Glues and Cements

Share secrets, compare techniques, discuss the merits of materials--eg. veg vs. chrome--and above all, seek knowledge.
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dw
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Re: Glues and Cements

#226 Post by dw » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:05 am

Al,

First of all, thank you for correcting me about the terminology. I have tried to be more careful...and here I was congratulating myself in making the distinction between cements and glues..but the moment I saw the word "paste" in your post I knew that it was the correct one.

(maybe I'll go back and edit my above posts...I can do that, you know--I've got the power, bwahaha)

Second, I know...if only from talking to you...that pastes will not ever replace cement now that it has stuck its noxious snout under the edge of the tent. But Janne's predicament, and his post above, is reason enough to avoid the solvent based adhesives whenever possible. Problems from breathing these solvents are not unusual in the Trade...so don't dismiss the implications.

I have been moving more and more towards Titan-DX---it is a water-based neoprene cement and, I think, creates a stronger and more durable bond than the water-based latex cements.

And I'm trying to move away from press cement as well. I've been using a WB sanding sealer from Enduro to seal and harden build ups on lasts. Works great and when dried and cured, is, for all intents and purposes waterproof. Takes longer to dry but that's the only drawback I can see.

A lot of us use rubber cement for assembly--which is near as bad as AP (unless you get old stock of Elmer's...and even then?!). If a person wanted to get away from that, as well, several companies make a double sided tape. Works a treat, esp. under broguing.

PS...I always heard that Hischkleber was "hoof"...or perhaps more apocryphally, "horn"...glue. Hence, the stag on the label. But admittedly that's just conjecture, nothing definitive. But HK and Yes are my go-to's at this time.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#227 Post by russell_c_cook » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:29 am

Hi everyone,

Just back from my Chinese New Year holiday. Had time to consider, and my plan is to have a go at attaching the sole using a welt rather than cement. Here in China there's enough toxic substances in the air without me adding more... :sigh:

Thanks for "awl" the help and information on this topic :)

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Re: Glues and Cements

#228 Post by dw » Mon May 12, 2014 7:53 pm

Necessity is the mother of invention...

Recent events have forced me to look at alternatives to the cements that I have been using for over 40 years. Specifically, solvent based cements such as celluloid cement and All Purpose cement and rubber cement.

For years I used celluloid cement (acetone based) to seal and harden toe stiffeners as well as while lasting the toe of the vamp over the stiffeners. I also used celluloid cement to seal and harden build-ups on lasts. It worked good but of course breathing acetone is not really good for you. I needed an alternative.

As I have moved more into making high end men's shoes, I have been experimenting...well, more than experimenting...using HirschKleber for mounting, bonding, and hardening heel and toe stiffeners. That works fine...although the results are not as hard and certainly not as water-resistant/waterproof as with the celluloid cement. A fact that has always concerned me.

About a year ago, I decided to try some water-based sanding sealer and varnish. The sanding sealer is all by itself a slower substitute for the celluloid while sealing build-ups on lasts. And the water-based varnish on top of the sealer is icing on the cake so to speak. And no fumes.

For toe stiffeners, the process is the same but when I have four+ coats of SS on the toes, I lightly scratch up the surface and from there I can use almost anything to create the final bond between the toe of the vamp and the toe stiff itself...even more sanding sealer. Even HirschKleber. The bond is good across the board no matter what you use.

However because the HK is water soluble I have looked for other options. My latest experiments have been with using a thick PVC called Titebond Moulding glue and Titebond III. Because it is ultimately waterproof, the Titebond III is the best but really runny. The Moulding glue is just thick white glue and it works pretty good.

More experiments are needed but so far I'm not breathing any solvents.

More on this subject in subsequent posts--my intent is to find a safe alternative for every solvent based cement in my shop.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#229 Post by dw » Thu May 15, 2014 9:16 am

So...one of the mainstays of most contemporary shoemaking is All Purpose cement. But AP may be one of the most toxic chemicals we have in a shoe shop. With some variation of Methyl Ethyl Ketone and/or toluene, it is a constant threat to the liver and to the immune system. Ventilating systems--spray booths and the like--are helpful but AP is outgassing from the moment the seal on the can is popped. It's the reason cement gets thick and then hardens when not in use. It's the reason the cans are sealed.

