Resorcinol Glue

For most amateur boatbuilders Resorcinol is an echo from the past. They might have heard it mentioned in an old book, or some crusty woodworker might have raved about it. Few have ever seen it on sale and fewer have used it. Here is some information.

If I were to say I have a glue that can glue wood. Is immensely strong. Can withstand immersion in salt and fresh water. Does not soften in high heat and become brittle in low temperatures. Has proven its long term effectiveness. Is chemically resistant to acids solvents and oils. Can glue Oak and oily woods. It is harder, slightly stronger in sheer joints, and more permanent than epoxy. You would be overjoyed and would ask what this wonder glue is called.

I would answer it's Resorcinol Glue!!

Many of the boats restored by Howard Percival Johnson were built using resorcinol. Check him out at Old Time World Some eye candy for old motorboat lovers.

What is Resorcinol

Resorcinol is a simple molecule of benzene with 2 Hydroxy bits. It's produced either by using a natural resin such as a distillate of brazilwood and combining it with potassium hydroxide, or by several synthetic methods. This resorcinol is then further treated to produce the wonder adhesives.

THIS IS NOT A CHEMISTRY ARTICLE. If you are interested in the chemistry, check out the Wikipedia Resorcinol Chemistry Article. This is the basis for Resorcinol glue

There are variations as to the exact content of different brands. Aerodux 500 calls itself Resorcinol-Phenol-Formaldehyde, whereas Cascophen refers to its glue as Resorcinol-Formaldehyde. Since the claims from all manufacturers are similar in major traits I will not differentiate and when I say resorcinol or resorcinol formaldehyde I am not saying anything about a specific brand. Differences occur in the setting times, and ideal moisture content of the substrates, for example. All brands claim to be superior waterproof, structural adhesives. All brands have similar warnings and procedures.

In practical terms resorcinol contains a significant amount of naturally occuring phenols and is similar in action and waterproof qualities to the synthetic phenol formaldehyde glues. Here is my page on Phenol formaldehyde glue.

Grasp Resorcinol Adhesive Data Sheet is typical. Available in Australia, it's worth having a look. Others data sheets can be found fromt he links on the left.

What are the Advantages of Resorcinol Glue?

What are the Disadvantages of using Resorcinol Glues?

Why is Resorcinol glue not used
much by amateur boatbuilders?

Even though Resorcinol is a superior adhesive which offers exceptional performance, this comes at a price. The main drawback of Resorcinol based glue is the exacting conditions of use. It is a fussy character to use

Resorcinol is not readily available in hardware stores and is not well known. It is also pricy and has a relatively short shelf life. There is no doubt that some amateur failures using this glue was because old stock was used.

Resorcinol is very poorly understood and practically unknown in the amateur boat building world. It is not marketed to these people and so suffers from being severely misunderstood and improperly applied.

Resorcinol Brands and Where to find it.

I've put a link on the sidebar for the listing. It's good for the US.

Weldwood from Dap Products used to be available but is now a discontinued brand. It was made by Hexion, who still makes Cascophen also called Penacolite. Confused yet? ResorsaBond comes up but I can' find any suppliers. Aerodux-500 is now called Prefere and is available in pint size. Grasp is available in Australia as is Resobond. I've included links on the left for suppliers in various parts of the world I could identify.

Since it is still in common use by amateur plane builders that is sometimes a good place to look or Google.

Would I use Resorcinol glues and where?.

I would not hesitate to use Resorcinol based adhesives. It has proven itself in marine applications and boatbuilders swear by it. It's the best adhesive for oak laminations. It needs gap free well made joints and tight clamping. The glue needs to be fresh and kept in cool dry storage. It's imperative to have a good warm (at least 20C workspace.)

With care and careful workmanship and planning this is a good choice. It is not as convenient and forgiving as epoxy but proven and reliable. I think it would be a great glue for a bird's nest mast.

I am currently building a Puddle duck Racer using chine logs glued to the sides. This would work very well with resorcinol glue.

Resorcinol is not able to bond polypropylene, polyethylene, pvc, teflon or waxy surfaces.

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine