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Durability of Cyanoacrylate (CA) Finish

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by redsquid2, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. redsquid2

    redsquid2 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 31, 2011
    I don't think I ever applied CA. How does it hold up to the mess of quartering and dressing game, and preparing all kinds of foods? How does it hold up in a dishwasher?

    What woods are appropriate for this finish? What woods are not?

    Thanks for feedback.

  2. Lieblad


    Jul 24, 2015
    Dishwasher ??
    That will kill any wooden handled tool.

    Stabilised wood, maybe not so bad.
    But wood with just a surface coating, wont last long thru a dishwasher.
  3. tim37a


    May 18, 2010
    If you run a knife thru a dishwasher, the chances are the epoxy holding the scales on will be softened and ruined. Most commercial grade epoxies are only rated to about 250 - 300 degrees f and dishwashers may exceed that temp during a hi temp wash or dry cycle.
  4. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    Dishwashers exceed the boiling point of water?
  5. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    CA is for temporary tack joints and for sealing small gaps and pits in wood. Otherwise, it is a poor handle finish or glue on anything but a show queen.
  6. LARRYZ10

    LARRYZ10 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 6, 2010
    No knife deserves to be put in a dishwasher...even the one you cut rubber hose with. Larry
  7. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    with there drying cycle they do
  8. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    I don't have one. I didn't realize that.
  9. Fish30114

    Fish30114 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    I will disagree with those that are poo pooing the CA as a finish, I have a LOT of experience with CA finish on Pens that I make and I actually ran one made from Cocobolo wood with a CA finish through the washing machine a couple of times, and the finish held up beautifully. Now a washing machine might not be a dishwasher, but In my experience a fully done (multiple coats) CA finish has proven very durable and attractive.
    I have done several knives out of exotic wood with a CA finish for folks liking a high gloss finish. When put on thoroughly CA is effectively a thin synthetic coating that is very tough and durable. There have been a lot of improvements in CA over the last few years, and there are even more flexible CA's that are made in different viscosity's and designed for multi layer finishes, there is even a CA specific polish for buffing up a CA finish to a brilliant shine.
    Pens with wood I've done a CA finish on which worked super well, include, Maple, Bloodheart, Walnut, Black Walnut, Ironwood, Cocobolo, Ambrosia/Spalted maple, Mulberry, Zircote, Zebrawood, Bocote, Leopardwood, Teak, Koa, Bubinga, Goncalvo Alves (Tigerwood), Ipe and Rosewood. A pen is a often handled item, that sees extreme temps (think car interior) and constant use, and I've had no complaints at all in many years on all of the pens (hundreds) that I've done CA finishes on.
    Bottom line, don't write it off to quickly.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  10. Neko2

    Neko2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 18, 2003
    Nice post Fish!
    It's nice to hear from someone who uses CA quite a bit.
  11. Boston_Strong


    Jul 7, 2016
    Really stupid question I'm sure, but are y'all talking about a superglue finish?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  12. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    yes ca=super glue
  13. milkbaby


    Aug 1, 2016
    Fish, would you be willing to share some of the details of how you do your CA finish? Do you use the watery 1 second curing CA or the thicker slower curing CA? Also, I'm assuming you wet sand it in? How many coats? Do you use the activator or instant cure spray?

    The other day I put some runny CA along vulcanized fiber liners and spacers to help seal them and when I hit it with the instant cure spray, the drips that went to the bottom of the handle made a rock hard bump of CA that took some elbow grease to sand away. It makes me wonder if it's better for some woods than others based on how much it soaks in. I have a lot of unstabilized woods that I like and want to use and wonder if CA finish is better than what I've been doing which is tung oil varnish finish (Watco tung oil finish, not real 100% tung oil) with paste wax on top.
  14. golfer1


    Nov 24, 2016
    CA is to dangerous to the breathing department for me. Can/will cause lung problems and more if breathed long enough [which isn't that long] and the results do not go away. I prefer to use a finish that is safer.
  15. HSC ///

    HSC /// KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 7, 2012
    our Thermador with PowerBoost goes to 160 F
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  16. Wulf


    May 10, 2000
    Really? A dishwasher that tempers blades while it washes them? I want one. Please tell me where I can find one
  17. Mahoney


    Mar 8, 2006
    My experience with super glue and the instant cure spray is that the CA material will become brittle and the bond will fail in a few years. I don't know if this has been fixed with more modern cyanoacrylate formulations, but I've seen it happen a lot with different brands of CA over the years, so I don't use the accelerator spray on anything that needs to last longer than a year.
  18. john april

    john april KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 27, 2006
    hmmm. SR johnson uses CA with accelerator for his scales. you can see it in his video. i wonder if he is aware of this.
  19. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Dishwasher + knife = bad. Recently re built this old kitchen knife for a customer:


    Many of my customers are some of the best about using and abusing. Working cowboys and professional hunting guides can be tough on stuff, although the cowboys tend to be tougher on things. I've found over the years the best wood finish is already on the wood. While I've expermimented with about every wood finish there is, including CA, seems hard to beat cocobolo, ironwood or something similar that came with the finish inside for pure durability.
  20. nateman_doo


    Sep 16, 2015
    I made some stabilized burl wood rings in the past, and coated them with CA type glues.

    It can get super shiny when buffed, but after a few weeks it starts to wear off. The good news, is that you can simply pick it off, and re-coat it. Lather, rinse, repeat as often as you like.

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