are all in excellent shape. That said, I recall the CA did stiffen the line a bit more than I wanted and made it difficult to form a graceful droop. No such issue with the matte medium, which also allowed for some adjustment during its setting up.

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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:

 

 

"Hello Ed,

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.

 

Ed

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Hi Ed,

 

Thanks for the information here. I, too, have used CA for years on models: ships, planes, trains, etc etc. No ill effects. My planes spend time outdoors, but the glue joints are hidden: no direct UV. Most window glass if effective at blocking much if not all UV light these days. Depends on the house, age of materials and such.  There are UV reactive plastic beads that one can use to detect UV easily and affordably: https://www.amazon.com/Ultraviolet-Detecting-Beads-250-Pack/dp/B00906M148  if anyone wants to see what their ships are exposed to.  I am now tempted to generate a long term experiment with thread, CA, and a variety of conditions: inside, outside, behind glass, under stress, etc.  Tempting. Let me give it some thought. 

 

~john

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Thank you, John.  I would be most interested in any results you obtain, but it could be a long time from now.  There are procedures for accelerated testing of adhesives that can be found online.  I saw some (but did not study them) while searching for "cyanoacrylate long term strength" - or something like that.

 

Daniel, I know that many modelers use matte medium and therefore must get acceptable results.  I can see this as a sealer on knots, but question its strength on simple glued splices because it is not really a glue. I make splices by threading the line through itself once, holing it flat and applying glue.  There is no knot in this case so the strength relies entirely on the glue.  From my testing, using acrylic matte medium as a glue produces weaker joints than PVA (polyvinyl acetate emulsion) that is designed to be a glue.  Matte medium (poly methyl, ethyl and/or butyl acrylate emulsion) is a very different material, designed primarily as a coating.  As with all coatings, it has, some adhesive properties, but is by no means a glue.  There are excellent acrylic adhesives, used primarily in construction and manufacturing, but not generally used by modelers or sold in convenient form or amounts.

 

Ed

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Using cyanoacrylate for rigging is like using a 2 inch chain to attach my dog.

I prefer a smaller chain; white glue and as less as possible so it can be reversible if required.

 

Why do we use glue on rigging? Because we are afraid the ropes could get slack by moving a little bit.

The strenght to stop this is not very big. Also quality rope is there for something and some ropes are more slipery than other.

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On 12/22/2016 at 11:09 AM, Mahuna said:

Hi Ed:

 

I've tried CA and diluted PVA, but my favorite is Liquitex Acrylic Matte Medium.  It  holds well, dries invisibly, and does not cause the rigging to get brittle.  

I'm just starting the first bit of rigging that I have ever done on my Medway Longboat. I experimented a bit with thin CA and watered down white carpenter's glue. I didn't like how stiff and shiny the CA was and the watered down white glue didn't seem to hold real well. I may have watered it down too much. Anyway, I think I will try some of the Liquitex Acrylic Matte Medium as you have suggested. Does it take very long for it to  dry and harden?

 

Thanks,

Bob

 

 

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On 12/22/2016 at 11:09 AM, Mahuna said:

I've tried CA and diluted PVA, but my favorite is Liquitex Acrylic Matte Medium.  It  holds well, dries invisibly, and does not cause the rigging to get brittle.  

I tried the Liquitex Acrylic Matte Medium last night on a piece of Syren rope and I checked it this morning. It didn't discolor the beige color of the rope like the CA did. It was practically transparent. I also liked that it had some stiffness to it but was still flexible and it wasn't shiny and very stiff like the CA. I think this will be my go to glue for knots and rigging for the time being.

 

Bob

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Acrylic matte medium can be thinned with water if you wish. It goes on milky, but dries clear.

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Dont for heavens sale use CA on rigging - it crystallises which looks bad but worse the CA'd areas tend to be brittle and your rigging may break.

Personally either thinned - very - PVA or diluted matt/silk varnish

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I had some doubts about using emulsion glue (PVA), or matte medium (acrylic) to secure rigging when I started the rigging job on Young America.  At 1:72 or 1:96, glue of some sort is essential.  These doubts were completely dispelled, rescuing me from the ordeal of using CA for anything except stiffening rope ends to thread through small holes.  Making strong eyesplices (perhaps a thousand or so) in the smallest thread sizes was a daunting prospect.  The  pictures below show the method used and to my mind represent an acid test for the Titebond wood glue that I used.  The only connection on these splices is the passing of the rope through itself, so there is no knot and the strength of the joint is due primarily to the glue.  I can think of only a few failures of these splices in the entire model. 

 

The first picture shows the forming of a splice in size 80 cotton thread by passing a needle through the rope to form the splice, in this case the rope passes through a shackled eyebolt.

_dsc1515.jpg.9c3f6b5c16667fe7406eba6b449635cf.jpg

The next picture shows such a splice in place in the rigging - under some tension.

