Bamboo Blank Adhesives
Bamboo Blank Adhesive Options – A Particularly Brief Ramble
Regarding adhesives: we don’t sell any adhesives for gluing up bamboo blanks. A long while back we sold blank adhesives, but we learned the hard way that any delamination could wind up costing the company a good client, despite blank adhesives being a product we had no control over after they left the shop, i.e., storage conditions, usage past expiration, application technique, cure temps, etc. Blank adhesives were a low dollar, low margin product with very expensive ramifications. Guys can handle cutting off a few wraps that went sour, re-wrapping & re-varnishing; but when a blank delams, sane fellows blow their gourd. Not being copraphages, we don’t need that sort of mess on our plates. We offer no usage advice except this: follow the instructions of the adhesive manufacturer because they have a vested interest in your success and their usage advice is tested over both time and a myriad of applications. This said, we don’t mind sharing current sources. Here are two highly recommended products that you can easily find:
1) Aerodux Resorcinol Adhesive. Here’s one source: http://www.cpadhesives.com/woodworking-adhesives/dyn-185-aerodux-resorcinol-resin-kit-1-gallon-bottle . Pretty sure this one is also available on Amazon. Bear in mind that while resorcinol is probably the very best of the traditional rodmaking adhesives, it does leave a dark glue line. This is what we like to call an “artifact of process”….just like bright crescent toes on dark snake guide feet show proof that you worked those feet to perfection prior to wrapping, the deep red/brown glue lines left by resorcinol show you chose the strongest, most durable traditional adhesive and, if your planing is darn near perfect, the slim, even, glue lines actually highlight your skill with a handplane.
2) Urea Resin Adhesive. Here’s one source: https://www.vacupress.com/product/unibond-800-12-gallon-liquid-resin/ . This Unibond is one of the latest versions of the traditional urea formaldehyde adhesives which leave a tan/blond glue line – essentially invisible if your planing is good.
Also, while we have no personal experience with using this adhesive for rods (just bows), we’ve heard that some makers are experimenting successfully with the Smooth-On laminating epoxies formulated for making custom bows. Here’s a link: http://binghamprojects.com/proddetail.php?prod=4063 .
Once you have your blank glued up and you’re ready to mount components ranging from ferrules, to grips, to seats, we use, sell, and strongly recommend U-40 Rod Bond.
That’s it for now. Good luck & have fun!!
If you opt to glue up using traditional adhesives, be sure to pick up a few of our Bridled Glue Brushes. They’re the perfect tool for the job!
Steve B. asked if I had other tips related to gluing…here’s that blurb (which mentions the bamboo roller):
As for other post-glue up advice, two things immediately come to mind. After you’ve bound your sections and carefully wiped off the bulk of the squeeze-out, you want to straighten the blank as much as possible before the adhesive cures…this will save you hours of straightening later. 1) Use a bamboo roller and gently, but firmly, work down each flat while the blank is laid out on a level bench surface. 2) Make a curing board…sheet of heavy, smooth (finish) plywood…use a large drywall square and set out a series of perfectly parallel lines using an indelible marker, at least an inch apart…further apart if you have space because a few inches on either side of every parallel line makes your life easier. Mount the curing board to a wall in your shop. Immediately after the blank has been rolled out, pick one flat and tape it to the curing board over top one of the lines…add two pieces of low-tack painter’s tape, creating an X, every few inches, always ensuring the same flat is facing up when you tape. Cure for a day. This process ensures that there is no slow twist over the length of the blank sections, and it helps to eliminate bowing over the length, too. In the GW shop, we originally hung the sections to cure after rolling, and that worked well enough…the weight of the sections mostly prevents bowing (and some makers will dangle a weight from the sections as an additional aid to keeping them straight while curing), but this method didn’t mitigate against the slow twist from one end to the other the way the curing board does. Bear in mind, you will ALWAYS have to do some heat straightening after the adhesive cures. The two steps mentioned here just help to minimize the time and hassle.
Once you’re glued up, and ready to straighten, you’ll need to decide between an alcohol lamp and a heat gun. Most makers use the latter; I prefer the former…but perhaps only because that’s how Mr. Whitehead taught me to work (in silence).
Don’t forget the bamboo scrapers. These are my favorite little tools for removing enamel and cured adhesive (that is, the very small amount of adhesive you didn’t get cleaned off the blanks before you set them aside to cure). You’ll wonder how you lived without these things. Careful…scrape, don’t cut as move down the flats. Don’t round your corners. Keep the flats flat and the corners sharp. And don’t cut yourself, either. New, these tools are quite sharp in spite of the 60* angle that creates each working edge. As I type this, I’m nursing a wounded finger tip, having cut myself on a scraper while packing it up to ship.