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Adhesive for shell inlay


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What do you guys use - epoxy or CA glue. I have an excellent video on inlay by Larry Robinson in which he says he uses CA glue for pretty much everything.

I was talking with a jeweler about this and he recommended epoxy instead. He may have made this suggestion since we were talking about inlaying silver not shell but it made me wonder if epoxy would be better for shell also?

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I prefer CA purely because it dries completely hard. If you use epoxy, 9 times out of 10 it doesn't completely cure whick leads to problems when polishing and buffing. plus it softens with heat

I can honestly say that in all my years of using epoxy in modelling, inlays, or whatever I have NEVER had it not dry hard unless you either have a bad batch, or you mix it incorrectly. I prefer the NHP or west systems brands though if you buy west systems you better need alot because I have never seen it in small amounts. Also, the temperature needs to be at least 20C to cure properly. It will eventually cure but it takes longer. I like the epoxy because you can mix shell dust, crushed shell, or whatever in it for fine inlay lines, matching old dot holes to the wood color needed etc. CA is ok for small work, but I prefer epoxy for all inlay uses.

CA can be affected by heat as well for what it's worth :D but epoxy does soften with heat, which actually can be beneficial sometimes. When CA cures it does so with intense heat which can damage some plastics or leave fog spots. Also, the accelerator in CA will damage many plastics, specifically celluloid's and when using the accelerator you can end up with many air bubbles in the cured glue.

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CA is not as strong a bond as Epoxy, it relies on penetrating into the surface of the materials it's gluing. It dries to a much more brittle state than epoxy but it's not meant to be used to fill gaps where strength is needed. Having said that, it's a wonderful glue, I use both frequently in modeling, but for strong joints, or load bearing, I use epoxy everytime. They both have their places, for inlay, I feel that epoxy is a far better adhesive.

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I have been using CA just like Larry (and no- he does not endorse any specific brand)

However I have started to experiment with epoxies.

Pros of CA is-

1) Can be gotten in very, very thin forms where every space will be guaranteed to recieve glue.

2) Dries clear.

3) Dries hard if allowed to.

4) Few if any bubble form when you are using the stew-mac thin variety.

5) Mixing ebony dust with CA looks more like natural wood than straight epoxy does, and blends the inlay into the wood nicer (in my opinion).

Now a few cons-

Biggest for me is it shrinks a lot in some cases, leaving the gap around the inlay lower than the inlay itself. Just adding a little more helps, but I am annoyed enough by this to want to change. Also CA doesn't hold totally well to black or gold pearl.

Two of my favorite inlay artists both use either CA or epoxy. Either of thier work is the best in the world. Try both, and see which you prefer.

Craig Lavin

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Ok though so! thanks! yeh i ve used " stew macs "crazy glue" for inlays, it works but like clavin sayed it does shrink. so i need to start using something else, ive also used two part epoxies but the ones ive used are always to soft after they are dry. how are stew macs epoxies? ar what would be a good brand to buy and where?

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