Super Glue is ‘Super’

Cyanoacrylate or ‘super glue’ is a very useful glue to have around the shop. It works by forming a polymer or ‘chain of molecules’ with another molecule of cyanoacrylate.

The Nu- in the drawing above stands for ‘Nucleophile’ and is what starts the chain reaction. It is normally water. In super glue accelerators the Nu is the nitrogen atom of an aniline which is a much stronger nucleophile than water (that’s what makes it an accelerator). Using too much accelerator will make shorter polymers and potentially a weaker bond. Use sparingly!

Cyanoacrylate comes in handy for me most often when fixing small imperfections in wood (cracks, knots, etc.) by applying a dilute (thin) solution of cyanoacrylate in the crack and applying a small amount of sawdust. After it’s sanded you can barely see the crack when done carefully. For this I usually buy a thin solution already pre-made from ‘INSERT FAVORITE SUPPLY WOODWORKING STORE’ and use as is.


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