Tag Archives: glass bonding

High Clarity UV Adhesives for Garden Art

Garden art is best described as turning miscellaneous pieces of glass, ceramic, wine bottles, pressed glass, sea glass and metal into an indoor or outdoor sculpture. The real challenge is in building the sculpture with different pieces that were never designed to go together in the first place.

Some important things to keep in mind while planning and working on your garden art project:

1.  Key design considerations for long lasting sculptures:

  • Avoid tangent and point contact between pieces – make sure there is flat to flat contact between components – the more the better.
  • A roughened surface (abraded or sand blasted) will improve performance of the adhesive bond.
  • Avoid cantilevered designs that put the adhesive joint in cleavage or peel.
  • If the design is outdoors, the glue joints chosen should shed water rather than hold water.

2.  Pay attention to construction techniques:

          • As we mentioned in our most recent blog entry, “Surface Concerns: Anything But Superficial” – cleanliness is really important. Be sure to clean all components with isopropyl alcohol and make sure the surface is dry before applying adhesive.
  • Be sure you don’t move components prior to hard fixturing as this will compromise performance.
  • Wherever possible, apply adhesive in a horizontal position and fixture in the same position.
  • Flatten rounded edges that will receive adhesive – use a belt sander or silicon carbide paper – and always clean after sanding. Dremel® type tools can also be used to roughen surfaces.
  • Attention to detail is important – don’t skip steps in part preparation and fixturing.

3.  Understand how to ensure the fixture is cured:

  • Establish fixture time using the materials you plan to use to build the structure.
  • To determine how long it takes to cure, use the “Rule of 5”: once there is fixture between the pieces, continue to hold the light source on the area for 5 times the amount of time it took you to achieve that initial fixture. Remember, longer is better and won’t affect performance as long as you aren’t using a high powered lamp.
  • For colored glass, make sure the glass doesn’t block the light energy needed to cure the adhesive.
  • Take the time to frequently make sure your light source is properly functioning – establish a benchmark fixture test and use it on a regular basis to validate cure times.

4.  Important safety considerations to remember:

  • Most adhesives are mild skin sensitizers, so be sure to throw away used gloves.
  • Adhesives have an odor, so work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Never look at a UV light source without wearing protective eyewear.

Please feel free to contact us at any point if you have questions about handling these materials and remember:  the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.

Good Gluing!

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Minding the gaps: Using glue to fill in for missing glass shards or splinters

We’ve talked in recent posts about using glue to assemble or repair items used outdoors, where water resistance and durability are critical. This post addresses a situation that’s common both indoors and out, but in keeping with our summertime theme imagine this:

You’re gathered with friends for a backyard dinner party, enjoying some wine as you work the barbecue, when your heirloom glass slips off the grill’s side shelf, hits the grass, and snaps at the neck. You collect the two pieces of the glass, but when you fit them together, you see that a few shards are missing, leaving noticeable gaps at the joint.

Don’t worry. This problem can be addressed with some judicious gluing. Grab another glass, enjoy your evening, and make your repair after your guests have gone.

Clean both pieces of glass with isopropyl alcohol and let them dry thoroughly.

Apply a UV-cured adhesive AP-18 and join the pieces at the break. Expose to a UV lamp to cure the bond, without cleaning up any glue that squeezes out of the joint into the areas where shards are missing.

Use a syringe applicator to place more uncured glue in the remaining gaps, overfilling them slightly.

Lay a piece of clear polyethylene or Mylar film over the wet glue, to make its surface flush with surface(s) of the surrounding glass. Hold the film in place and expose to UV-A light to cure. (About 2 minutes using a 40 watt UV-A florescent black light.)

Peel away the plastic film and wet sand the repair with silicone oxide abrasive in successive grades of 800, 1600 and 2400 grit.

A final, wet polish with a cerium oxide pad or slurry will fully restore gloss.

This technique is applicable to a variety of items, not just stemware. And of course, it works indoors and out, winter and summer, a tip for all seasons.

Good Gluing!

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How to establish fixture time video tutorial

Chuck demonstrates how to establish Fixture Time for the material
using UV curing adhesive on glass plates.

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