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A week ago, in a report from AWFS, our boss Kevin Ireland reported on a new instant adhesive, Nexabond 2500 Instant Wood Adhesive. It won an Innovation Award at AWFS and it’s worth a look. It’s made just down the road from us in Loveland, Ohio and the other day I had a chance to use it.

350I’m working on a hanging tool cabinet for our December issue, and the cabinet has a lot of little drawers. That means there are a lot of little drawer dividers. For appearance sake, I don’t want end grain to show on the exposed edge of this 1/4″ thick, 2″ wide maple divider. So I needed to attach a small block to the end with the grain running at a right angle. Both parts are trapped in dados top and bottom so they really can’t go anywhere. I made a tongue and groove joint on the first one and decided that wasn’t worth the trouble. But I felt guilty about not attaching the two pieces somehow.

351Nexabond is similar to other instant glues, it is a cyanoacrylate. But there is a major difference between this and other “super” or “crazy” glues; Nexabond is made without water or solvents. That change makes a big difference because the action of the adhesive is no longer dependent on humidity or temperature. It’s a thicker formulation and the manufacturer claims greater strength than most of the glues traditionally used for woodworking. More Information about the product is available from the company website.

353I layed down a bead of the adhesive on the end grain of the vertical piece, put the cross-grain piece in place and pushed gently down for about 15 seconds. I walked away for a minute and wasn’t able to break the joint apart. Nexabond is too expensive to use for everything, and for most woodworking applications it may work too fast, but I think it’s a huge improvement over traditional instant glues. I plan on keeping a bottle handy for uses like this.

Nexabond is available directly from the manufacturer and will likely be available in the near future from other outlets.

– Robert W. Lang

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Showing 9 comments
  • ondablade

    Hi Adam and Robert, thanks for coming back on Nexabond.

    Pardon if i came across as a little sceptical, but I was in the industry for a while and saw many pretty basic reformulations passed off as innovative new products when they were no such thing.

    I’m no chemist, and am well out of date on CAs – but the difficulty tends to be that the properties of a polymerising adhesive are typically determined by the characteristics of the cured polymer. It’s often possible to adjust these a little during formulation, but within pretty tight limits. So if it’s hairy, wags it’s tail, drools and goes woof then it’s probably a dog…

    It’d help a lot if there was more information on the table. As in is it (for example) a surface insensitive like the Loctite 401 product (presumably so if no activator is needed?), and if so what specifically makes it different to a more generic CA?

    It’s priced more or less the same (?) as most other CAs, so claims for economy would depend on it being possible to use much less.

    The trouble in using adhesives in woodworking is that the devil is always in the detail.

    It’s hard not to think of the damage done to moisture curing liquid PUs when they were offered (oversold?) as a universal woodworking glue. They are excellent adhesives with some unique properties that make them indispensable in certain situations and capable of use in most, but have their own strengths and weaknesses. Used without regard for these (e.g. with low clamping forces, or asked to gap fill) they can prove very problematical indeed.

    As before brittleness and rigidity relative to wood could be isues with more widespread use of CAs unless something pretty magic has been done in formulation – especially since wood moves so much and tends to apply cyclical loadings. Stuff like water resistance, gap filling, fatigue resistance, brittleness, shelf life and variable cure speeds (depending on the surface chemistry and amount of moisture about) are all potential constraints.

    A potentially major issue is the likelihood that a CA may if spread over a fairly large surface area start to polymerise before assembly if the joint is not very quickly clamped up/assembled – it’s as you know the film of moisture on the surface that normally kicks off the cure. With the result that a film of cured material may insert itself into the joint to mess up fits – one reason perhaps why CA has so far mostly been offered for small area woodworking applications like mitre bonding?

    Speed of cure is potentially worth paying a premium for in production woodworking applications, but too short an open time may e.g. preclude the use of a CA in many cabinet making tasks requiring careful alignment and positioning of parts. I already use quite a lot of CA in my woodworking – the ability to almost instantly bond without the need for clamps makes it very convenient in lots of situations – but there’s lots more where it’s just not usable.

    None of this is to say that a carefully formulated CA – especially if it comes with some genuinely novel properties and methods of use – can’t find a much wider range of uses in e.g. cabinet making than has so far been the case.

    A comprehensive woodworking user manual might sidetsep some the possibility of some of us crusty old woodworkers trying to use it the way we’ve always used whatever goop we’re used to….

  • ondablade

    Hi Robert. Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but what’s the difference between that product and any other cyanoacrylate? There’s despite the attempt to suggest there’s something special about it nothing in the data sheet to suggest there is any.

    CAs don’t have water or solvent in them anyway – mostly just the monomer and the cure system.

    I’m a out of date on the industry, but we’ve in recent years started to see CAs offered for use in woodworking. Typically as ‘mitre’ bonding adhesives – presumably because the stuff is not very usuable on many joint layouts. The ones we get over here use an activator.

    These products have been around for years. There have been a number of basic barriers to their use in woodworking: (1) the cured polymer is of its nature very brittle and doesn’t do well on shock loadings (although wood adhesives don’t need to be all that strong), (b) it’s tended to be too expensive and specialist for use in the sort of volumes required for woodworking, (c) more basic CAs tend not to cure very well on wood because of its slight acidity, and (d) they are not all that suitable for use in most woodworking joint configurations. Also (e) they don’t gap fill without an activator, and even then the brittleness is an issue.

    The ‘mitre bonding adhesives being sold over here use an aerosol activator to get over the curing issue (this one if activators are not recommended may possibly use of of the so called surface insensitive systems originally associated with the Loctite CA product) – but the key enabler i suspect is mostly that the price has dropped enough for it to have become possible for commodity construction product manufacturers to offer it at prices that make sense for this sort of use.

    While they do have disadvantages, much like other adhesive types there clearly will be niche applications in woodworking where the rapid cure and other properties make CAs useful – but unless something has fundamentally changed they don’t seem likely candidates for general use…

  • Ron 1

    Since you have slopped it all over the lower piece…how is it for clean-up?

  • malofsky

    Adam again – our store now has all the technical data sheets as well Safety Data Sheets!

  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    This could be a real help. I will be interested in seeing more real-world tests of it.

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