But it is so easy and so convenient to cement a tempered outsole into place before sewing, it's hard to ignore or to contemplate doing without. And that applies to several other processes in making a shoe or boot, as well. If nothing else I rely on a contact cement to build heels.

For years I played with water-based latex and then water based neoprene contact cements with mixed results. I have made boots...mounting outsoles and building heel stacks...with Upaco's 1812. And such cements are really a god-send when you're working with oil stuffed leathers--the only thing that will hold.

But many of these cements are not entirely free of VOC's and some of them bond better than others.

Then along came Titan-DX. Originally formulated for bonding veneers in woodworking applications, it is a water-based neoprene cement that near-as-nevermind as strong as AP, has no solvents and can be used in an almost identical fashion to All-Purpose--including allowing it to cure overnight and then heat reactivating.

I have used it for every part of the boot where I formerly used AP, and am currently using it to adhere leather build-ups to plastic lasts...no problems.

I am not sure it would work so well with compounds such as Vibram or rubber heel lifts--that's my next experiment.

The only real drawback with the Titan-DX is one of application and clean-up. And it is really one problem in two different forms. Since it's water based, it tends to set up a bit prematurely esp. on porous substrates such as leather. So it "pills" a bit. It goes on well with a brush and I'm told that a sponge rubber brush works well too. But either/or will clog up so bad before the job is done that you're looking at going through several brushes before you can coat an outsole completely. And unclogging the brush is not going to happen unless you are willing to soak the brush in a solvent such as duall-88 Thinner. Which throws us back on solvents and obviates the whole reason for water-based.

The solution to the clogged brush problem is to use a small cupped silicone spatula/spoon and cut the end into thin strands to allow the cement to be applied. It doesn't completely solve the "pilling" problem, and the silicone spatula will still tend to clog, but it can be cleared in seconds.

So...that's my answer to AP.

I still have questions and no real answers for rubber cement but I will share some of my thoughts on that quandary in another post.

Anyone reading this who has solutions to the problem of exposure to voc's... old or new...I, for one, would welcome them.

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Re: Glues and Cements

#230 Post by romango » Thu May 15, 2014 11:07 am

I am all for alternatives to AP cement and I don't wish to rain on efforts and experiments to replace it. Having said that, I will say that every shoemaker I have visited uses these products without any proper safety precautions. This is very bad.

If you are going to use AP, get a real fume hood! I won't say I never get a wiff of solvent but it is pretty minimal.

I think it is important to make the point that failure to take proper safety steps is not the fault of the glue.

Of course, there are the environmental points to be made but I don't think of myself as a big contributor to that problem.

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Re: Glues and Cements

#231 Post by dw » Thu May 15, 2014 12:04 pm

You're right. No question.

That said, I've been looking at fume cabinets...esp. ones that vent externally. Seems the starting price is about $3k-$4k
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Re: Glues and Cements

#232 Post by romango » Thu May 15, 2014 3:01 pm

DSC_4321.JPG
DSC_4321.JPG (73.82 KiB) Viewed 2286 times
True. I made my own for about $250.

A gorilla rack with some wood, glass and a squirrel cage fan. I got the fan at the used building materials store but is is basically an industrial fan for a restaurant hood.

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Re: Glues and Cements

#233 Post by johnl » Thu May 15, 2014 4:03 pm

For those that do not want to build their own glue station, but have shallow pockets, I have an idea.
Take a look at the Harbor Freight website. Look up 40 lb. blast cabinet. These are media blast cabinets (sandblast). They are completely self contained with lights, a door that seals the unit, view panels, and arm holes with attached sealing gloves. They are on sale for 209 right now. I could see taking one and just by adding an exhaust fan/hose, you should have what you need at a fairly low cost.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#234 Post by dw » Thu May 15, 2014 4:55 pm

A point unto itself (not relating to either JohnL or Romago's solutions)...voc's such as the solvents for AP and acetone, etc., are, IIRC, heavier than air so you probably need to have an exhaust "sink" below the work area.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#235 Post by johnl » Fri May 16, 2014 5:37 am

You are correct DW, that is another reason I thought of the blast cabinet. If you will notice, it has a deep V bottom that collects the blast media, while the item being worked on rests on a metal grid above. By putting your exhaust hose in the V at the bottom, you have done what you are talking about. The only other thing would be either to leave the door slightly ajar while gluing, or add some form of air intake at the top so that proper airflow can be established.

