Hot Glue Tips – From One Maker to Another

Today modern glues and tapes make assembling project much more straightforward and in many cases the aesthetic of the finished items is considerably enhanced thanks to no mechanical fixings being visible to users. Glues also solve problems where there is no opportunity to mechanically fix (such as nails and screws).

One such problem faced Peter Millard (YouTube URL) where he needed to mount a light box to the ceiling of his small London workshop. In this 2-minute tip, he shows how using two glues on the item he can utilise the strength of slow setting polyurethane glue to support his lights, and the fast setting ‘hot-glue’ to fix the box to the ceiling long enough to allow him to properly support the box with props.

A really neat solution.

On watching the video it’s clear that the tip only works effectively if you’re really quick in applying the hot glue to the piece. In practice I find that straight out the gun, hot glue gives you around 15-30 seconds of open working time. Once it’s started to set the glue rapidly loses its adhesive qualities even if it’s still soft enough to press flat.

Now, I’ve used this method before many years ago when putting together aluminium and steel shelving units at work. The trouble with metal parts is they conduct heat away from hot-glue very quickly and you get only 10 seconds of working time. The solution to that problem was to heat the parts with a heat-gun first. Then you got around 2-3 times the open working time before the glue set. This works on just about any item and you don’t need much heat. Hot-to-touch is perfectly fine, 40 – 60 degrees centigrade (100 – 140 Fahrenheit) is about right

Anyway I let Peter have the tip through the comments section and I’m pleased to say that he’ll be featuring it in an upcoming 10 minute tip. Thanks Peter, I’ll look forward to it.

Anyway Peter Millard’s YouTube channel is a year long project to share project videos and tips while he runs a busy carpentry and cabinetmaking firm in West London, UK. Details below:

by Karl Pountney