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  #1  
Old 11-29-2015, 11:29 AM
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sandman sandman is offline
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Default Hardening and sealing a balsa nose cone

This is just my take on glues and fillers.
This is primarily concerning balsa, basswood or plywood.

In the "other" forum I believe they have lost their way on some simple construction techniques especially on glues and adhesives and I'm afraid it's creeping over here.

Thin CA, thick CA, yellow glues, other wood glues and let's not forget epoxy. All of those products except some of the yellow glues have an impact on our individual health.

For fillers, Bondo, wood hardener, thin CA , epoxy coats even drywall spackle are used to fill balsa pores.

Those fillers/sealers are especially difficult to sand and get smooth. CA on a nose cone works but what a pain to sand and the smell...!

Yes, I am old school.

I use almost exclusively Elmer's white glue. I started using it from my beginning in my hobby career in 1961 and nothing but.

The double glue and pin hole rivets method of attaching fins with Elmer's works so well I see no point in changing my technique.

When my fins are attached and the Elmer's joint is dry I get out a dedicated "glue brush" marked "GLUE ONLY" to coat both sides of each fin and at least one coat on the nose cone.

I use Elmer's straight out of the bottle, undiluted.

A bit of brushing evens it out on the nose cone and on the fins an old credit card smooths off the glue on the fins.

I never had any warping on my fins as long as the Elmer's is applied after the fin is glued onto the model.

The Elmer's soaks in and seals the wood bonding into the wood, not just on the surface.
A very light sanding with 220 grit knocks the raised knap(sp) of the wood and is the final prep for paint.

This does not hide the wood grain but seals it completely so that the first coat of paint or primer bonds right to the glue and doesn't just get soaked up by the balsa.

Balsa can really drink up a lot of paint! The Elmer's stops that.

Maybe two coats of filler primer and the grain almost disappears.

I know Elmer's is "old fashion" but it's cheap (can't think of any glue that's cheaper) available **** near anywhere. It usually goes on sale before school starts (OK, DON'T use Elmer's School Glue!), absolutely non toxic, easy water clean up. As long as the tip is cleaned and closed when finished it has a great shelf life.

You know the Elmer's hasn't gone hard on you.
Reopening a tube of super glue is a crap shoot. Is it hard? Is it clogged?
Maybe if I just squeeze the tube a bit harder...OH crap...where's the acetone?

Actually pealing dried Elmer's off my fingers always use to gross out my daughter...as a dad you just love that part.

Stop using super glue to seal your fins and nose cones!

That just cannot be good for you.
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2015, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman
This is just my take on glues and fillers.
This is primarily concerning balsa, basswood or plywood.

In the "other" forum I believe they have lost their way on some simple construction techniques especially on glues and adhesives and I'm afraid it's creeping over here.

Thin CA, thick CA, yellow glues, other wood glues and let's not forget epoxy. All of those products except some of the yellow glues have an impact on our individual health.

For fillers, Bondo, wood hardener, thin CA , epoxy coats even drywall spackle are used to fill balsa pores.

Those fillers/sealers are especially difficult to sand and get smooth. CA on a nose cone works but what a pain to sand and the smell...!

Yes, I am old school.

I use almost exclusively Elmer's white glue. I started using it from my beginning in my hobby career in 1961 and nothing but.

The double glue and pin hole rivets method of attaching fins with Elmer's works so well I see no point in changing my technique.

When my fins are attached and the Elmer's joint is dry I get out a dedicated "glue brush" marked "GLUE ONLY" to coat both sides of each fin and at least one coat on the nose cone.

I use Elmer's straight out of the bottle, undiluted.

A bit of brushing evens it out on the nose cone and on the fins an old credit card smooths off the glue on the fins.

I never had any warping on my fins as long as the Elmer's is applied after the fin is glued onto the model.

The Elmer's soaks in and seals the wood bonding into the wood, not just on the surface.
A very light sanding with 220 grit knocks the raised knap(sp) of the wood and is the final prep for paint.

This does not hide the wood grain but seals it completely so that the first coat of paint or primer bonds right to the glue and doesn't just get soaked up by the balsa.

Balsa can really drink up a lot of paint! The Elmer's stops that.

Maybe two coats of filler primer and the grain almost disappears.

I know Elmer's is "old fashion" but it's cheap (can't think of any glue that's cheaper) available **** near anywhere. It usually goes on sale before school starts (OK, DON'T use Elmer's School Glue!), absolutely non toxic, easy water clean up. As long as the tip is cleaned and closed when finished it has a great shelf life.

You know the Elmer's hasn't gone hard on you.
Reopening a tube of super glue is a crap shoot. Is it hard? Is it clogged?
Maybe if I just squeeze the tube a bit harder...OH crap...where's the acetone?

