Adhesive field test

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Purple ball bullet  Personal experiences while working with adhesives


In the construction of my knives, I use the adhesives to glue Vulcanized paper spacer material to stainless steel, to other layers of itself and to variety of handle materials.
I also glue the metal pins and thong hole tube to the handle material, use glue to bond together maple or ebony wood scabbards, and leather sheath.

In a handle assembly, the adhesive is spread on one surface, starting with the outside material (wood, micarta, rubber, polyester resin etc), than on top of each layer (usually 2 spacers of different colors).
Layers are pressed with fingers and than the whole thing is pressed together in the vise to squeeze the excess glue and trapped air bubbles out and make the layers flat.
When set and cut out to the contours of the tang, the scale than gets glued to the steel.

So far, some types of 5 minute syringe 2 part type epoxies and all cyanoacrylates accomplished the bond between the spacer and some handle materials, but not others.
Epoxies work extremely well with filling the void between the hidden tang and the hole in the block handle - all materials.
However - the slow setting time of epoxies sometimes allowed the layers to slip out of position while being squeezed in the vise. If not discovered before the epoxy sets, this sometimes results in the destruction of the scale. redone.

The cyanoacrylates worked excellently with the spacer to block work, but certain types were better than others for securing pins and blocks to stainless steel.

Whatever glue you use, it not only helps with the handle assembly, but also seals the handle, effectively preventing the moisture being trapped between the tang and the inside of the scale. The moisture causes rust to form, and as rust expands, it pries the scales of the knife usually destroying the handle.



Purple ball bullet  Findings


  • Aron Alpha type 203
    At syrupy viscosity (1500) it spreads well, have more than enough time to position and press layers.
    Set time (100 sec) is slower than normally expected, layers were sliding, falling apart if not held for a time.
    After glue sets, Spacer to woods and phenolic resin laminates bond is excellent.
    Pretty easy on fingers, Spacer to steel requires extra time to set before drilling holes.
    Spacer to steel bond not very strong - Had several scales break loose from steel while drilling.
    Drilling makes the edges of holes crater up, which in turn pries the spacer from the steel.

  • Aron Alpha type 241F
    Low viscosity (40) makes this type great for securing pins, stuff just runs right through the .065" holes. Spreads fast and soaks into more porous materials. Spacer to woods and phenolic resin laminates bond is excellent. Beads off the polished metal, surface should be lightly sanded. Moderate set time (40 sec) still gives enough time to position and glue layers and squeeze. Spacer to steel bond not very strong.

  • Aron Alpha type GEL-10
    This highest viscosity adhesive (170,000) is totally amazing. So thick, the gel almost crumbles, but it spreads very easily and bonds wood to stainless with good results. 20 seconds is getting pretty fast as you will notice on your fingers. Not much time to reposition the scale if it would slip.
    I noticed that it immediately reacted with the oil in Cocobolo, turning the clear gel into an orange paste. After a few minutes squeezed in the vise, the bond held through drilling, cutting of the excess outline with a scroll saw and shaping of the handle, before the rivets were countersunk and hammered in.

    GEL-10 also did excellent job of gluing my broken cruise control plastic joystick in a car, on which I gave up using more liquidly glues :-)


  • Aron Alpha type 432TB, A423TW
    Medium viscosity of 300 is like a thick honey, have to work at spreading it.
    With longer time of set layers were sliding, but not falling apart.
    I found this adhesive supper in positioning scales on the tang.
    Slow kick off makes it easier to wipe off your fingers without bonding them on contact.
    Have great gap filling properties if the parts are not perfectly flat.
    White is good for multiple layers of white spacer materials, and Black goes with black, of course.
    Did leave parts in a vise for 10 minutes and bond was perfect, survived even raised temperature of a tang after drilling.

    Note - the Black one must have been on the shelf some time before I got it, it was the first to harden in the bottle - 8 month.


  • Aron Alpha type 401X
    Low viscosity, clear and absolutely water like.
    Tends to run of your parts, all over your fingers bonding them very quickly to the work.
    Not so great for positioning multiple layers, but great for penetrating cracks and rivets. Layers separated when dropped on the hard surface, had to be reglued. Not so great when all the holes are already drilled, and only up to a second to line them up. This is problem most likely caused by the vulcanized spacer material which seems to soak the adhesive up, even though it does not seem porous.


  • Aron Alpha type 403X
  • Parson Adhesives' PARFIX 3416
    Viscosity 1500 - excellent for gap filling, eazy application, like spreading liquid honey. Slow kick off time allows for re-possitioning of parts if slipped out of place.
    Holding strength exceptional, no separation after dropping on the bench, or drilling through.


  • Aron Alpha type 403T
    A bit thinner than 403X with viscosity 1000 - excellent for gap filling, eazy application, like spreading liquid honey.
    Slow kick off time allows for re-possitioning of parts if slipped out of place.
    Holding strength exceptional, no separation after dropping on the bench, or drilling through.


  • Parson Adhesives' PARFIX 3495
    Low viscosityo of 45cps - clear - surface insensitive.
    Bonding time varies with the material from 1-18 sec.
  • Parson Adhesives' PARFIX 3406
    Low viscosityo of 20cps - clear - Ethyl cuanoacrylate.
    Bonding time varies with the material from 1-18 sec. Micarta to stainless steel - good and fast. Scales did not peal off with drilling, or heat produced by shaping.


  • Elmer's ProBond Polyurethane Glue
    This single part glue is superior to any other I worked with.
    It is the consistency and color of liquid honey and very slow setting.
    For gluing vertical surfaces, tape over the bottom seam so the glue does not leak out before it has a chance to solidify.
    However, while getting solid and set, it expands, comming out of the seams.
    Sort of like a pour in marine foam. The hardened glue can be filed, sanded, varnished and it is waterproof.
    Excellent for securing all hidden tang knife handle parts, glues anything to everything.
    Tip for the kickoff - moisten one of the surfaces with water.

    Sticky hands and parts can be fast clean with WD40.



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