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Epoxies, Adhesives, and Glues

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I'd like to gather a list of all the good/heavy duty epoxies and glues/adhesives that artists use on their ceramics and other sculptures/artwork. If possible, can you provide the name of the product, where someone can buy it, the types of surfaces/materials you were bonding, how well it holds/held, and overall impressions?



In our studio I always tell students not to buy a one-part adhesive for gluing their sculptures together - this is because they are weak and don't make good structural bonds. Sometimes they can be useful when getting two objects fused temporarily, while using a long-cure epoxy. I explain that they want a 2-part epoxy since you have a resin and catalyst to form a chemical bond - which generally forms some of the strongest bonds without welding or fusing the objects with heat. I also explain that the clear epoxies tend to be weaker compared to opaque epoxies, and that the slower it cures the stronger it usually bonds.


We are a big fan of the PC product line and favor PC-7 and PC-11 for critical structural bonds. Usually, the bond is stronger than the clay and when/if you break it there will be clay or glaze stuck to the epoxy proving the clay/glaze breaks first. I just read on the PC website they have a PC Super Epoxy "syringe-type" adhesive that seems legit since it has similar testing strength to the PC7 - I've never seen it on the shelf before but I might have to find some to test. We buy PC products at ACE Hardware - never seen it at any of the big-box Orange/Blue stores.


I've seen students use a plethora of different adhesives and have seen first hand how well some do/don't do what they are purposed for. There are some 2-part "syringe" epoxies seem to hold just OK but usually not so great since they are mostly the clear variety (LocTite brand for example). Things like Gorilla Glue are a joke, not to mention are a PITA in terms of how messy it gets once the glue foams up when reacting with moisture in the air. JB Weld can sometimes work, but it really depends - and the 24hr version is superior in strength. Liquid Nails/construction adhesives don't really work well either unless you're laminating something on a horizontal plane and use a lot of it. I have seen some people have good results with E6000, but the problem with this stuff is the flexibility. 100% silicone works pretty well for sticking to glazed surfaces and is relatively inexpensive - but doesn't apply to every situation. Some students try to come in with Krazy/Super Glue or even hot-glue and I just laugh - chewed bubble gum probably holds better on ceramics.



Side note - I've found one of my preferred "temporary" bonds that can be added to ceramics is "poster putty" or wall tack/museum wax. The stuff works VERY well when placed between the adjoining parts of a piece built in sections and needs to come apart later - works great for eliminating wobbles instead of using shims when the section doesn't quite mate up like you intended. Usually, we'll just roll it in a coil or place pea-size balls where they need to be, and use it like a gasket. I've even held 2-3# ceramic objects on a vertical surface with a marble-size wad of it as a test - held for several days until I removed it (don't recommend for anything you care about falling to the ground smile.gif) Can be purchased at any office supplier and is very inexpensive - and can be reused!

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I discovered double sided carpet tape the thicker kind by accident, I had a 2-part sculpture at a show at a big arena downtown. When we were setting it up they told us we had to tape it so it would move or tip. My husband ran out and bought the carpet tape, we taped the top to the bottom and then the hole thing to the stand. When the show was over we could get the tape off of the stand but couldn't get it apart. Which made it larger an heavier and hard to move, I still have that sculpture and still can't get it apart. You can buy carpet tape at any hardware store, I think the tape we used was about one sixteenth inch thick the paper thin tape probably wouldn't work. Denice

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I used to use the two part needle type epoxies for years.

That was then this now-The past 10 years its been (drum roll)

its now 99.9% JB wield the quick set -ace hardwares or most other retails carry them. The slow set is a bit runny and does come in handy when you need to get into cracks but the fast set is about 4 minutes and is my go to most of the time. You mix them on a piece of cardboard ( I use a plastic handle from say a spoon or fork). It sets dark and if you want grey cut it off with a sharp single edge razor for a grey line

but wait theres more-

This stuff has ripped the high fire glaze off of porcelain in a test-I was amazed . I now use it on just about any material.Clay glaze wood metal whatever you need to glue. This is not a flexible glue. It can take some low heat as well.

When its 100% absolutely needs to be strong water proof and never come loose JB wield is the ticket-

Bamboo steamer NOT included


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