_dsc1522.jpg.9beb4115a998740dd6da3d34cdab88d3.jpg

The next picture shows a splice of this type being glued in a special fixture used for making the 100's of ratline splices.

_dsc1209.jpg.c458287f6efda90db253fcc0e1795933.jpg

I have not tested the strength of glue vs. matte medium, but I used glue.  Both are aqueous polymer emulsions and can be diluted with water.  The acrylic medium is formulated to modify coatings, mainly artist acrylics, or to act as a coating itself.  PVA is a glue.  While I expect that either could be used to seal knots, I believe that the PVA, Titebond in this case, will be stronger where the glue  provides primary strength, as it does in these splices.  Also, I believe in these cases, less dilution is more appropriate than in cases where the role of the emulsion is merely to prevent knot loosening.

 

I would also add that these materials will be most effective on natural fibers - cotton or linen, and less so if at all on synthetics like poly ester.

 

So, except for stiffening rope ends to pass through small holes, I believe CA is unnecessary in rigging.  A welcome conclusion for those of us, like me, who hate using it.

 

Ed

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Beacon manufactures specialty adhesives and has a line that are fabric specific.  Beacons 'Fabri-Tac' and 'Magna-Tac 809' are both used by the fashion industry, applications include costume design and gluing sequins to wedding gowns. 

 

I've experimented with Beacon Fabri-Tac on Syren ropes, it's quick drying, doesn't stain, discolor or spread like CA glue.  When the glue cures, there's a slight amount of stiffening, but the rope remained flexible.      

 

Beacon Fabri-Tac comes in 2 oz, 4 oz and 8 oz bottles and mini tubes.  I purchased it at JoAnne Fabrics or it can be mail ordered.

 

Beacon has a wide selection of specialty adhesives, for more info: 

https://www.beaconadhesives.com/product-category/consumer/fashion-art/

 

 

 

Please Note:  This is not 'Fabric Tack' which has been mentioned in other glue discussions on MSW.

 

 

.

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On 3/2/2020 at 5:38 AM, EdT said:

The first picture shows the forming of a splice in size 80 cotton thread by passing a needle through the rope to form the splice, in this case the rope passes through a shackled eyebolt.

First of all, thank you, Ed for this excellent information. Your splices look great. I would like to try your method of making a splice since I'm struggling to making really good looking stropping on blocks and eyes in ropes etc. This is my first try at any rigging at all so I'm all eyes and ears for information.

 

How do you finish the splice? What do you do with the section of rope once it has passed through the rope by using a needle? Is it wrapped around itself or...???

 

I have only seized a couple of blocks so far and I used medium viscosity CA but in the tiniest amount that I applied with a pointed dental tool. That way it holds at the spot where I apply it without any visible discoloration to the naked eye but I'm certainly open to other ideas and better, proven ways.

 

Bob

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Dee_Dee said:

I've experimented with Beacon Fabri-Tac on Syren ropes, it's quick drying, doesn't stain, discolor or spread like CA glue.  When the glue cures, there's a slight amount of stiffening, but the rope remained flexible.   

Thanks, Dee_Dee, I'll give this stuff a try. I'm new to all this rigging and I'd rather not use CA if I can find something else that works well and sets up fairly rapidly.

 

Bob

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Hello Bob,

Thanks for your comments.

 

The splice shown in the first photo is one of many hundred used to lash one end of the ratline to an end shroud.  the other end is made the same way but has to be made in place.  I described this is the YA build log and in more detail in the book.  In this case the loop is made by passing a needle through the rope then pulling it tight over a pin as shown in the picture.  On these there is no wrapping below the joint.  The contact between threads, plus the glue is sufficient.  To finish the splice the short end is clipped off very close to - right at - the main part.  On larger joints of this type some of the short end may be slightly wrapped and pinched to the main leg so when cut it shows some splice width.  But in all cases of this type the glue is doing the work. I use normal yellow glue for hemp and darkened glue that dries almost black for tarred standing rigging. 

 

Because I wanted to lash the ends of the ratlines to the shrouds in a realistic manner, a method to make many small eyesplices was needed and that led to this.  It worked well enough to be used on larger ropes for the many splices in the running rigging where there is more stress on the lines.  The ratline fixture shown in the picture puts tension on both legs, avoiding any kinks at the splice.  The method works very well in place where an eyesplice fits over an eyebolt or other point on the model.  I usually pull the long end through in this case.  I thin this adds some strength.

 

This type of splice is used on small rope, sizes 40 to 100 of the crochetting thread that I use.  This right-handed thread simulates rope very well.  For larger sizes, usually made rope, a different process is used.  I think all this is described in the build log and certainly in the book.

 

Ed

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I discovered this kind of splice in a textbook on knots and splices that I got around 1970. There it is named something like 'yarn splice'. I have used it since on my models to simulate splices. I prefer solvent-based fast-drying 'zapon' lacquer for securing splices and knots, as it can be loosened with aceton, if needed. 

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