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Re: Glues and Cements

#236 Post by homeboy » Sat May 17, 2014 7:32 pm

Titan DX......anyone have a source? The manufacturer say they are out of stock!
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Re: Glues and Cements

#237 Post by dw » Sat May 17, 2014 8:05 pm

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Re: Glues and Cements

#238 Post by dw » Sat May 17, 2014 8:49 pm

Speaking of water-based contact cements, has anyone tried Tandy's Ecoweld? I saw a video on it and it looked strong and it sure spread smoothly.

If so, how strong is the bond and can it be allowed to sit overnight and then be heat re-activated?

I've never seen a stronger water based CC than Titan-DX and it can be heat re-activated. But it doesn't spread worth spit.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#239 Post by homeboy » Sun May 18, 2014 5:12 am

Thanks Dee-Dubb. I've got some Tandy's Ecoweld coming. Will report back later.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#240 Post by dw » Tue May 20, 2014 7:04 am

The hardest part of the "green" revolution...in my shop at least...is the need to move away from rubber cement.

I've used rubber cement to assemble the uppers of boots and shoes time-out-of-mind. It brushes on and spreads evenly, it hold reasonably well and it is more or less re-positionable. And I've never seen it degrade or get hard or crumbly. Yet years later, tops bonded to linings with no additional stitching still hold up well--all characteristics that are desirable when putting together tops and quarters. etc..

I also rely on rubber cement to create canvas formes from the last for making shoe patterns.

I have found reasonable substitutes for All- Purpose cement, and a reasonable substitute for celluloid cement. In doing so I have limited or completely curbed my exposure to toluene, and actetone and recently MEK from those products. But how to get rid of rubber cement, retain the benefits and advantages that rubber cement brings to the game and avoid breathing the hexane that outgasses from the best of the rubber cements--Elmers.

It is possible to assemble some components of a shoe using other products. Almost any seam edge on a shoe or boot could be assembled and held in place long enough to facilitate stitching using double sided tape. In fact, this is my preferred method when making shoes or boots where boguing and/or gimping is wanted.

The components...say, a toe cap...in such instances are brogued and gimped before assembly, naturally. If the fleshside of the toe cap is cemented and the grainside of the vamp also cemented, assembly is straight-forward--probably the way most of us would do it. But the cement will tend to clog the perforations that comprise the broguing and/or, at the very least, be a dirt magnet once the shoes are made.

Using the double-side tape (which usually has one side covered by a mask of paper or plastic film) is as simple as placing strips on the flesh side of the toe cap, for instance, before broguing. When the broguing is done those perfs go right through the tape. And then when the toe cap about to be mounted, the paper mask is removed and the cap positioned on the vamp. Voila! No fuss, no muss, no clean up, no fumes and the perfs are clean and clear.

I suspect that the same sources for such double-side tape also produce adhesive sheets with a paper mask. Since the adhesive film on the tape is so thin, I think that a sheet solution would be fine for putting together boot tops, although repositioning might still be a problem. But fumes are non-existent with this solution.

Why not use a paste, you ask? My answer to that is not so certain--some pastes harden up, flake away from the leather, and turn to dust over time. Not really a problem where such pastes have traditionally been used to bond and reinforce toe heel stiffeners. HirschKleber seems to be an exception to that. I've seen HK dry up and crack in the jar yet even then it retains some flexibility. So not to rule out such solutions altogether...after all, once upon a time shoemakers had nothing else.

But in the end, I regret putting aside the rubber cement most because it works so well for making formes. It adheres well to even plastic lasts yet is easily removed. I may have to go back to taping up lasts to make formes---bother!

Well, that about covers my venture into a non-toxic workplace...I don't have any answers for replacing dyes although I seem to recall that some of the old books contain recipes. I do know how to make a completely non-toxic black dye from vinegar and old shoe tacks, but it only works on veg tanned leathers.

