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best glue for balsa planes!?!?!


Elite member
I keep all my 2 ounce "refill" CA in the fridge and bought a bunch back when Tower Hobbies used to have the stock up sales on CA. I never cut the tips open on those bottles. I always unscrew the cap and poor it into the 1/2 ounce bottles I use during a build. I squeeze the bottle to remove as much air as possible before screwing the cap back on. Since I started using Superphatic I use so little CA now that I still have CA in the fridge several years old and still usable.



Aviation Enthusiast
Titebond II WORKS GREAT for general building, TITEBOND III for waterproof stuff like float planes, I think the III dries a bit quicker too. 30 min epoxy for high strength areas like engine mounts, wing joining, ect and CA glues for applications where you need quick bonding or you want to build fast. I believe Titebond will last over the years better than CA as CA gets brittle, plus Titebond has no fumes and gives you longer stress free working times.
I've been trying Sig-Ment, a cellulose solvent based adhesive like Ambroid, as I have heard it is very sandable and light. While the set time is faster than Titebond II, it still seems to be about the same in practice. For a proper joint, you first apply the glue to the separate pieces at the joint, let dry, re-apply and then bond the pieces together. I also find that the joint strength is the weakest that I've used, it's just barely stronger than balsa. Still, it does sand very well and it dries clear so it is a good choice for joints that face the exterior. I think I'll still use it in the future but I probably will go use Titebond II for most interior joints.


Well-known member
Figured I could weigh in as well. Like others have said, you need to experiment around and see what glue makes most sense for you. I am impatient, so I mostly use gel CA, even on somewhat larger models up to 3 lbs. As others have said, CA can be brittle, but so long as you are aware of its limitations, it tends to be fine. It's good under tension, ok in compression, and horrible in shear. Most of the time, the balsa or plywood breaks before the CA bond if the CA is used in the right application. The Gorilla Glue brand gel is expensive compared to larger bottles or the stuff you can get at the dollar store, but it seems to crack less easily in my experience, so for parts that experience larger loads, I prefer to use that if I use any type of CA. Beyond that, as others have mentioned, epoxy is much stronger, so for something like a wing spar, or if you're building a big airplane, it is definitely the way to go. Finally, something I haven't seen mentioned here, but that is definitely worth considering, is tape. Obviously, this is not for the outside of a plane, but internally, there are situations where using tape, often with an extra adhesive of some type applied to make it stronger, is by far the best option. In pure tension, tape is stronger than most adhesives, and so long as there isn't a force trying to lift it away from the surface it's connected too, tape is a quick, easy solution. In situations where tape is good, adhering a layer of cloth with CA or epoxy is always better, both for strength and weight, but it takes more time.


Aviation Enthusiast
Titebond II is what I use as CA instantly bonds and gives you no working time and Titebond does. Plus Titebond doesn't get brittle like CA does over time. Drawback with Titebond is it takes longer to cure, but I’m in no hurry.