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First Balsa Build - Glue Choices

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Thomas Gooderham02/10/2018 15:56:45
23 forum posts
2 photos

HI All,

So Finally my First Balsa build kit has turned up (BB Mini Super).

Thanks for all so far for their comments and input into a ideal first build (See my other thread)

So have been reading around about the different Glues to use in building this up.. It appears there are a few choices,

- Traditional wood glue

- Traditional Balsa Cement

- CA glue (+ Activator)

- Gorrilla glue (The stuff that can expand to a foam consistancy)

My question - What does everyone use? Why? What would be a good glue to use as a beginner?



Denis Watkins02/10/2018 16:04:14
4077 forum posts
76 photos

Check out Aliphatic Glue Tom


Cuban802/10/2018 16:06:05
2836 forum posts
1 photos

I tend to use CA wherever I can (avoid activator ) but obviously there will be a few areas where PVA or epoxy will be more suitable. AS a beginner, perhaps PVA is the way to go for now, I used it for years until quite recently. I have tried aliphatic adhesive, grabs well,  but other than that, I don't find much of an advantage over std wood glues.

Edited By Cuban8 on 02/10/2018 16:09:28

Bob Cotsford02/10/2018 16:14:53
8152 forum posts
449 photos

My choice would be Evostick Resin W PVA in the blue bottle. Some will sat that it's hard to sand where needed but I've never found it to be a problem and the fact that it retains a degree of flex means joints are more resilient. Balsa glue belongs in the past and Gorilla Glue can be very messy, the expansion opening joints up if you don't clamp them. CA has it's uses but isn't very forgiving. My advice is definitely go with a white wood glue, preferably a branded one.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator02/10/2018 16:19:08
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

Thomas, this is far from being the most effective or efficient way of doing this!

Simply enter the word "glue" in the search box above and you will have everythng you need to know - over 120 threads dedicated exclusively to glue! Evertype, every use.


Nigel R02/10/2018 16:36:04
3405 forum posts
524 photos

Almost all of my building is standard PVA or cyano.

PVA works well for almost every application you'll come across in a traditional wood build. Cheap, available all over the place, Evostik Resin W is good, plenty of working time while you set things up, the overnight cure means any mistakes can be fixed before things are joined together.

Cyano is useful, I do a lot with cyano, but you do have to get your joints spot on and there is no second chance. Activator is pointless - the stuff goes off in seconds anyway.

Cyano is also absolutely superb at fixing your left hand to bits of balsa whilst you apply it with the right, or if you get really lucky, you can actually attach both hands simultaneously and quite permanently to something delicate and wooden, which will require destructive removal before you regain the individual use of all ten digits.

kc02/10/2018 18:20:11
6215 forum posts
169 photos

Evostik Wood Glue ( Resin W is in tiny print on the current bottles ) in either the green bottle or blue bottle ( waterproof) is fine. Shop around as prices vary enormously from shop to shop and larger sizes are more economical although the large bottle is a bit clumsy for small work.

A simple test piece of two scraps of wood will easily tell you that Resin W is stronger than the wood if left to dry for 24 hours.

Dave Hess02/10/2018 19:07:45
303 forum posts
18 photos

For a built up structure like the Mini Super, I use Poundland CA - the stuff that comes in little plastic bottles, not the tubes. Cover the plan with clingfilm or, if you can find one, one of those glue-proof sheets that are specially for the job. Pin everything in place, then put a drop of the CA on each joint. There's no need for activator because balsa has it's own built in activator. Sometimes you can hear it fizzing.

You can also use the white PVA or even the yellow waterproof PVA. They take a bit longer to dry, but they're easily strong enough; however, it's not so easy to sand when you get it where you don't want it.

Balsa cement also works quite well, and it has the advantage of that lovely smell that gets your head spinning if you don't have enough ventilation.

Out of each of those, I prefer the Poundland CA because it's very quick and strong.

One word of warning: If you have a smartphone with finger-print recognition to unlock it, you might want to disable that before you start because it doesn't work so well when you have CA all over your finger tip. CA isn't so easy and probably not so good on large surfaces, like when you have to glue blocks, so I use PVA for those.