I would welcome thoughts on any part of this discussion and esp. a viable alternative to using rubber cement to make canvas formes--what will stick to plastic lasts and canvas and create an instant, semi-permanent, strong yet workable bond?
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Re: Glues and Cements

#241 Post by dw » Tue May 20, 2014 7:06 am

homeboy wrote:Thanks Dee-Dubb. I've got some Tandy's Ecoweld coming. Will report back later.
Jake,

I will be interested in your take. I have a small bottle coming, as well, but it may be some weeks before I get it and can evaluate it. That said, I suspect it will be at least as good as the latex cements I have used in the past.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#242 Post by farmerfalconer » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:40 am

Hi DW,

I used to live near a Tandys store so when I first started all my glues, etc, came from Tandy's. That EcoWeld is ok but I have also used elmers rubber cement (Is that the RC you use?) and it held far better. I have never tryed heat activating either the Tandy's of the Elmers so I cant tell you anything there. Before I purchased a post bed machine, I used a flat bed singer 404. On curved seams (heel, sides...) where I had to press the upper flat to feed it through the machine the EcoWeld would stretch and often simply come apart. That said, I may have been using it wrong. Also, the last time I was at Tandy's I saw a bottle of it and it looked totally different then the last time I purchased it so it may have changed.
I still have some of the original stuff and use it even though it is kinda weak because of the lack of fumes.

Hope this helps.

Also, I was told at OS that the black dye from vinegar (black iron liquor) burns the leather. Same way iron nails do.

Cheers,
Cody

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Re: Glues and Cements

#243 Post by das » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:00 am

Cody,

As for "iron black" (iron filings in vinegar), I can confirm it will chemically burn veg-tanned leather, especially it will cause the grain to crack if used as a surface "dye". It's a neat old technique, but hardly a modern solution.

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Re: Glues and Cements

#244 Post by amuckart » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:21 pm

das wrote:Cody,

As for "iron black" (iron filings in vinegar), I can confirm it will chemically burn veg-tanned leather, especially it will cause the grain to crack if used as a surface "dye". It's a neat old technique, but hardly a modern solution.
M. C. Lamb addresses this in his book Leather Dressing including Dyeing, Staining & Finishing. I have the third edition, published in 1925, which I was fortunate enough to obtain re-bound (and therefore of no interest to collectors) for a very reasonable sum. It is one of those books of useful information which by dint of being rare has become absurdly expensive to buy.

On pages 171-2 he addresses the use of Logwood extract and iron dyes. I have transcribed the relevant paragraphs below (any typographical errors are mine):
Application of Logwood. - In employing logwood for the production of blacks on leather, it is customary to apply the logwood infusion first to the leather and the mordant afterwards.

The most important use in connection with leather to which logwood is put is in the dyeing of blacks in conjunction with an iron mordant. For brush dyeing or staining, a strong infusion of the logwood or logwood extract is employed, previously made slightly alkaline with ammonia or sodium carbonate, in order to increase the dyeing power and to assist in "cutting" the grease in the case of greasy leather. Another function of the alkali is to prevent the logwood infusion from striking through, that is, from penetrating the leather. The alkali is not so important when the logwood is used for dyeing blacks in the bath.

From the leather dresser's standpoint, the paramount use of logwood is in the staining of blacks on vegetable tanned leather, and the dyeing of blacks on chrome tanned and alum dressed leathers. When using logwood for blacking goods, in conjunction with some iron salt, a suitable strength of solution is 5 lbs. logwood extract, with 1lb. fustic extract, dissolved in 10 gallons water, to which is added afterwards 2 ozs. washing soda. This logwood-fustic solution is first applied, and then the solution of iron. For the iron solution, with teh commonsest class of goods, "Copperas" (ferrous sulphate) is employed; nitrate of iron, or iron acetate, is employed for better quality goods. 5lbs. copperas and 1/2 lb. copper sulphate or acetate per 10 gallons water makes a solution of convenient strength.

In staining blacks it is very necessary that plenty of the logwood infusion should be applied to the leather, especially if this is at all lightly tanned. Unless there is plenty of tannin and colouring matter to unite with the iron, the iron will combine with what there is of tannin matter in the leather, and render it brittle and liable to crack. If too much iron is used, the leather may be completely ruined. The writer has seen many cases where leather has been rendered too brittle by to little logwood and too much iron.

As logwood gives bluish or violet blacks, it is necessary, when a jet black is required, to add a yellow or brown colouring matter to tone off the blue. Fustic, sumach, quercitron bark, galls, etc., are often used for the toning.

