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Newbie Questions - Glue and Pins

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So let me first start off by apologizing if these questions are answered already elsewhere. I tried searching and there where alot of hits but I didnt see specific answers.

I am doing my first static build of the Confederacy by Model Shipways. I have built lots of RC mahogany runabouts from Legend and Dumas but never static. 


First off, I have always used CA glues for most of my builds except when I need something slow setting or other task specific needs when I use Titebond or others. From most of the builds I have perused, it appears alot of you use white glue on most of the build?! Is there a specific reason for it other than the obvious needs of a specific task?


And second, anyone have a US source for these pushpins Dubz uses? I have looked and cant find anything as nice, I have some with red heads but they are horrid quality wise!




I look forward to reading more of this wonderful resource and getting to know some of you better. I appreciate your time and help and hopefully I can be of help at times with my own tips etc



Popeye (childhood nickname that stuck)


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I don't use push pins. Short answer to CA vs white glue is CA penetrates the wood leaving a stain which you can't sand off easily while white glue (pva) does not penetrate like CA and doesn't stain and can easily be sanded from the surface. There is an article in this months NRG Journal that notes that CA will disappear with a clear coat but why take the chance. I do know lacquer doesn't cover it in my experience. My advise, use white glue for all wood and use CA where you want to glue metal or plastic to wood. Paper to wood use white glue.

Edited by barkeater

Completed scratch build: The armed brig "Badger" 1777

Current scratch build: The 36 gun frigate "Unite" 1796

Completed kits: Mamoli "Alert", Caldercraft "Sherbourne"

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IMO if you are going to leave wood Natural or Stain, stick with PVA. If you are going to paint or Copper Plate, CA use is Okay. I also use clamps,tape and rubber bands  instead of push pins as I don’t like the holes they leave and in many cases are a real PITA to push in.


Jim Rogers


Damn the Torpedoes , Full speed ahead.   Adm David Farragut.

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If you must use SS pins,  take a look at Dritz quilters pins - 1 3/4"  28g  which is #72 wire gauge.  They run about 2 cents each.   I use them as locators - outside the part's  final border - For the pins that PVA bonds - it takes me 3 hemostats to get enough grip to twist break the bond - I now pull them as soon as I set my clamps.


My thoughts on this:

Pins strong enough not to bend when significant force is applied are like as not too large a gauge for a model 1:48 or smaller.

For planking, I  :

drill first.

use brass lills in case the pin will not let go, 

use a hitch chuck on the pin to hold the plank down,

use the holes for bamboo trunnels after,  

A hitch chuck is a small piece of scrap wood to increase the surface area for the downward force. I have them be as thick as the size of my hemostat jaws. PVA can bond the pin to the wood.  Splitting out the wood leaves room grip the lill with a curved Kelly clamp and prize it out.

A nipped and filed brass or copper wire works with bamboo trunnels.  There are French museum models with extensive brass trunneling of hull planking.  #72 g is 1.5" at 1:60 scale.

I am thinking about using copper wire as trunnels after I pull the lills.  Using a draw plate, I can pull a piece of 12g Romex down to a really long #72- #75 wire,  The question = will it be stiff enough to push?  I think that pulling the wire will case harden it. 


I use a lot of 4" ratcheting bar clamps.  The only brand that work for me is the Harbor Freight Pittsburgh with the large grey nut.  The small grey nut variety do not hold, every body's orange or red varieties - the hold part is weak plastic and the triggers break.  Irwin clamps can apply only a very weak force.  If on sale, the HF clamps can be had for $1 - regularly $2. 

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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White PVA glue is a good choice for many situations, but there are also alternatives.


As a builder of acoustic guitars, I've used a wide variety of glues.  Whenever possible, I've used hot hide glue because it does not interfere with any finish and is fully reversible, and yet is incredibly strong and creep resistant.  But I expect that most modelers would not want to deal with its preparation and handling.  In this case, Old Brown Glue might be a good alternative, and for my next instrument I'll use it.  (But I've never met any instrument builder who would willingly use  Franklin/Titebond Liquid Hide Glue.)  You can read about Old Brown Glue here:



Edited by Bob Blarney
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4 hours ago, Popeye67 said:

All good info guys, thanks! I guess I will have to slow down and get use to not having the benefit of instant cure glue! I need to work on my patience I guess.

I am going to assume, in regards to white glue, Titebond II is still a decent choice?



No, I wouldn't use TBII - it's an aliphatic resin glue that is highly water resistant.  Try good old Elmers school glue first.

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On 10/8/2018 at 4:23 PM, Bob Blarney said:

No, I wouldn't use TBII - it's an aliphatic resin glue that is highly water resistant.  Try good old Elmers school glue first.

Interesting! So at the risk of being ignorant, why is an "aliphatic resin glue that is highly water resistant" a bad thing for this? Are we talking about ease of cleanup or is there more?


Also, is there a reason to remove the char from the edges if the piece will not show? I dont mind the work (cough cough) but am always afraid of sanding too much off or rounding the edges etc. I have been just wiping them down with a moist towel to remove the loose bits. Love to hear the reasons for removal vs leaving it on for hidden parts. There are sooooo many pieces of delicate small bits that sanding would eventually cause something to break or be rounding out of shape.



Edited by Popeye67
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About the glue - I have been known to make mistakes, but maybe I'm wrong about that.  Still, there were times when I thought it necessary to disassemble something that I've made.  Almost all glues will release with heat and/or water (steam), while others can be softened with vinegar or another solution.  TBII is fairly resistant to these procedures, while Elmer's GlueAll is not so resistant and is adequate for many purposes.


Incidentally, guitar builders and repairmen have come up with some interesting methods to disassemble  instruments. 


One way is to cannibalize a coffeemaker  and attach a rubber tube to the boiler element, and then plug a hypodermic needle into the rubber tube.  Then the needle can be placed in the joint that needs to be loosened and steam applied, e.g. the dovetail joint between the body and neck.  (Hmm, I have a defunct Keurig in my junkplie that would just dandy for this!).


For very small joints, and to steam out small dents in a soundboard, I'll fill a syringe with water and install a hypodermic needle of the appropriate size (20-27ga).  Then I'll place the needle where needed and then heat it with a soldering iron to produce a pinpoint jet of steam.

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