Edited By Dave Hess on 02/10/2018 19:12:21

Robin Etherton02/10/2018 19:16:50
272 forum posts
41 photos


Balsa glue belongs to the past?!

Wash your mouth out with soap and water.

The biggest tube of uhu hart in the blue tube you can get, loverly.

Another vote for Poundland ca too for a quick build.


Percy Verance02/10/2018 19:39:01
8108 forum posts
155 photos


Give aliphatic ( I use Titebond) a go. It dries hard and as a result is easier to sand. I've also read an article from the US written by a guy who tested joints made with both PVA and Aliphatic, and the latter gave several times the bond strength....... And Aliphatic doesn't have any of the slight *rubberiness* of dried PVA, plus it dries quicker too.


Edited By Percy Verance on 02/10/2018 19:41:12

DaveyP02/10/2018 20:44:21
206 forum posts
47 photos

Another vote for Titebond Aliphatic thumbs up

John Stainforth02/10/2018 21:55:54
324 forum posts
39 photos

CA is slightly tricky. It has a habit of either setting instantaneously or taking longer than one would like to set (I don't use activator), although it never fails to glue skin together immediately - so it is useful also for first aid, should one slice oneself with a modelling knife!

I often use aliphatic and CA together, although not at the same locations. I use the aliphatic to give me a bit of maneuvering time and CA to quickly tack parts together instead of using pins. I usually do this when sheeting: I put aliphatic on spars, ribs and longerons, tack down the starting edge of the sheeting with CA, wrap the sheet over the underlying structure, which is coated with aliphatic, and then put CA along the finishing edge.

Edited By John Stainforth on 02/10/2018 21:56:44

Percy Verance03/10/2018 06:33:54
8108 forum posts
155 photos

I can't say I've ever been a huge CA fan John. It does stick well, but the resulting joints tend to be brittle. It's best application seems (to me) to be for the Elapor foamies I've assembled for new flyers. I do use it, but it isn't the first glue I usually reach for.......

Edited By Percy Verance on 03/10/2018 06:34:40

Rick Tee03/10/2018 07:17:57
297 forum posts
20 photos

PVA and epoxy here, I buy 4litre can of builders exterior PVA from a builders merchants, decant into a squeezy bottle that once contained PVA. Hot glue is great for holding things in place while they set as it's easy to peal off after. Epoxy for areas likely to be under high stress like firewalls and U/C mounts.

Edited By Rick Tee on 03/10/2018 07:29:01

Peter Miller03/10/2018 08:16:26
10522 forum posts
1246 photos
10 articles

De Luxe Products Aliphatic Resin. For most building. IT is gap filling and sands well.

CA for a few jobs such as repairing a piece that has broken during building. Also for gluing CA hinges.

5 minute epoxy was also useful for some jobs but not essential.

Canopy glue for sticking windows on.

Bob Cotsford03/10/2018 12:40:13
8152 forum posts
449 photos
Posted by Robin Etherton on 02/10/2018 19:16:50:


Balsa glue belongs to the past?!

Wash your mouth out with soap and water.

The biggest tube of uhu hart in the blue tube you can get, loverly.



It's best use would be to spread a bead of it along a strip of plastic which should be placed to one side of the build area in order to create that sweet nostalgic fragrance of old-time building from when all we had was a broken razor blade to work withdevil

Chris Walby03/10/2018 12:44:58
1073 forum posts
256 photos

Another vote for Titebond... the most things I glue together with CA is my fingers + making a mess of coverings when it tracks along joints/seams crying

Former Member03/10/2018 13:52:59
724 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

ChrisB03/10/2018 13:55:33
1220 forum posts
34 photos

Gorilla Glue: white glue. It’s a type of PVA and is very good! I’d never use anything else. Dries in a good time as well.

Martin McIntosh03/10/2018 14:06:48
3083 forum posts
1119 photos

` Stick` with only the best quality c.a. you can get, i.e. ZAP, Rocket, or even HK Gold, plus Tite Bond and epoxy. PVA has its uses but not for general building, as you would soon find out when trying to sand the stuff. Aliphatic also sets much quicker.

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