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Metal glue: All you need to know

Metal is all around us, used in everything from large machinery to household appliances and decorative objects. Metal glue is a great way to join metal to metal, or metal to other materials. For most everyday situations and simple DIY projects, a liquid adhesive or glue for metal is the best solution.

Everyone who works with metal, from metal workers and mechanics to jewelers and hobbyists, knows gluing metal needs good preparation. Unlike paper, wood, or other porous materials, the dense, slick surfaces of metal can resist most household glues, resulting in weak bonds and damaged items. But metal glues can do the trick!

Types of metal glue

Choosing the best glue for metal is essential to a strong fit. Metal glues generally fall into three types: epoxy, polyurethane, and super glues.

Epoxy adhesives are high-performance adhesives often used in carpentry and woodworking or for specialized creative uses like making costume jewelry. These practices include not only wood, but also metal in some instances such as handrails, table legs or doorhandles. Epoxies come in different types with different properties: flexible or rigid, transparent or opaque, fast or slow setting. They also offer high resistance to heat and chemicals. 

The best epoxy for metal is Loctite Epoxy Metal/Concrete, a two-part system consisting of an epoxy resin and a hardener. The resin and hardener are combined to create a durable, high-strength bond that dries in minutes and can be used for repairing, filling, and rebuilding all metal and concrete surfaces.

Polyurethanes are also commonly used with metal. Polyurethanes are water-resistant and UV-resistant and set quickly without being brittle. Once cured, they can be sanded, stained, and painted. That makes them great for many jobs around the house, including repairing flooring or finished carpentry like cabinets or tables.

A quality exterior construction adhesive should be a polyurethane-based, moisture-curing adhesive to create stronger bonds than ordinary construction adhesives. Like many polyurethanes, it works on metal across a wide range of temperatures, making it the best metal glue for outdoor use.

Super glues are high-performance industrial adhesives that are perfect for almost all household fixes. Most bond well with metal, as well as fabrics, wood, and plastics, making them useful in joining or repairing car parts, ornaments, small appliances, and many other daily items.

For superior bond of metals, Loctite Super Glue Liquid is reliable and fast. It’s strong and simple to use; weather and moisture resistant, it sets in seconds, requiring no clamping, and it applies easily.

Precision work with the ULTRA Control Applicator

Applying glue to metal can be messy without the right tools. To make gluing metal easy, Loctite Super Glue ULTRA Liquid Control comes equipped with the Loctite Control Applicator.

This patented side-squeeze design allows for greater control of the glue’s placement and volume, resulting in a clean, precise application. Coupled with Loctite Super Glue ULTRA Liquid Control’s superior performance and powerful resistance to moisture, chemicals, and cold, it’s the best metal glue to make intricate gluing simple.

 

Bonding compound: Loctite Weld

Another option for gluing metal is Loctite Epoxy Weld Bonding Compound. A convenient alternative to welding, it’s the strongest solution for bonding most metals, including iron, steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and pewter. Once cured, it is resistant to heat and moisture, including water, fuel, oil, antifreeze, and shop fluids. It won’t shrink and can easily be sanded or painted. Loctite Epoxy Weld Bonding Compound makes tasks like fixing lawn mowers or securing metal bolts easy.

How to bond metal with glue: Step-by-step instructions

Gluing metal is simple and only requires a couple of steps, and the right metal glue, of course.

  • Preparations. We recommend working in a well-ventilated area or workshop that offers enough space to handle all the necessary materials. Use protective cloths or papers to cover up furniture. Examine parts to be joined and test the fit. Clear away any fragments or particles obstructing a seal.

Wear latex or nitrile gloves (not PVC, nylon, or cotton) to protect your skin while using metal glue.

  • Clean the metal. Surfaces should be clean and dry. Remove any dust, dirt, wax, oil, or grease, including fingerprints, from all parts with a cloth. You may want to slightly roughen smooth surfaces using fine-grit sandpaper.
  • Apply the metal glue. Be sure to read your product instructions for any details on application and drying times before starting.

    Open the product cap and apply metal glue to the prepared surface. Follow the instructions on the packaging for amounts. Super glues require about one drop per square inch of surface. Many epoxy metal glues require mixing adhesive and hardener components, then applying with a specialized tool.
  • Join the pieces. Position the pieces and press together firmly to ensure a tight seal without gaps. Leave parts undisturbed as the bond forms.

    Metal epoxies have longer curing times and often require clamping for up to 60 minutes. Polyurethanes and super glues generally dry and cure faster than epoxies, but clamping is also recommended for strong bonds. While super glues bond in about a minute, for full bond strength, leave parts undisturbed overnight.

Excess glues can often be cleaned off using mineral spirits or acetone (found in most nail polish removers).