Copper mordants with logwood give very deep bluish blacks, which are faster to light than the violet blacks produced with logwood and iron. The use of a little copper sulphate or copper acetate together with the iron in dyeing blacks is useful, as helping to produce a black which is fast to light. Brazil wood extract may be added to teh logwood infusion in order to improve the fastness to light of the black.
Source: Leather Dressing including Dyeing, Staining & Finishing by M. C. Lamb, F.C.S, third edition. London: The Anglo-American Technical Co., Ltd,. 112 Tower Bridge Road, S.E.1., 1925

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Re: Glues and Cements

#245 Post by Raving_raven » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:23 pm

Hi Dw and Cody,

I have been using Ecoweld pretty successfully for joining parts to sew. I also use double sided tape sometimes, though it is not as strong and sometimes pulls loose. In the winter, when my space is cold, us use a warming tray to put the parts on after gluing, to help glue to dry and to make it tackier. I put glue on both pieces that are to be joined and let them dry well and warm them. If really cold, I cover the tray with a metal box to make a low temp oven. I join the warm pieces and immediately pound them or run them through a little seam presser my honey made me. The glue is stronger than the leather.

I have not been as happy with the ecoweld made for use on the skin side. I just use the regular Ecoweld for all, including waxed and oiled leather I have been making hats from.

The solvents in rubber cement will poison your liver! Beware.

Rosemary

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Re: Glues and Cements

#246 Post by dw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:50 pm

I was going to try Ecoweld but I was hoping to pick up a bottle from a friend who has direct access to a Tandy outlet. It didn't happen and so I checked out another source of this kind of adhesive--Basic Adhesives. They sent me a small sample pack of latex based contact cement and there were two samples that contained zero VOC's and one that was very low--no smell to speak of.

All of them were decent after a reasonable drying time and even better after an overnight cure and reheating. I am using them to do build ups on plastic lasts.

Also I had purchased some double sided tape from Jaeger (?) made specifically for shoemaking. It was 1/4" wide. I found the adhesive strip to be a little thick and the adhesive not too good with shear forces. That might have been due to the width. But the upshot is that I tried Can-Do tapes and Essentra Specialty tapes. Both of them make double sided tapes but not strictly for the shoe or leather industries. And they both have huge (and similar) product lines.

Their acrylic adhesives are very thin yet extremely strong with regard to shear strength and the tapes I got were 1/2" wide. Much more adhesive power. Overall an improvement on the shoemaking tapes I have had over the years.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#247 Post by Delormea » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:09 pm

For those interested, I have recently come across the need to seal some last build ups with celluloid "press" cement. In my research I found that it would be difficult to find a supplier for it, certainly locally, and even more difficult in small quantities. There are options out there I believe at hobby and model making stores. However, reading through past entries about moving towards a greener work area with less exposure to solvents and such, I would rarely have a use for press cement other than sealing lasts and maybe making folding patterns for uppers. I need a small amount to use infrequently in a well ventilated area.

My google search lead me to an old patent, that when read talked about dissolving celluloid scraps in acetone in about a 20-50% by weight solution. As many know, ping pong balls are made out of celluloid with plasticizing agent (though I hear that is being phased out and they are moving to plastic?)

I just picked up a half dozen ping pong balls, broke up two of them (2.5g each) and dissolved them in 25g acetone in a glass jar. It broke down to a white paste. Now, I have never used the press cement of old and have nothing to compare it to. I can say though that when applied to two pieces of veg tan and held together under weight, it made a good bond of the two (not as strong as barge though) and I'd be wary of using it to attach whole soles and such. However, for sealing last build ups and hardening edges of manila paper for folding guides, it works a treat and was available quick and locally.

For those using large amounts of celluloid I'm not sure this will be of any help as I imagine it's much better to just purchase what you need, but for those of us not in the big leagues or only using small amounts as we learn, I hope it can be of some help.

Aaron

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Re: Glues and Cements

#248 Post by dw » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:52 pm

For sealing build-ups on lasts, you can also use Enduro Water-Based Sanding Sealer and Water-based Varnish.

Whether you use celluloid or sanding sealer, it generally wants several coats with sanding in-between. Celluloid cement will dry fast enough that you can apply 6-7 coats in a day or less but the Water-based Sanding sealer and Varnish will take lots longer maybe two days just for 4 coats.
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Re: Glues and Cements

#249 Post by Delormea » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:50 pm

I'm noticing it's taking several coats. It seems to like being treated just like lacquer.... which makes sense since nitrocellulose lacquer is an actual thing. Off to sand and re-coat.

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