Actually pealing dried Elmer's off my fingers always use to gross out my daughter...as a dad you just love that part.

Stop using super glue to seal your fins and nose cones!

That just cannot be good for you.


Great post, Gordy! Thank you.
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2015, 12:21 PM
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Great post!!! I'll have to try it. Can't get any easier than that. Thanks!!!
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2015, 12:27 PM
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sandman sandman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonzero2
Great post!!! I'll have to try it. Can't get any easier than that. Thanks!!!


Basically I've been using this technique for over 50 years (OH MY GOD!!! ) and it still works.

They did change Elmer's formula a bit I think some time in the 1970's or 80's so it doesn't smell like sour milk but that's all that's changed.

I do miss the sour milk smell.

I just finished a custom 6" diameter V-2 nose cone out of fiberglass/epoxy but I think that is my last big fiberglass cone.

They are just too darn labor intensive and tie up my lathe for too long to make them worth the effort for me.

Besides, I don't care for High Power even though I am L1 certified. I just can't see the worth of making something so expensive that you can't see from less than 500' away.

I think after the tragic incident recently I can't see the point of making something so large and heavy it does real damage if it comes in ballistic.
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Last edited by sandman : 11-29-2015 at 12:52 PM.
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2015, 01:15 PM
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Sage advice. Thanks Gordy!

I often use something other than Aerogloss SS when the piece of balsa is large--like with the BNC 60 on this Estes SLV kit.

A few years ago, someone from the forum sent me a container of Deluxe Sand'n'Seal. It seems to have the same properties as Elmer's or of Mod Podge and requires a lot less applications as would Aerogloss. I don't use it on fins becuse I'm afraid of warping them with this water-based filler.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2015, 06:19 PM
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tbzep tbzep is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffyjeep
Sage advice. Thanks Gordy!

I often use something other than Aerogloss SS when the piece of balsa is large--like with the BNC 60 on this Estes SLV kit.

A few years ago, someone from the forum sent me a container of Deluxe Sand'n'Seal. It seems to have the same properties as Elmer's or of Mod Podge and requires a lot less applications as would Aerogloss. I don't use it on fins becuse I'm afraid of warping them with this water-based filler.

I looked up your Deluxe Sand and Seal. Unfortunately, it's a UK product.
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2015, 07:30 PM
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Ah, so! That helps explain why the jar volume is printed only in milliliters. I didn't realize it until now. It shows how long this (1) jar has lasted so far.
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2015, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandman
I know Elmer's is "old fashion" but it's cheap (can't think of any glue that's cheaper) available **** near anywhere.


As I recall, last time I looked for it at Home Depot they DID NOT HAVE IT. I was shocked, but I guess that's big box thinking for you.

Getting hard to find the regular CWF, too. As opposed to the Max (and indeed I am).

I've never tried sealing a nose cone with Elmer's but I'll probably try it next time. I've tried thin CA and I won't do it again — some people swear by it but between the mess, the smell, and the difficulty handling it didn't work for me. I kept missing bits of the surface and not discovering it until I'd sanded a divot out of it. Only thing worse was when I tried thin CA on a balsa transition — that was a disaster, trying to keep the CA off both shoulders.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2015, 08:06 PM
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I'm an old fashioned builder, but use sanding sealer. I've never tried Elmer's, thinking it would probably not sand well. I will have to give it a try.

For sanding sealer, I've been using Deft Lacquer Sanding Sealer. It takes more coats than Aerogloss Sanding Sealer, but I'm retired and in no big hurry.

The beauty about Deft is that a quart cost me $11 a couple years ago. I haven't priced it lately but it should still be exceedingly inexpensive, compared to the small bottles of Aerogloss.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2015, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Holmes
As I recall, last time I looked for it at Home Depot they DID NOT HAVE IT. I was shocked, but I guess that's big box thinking for you.

Getting hard to find the regular CWF, too. As opposed to the Max (and indeed I am).

I've never tried sealing a nose cone with Elmer's but I'll probably try it next time. I've tried thin CA and I won't do it again — some people swear by it but between the mess, the smell, and the difficulty handling it didn't work for me. I kept missing bits of the surface and not discovering it until I'd sanded a divot out of it. Only thing worse was when I tried thin CA on a balsa transition — that was a disaster, trying to keep the CA off both shoulders.


That never happens with Elmer's!

Keep Looking over the nose cone and just brush out any bump. If there's a missed spot just add another drop of Elmer's and brush it out.

If you get some on your fingers or the shoulder just wipe it off.

When satisfied just rinse the brush off under a hot water tap.

A light sanding is all it needs to finish

I get Elmer's at my dollar store, dime store or drug store.

Heck! I've seen Elmer's at most party stores.

Try it, you'll like it.
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