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Adhesives for inlay

Hope someone out there can help. I am deathly allergic to epoxies and
was wondering what would be a good glue to use to inlay abalone and
crushed stone into fossil ivories. I have tried wood crazy glues
which do fill but understand there is a problem with yellowing and
cracking as it ages. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks from Sandra in Yukon where the sun has reappeared after ten
weeks below the horizon and it has warmed up to -27. Feeling creative

I am deathly allergic to epoxies and was wondering what would be a
good glue to use to inlay abalone and crushed stone into fossil

You might also try one of the polyester resins used for fiberglass.
The resins sold for “imbedding” things in cast plastic are also
polyesters, and they resist yellowing, and are often harder when
cured, than epoxy. Both types (casting and fiberglass types) can
often be found at better hardware stores.

The trick would be to make sure you are not also allergic to
polyester resins, which can also cause trouble for some people. Not
quite the same chemistry, but not exactly a totally different class
of material either.

Regardless of the type, get some proper gloves for handling resins,
and be very careful to work cleanly, and with good ventillation. You
can even get respirator filters that will offer some protection
against organic vapors, which might also help a lot.

Peter Rowe


I have been using CA Special T (bright green label on the bottle)
cyanoacrylate adhesive for inlay for over ten years for inlay and
have had no problems with yellowing or adhesion. It grinds and
polishes much nicer than epoxy so it works great for chip (crushed
stone) inlay.

Rick Copeland

1 Like


Thinking outside of the box, try melting some low grade amber? It’s
just fossilized tree resin, after all. Plenty sticky, and it’s a gem
to boot so you can easily claim no modern substances in your work.

Andrew Jonathan Fine

Hi Sandra,

Can you get a friend to do the actual epoxy work after you prepare
the inlay?

Karen in snowy Toronto

The best glue for gluing of any kind IMHO is called Hxtal-NYL 1. You
can find it at

I learned about this glue while in school, and one of the most
promising things it has going for it is that it is archival, so it
will not harm what you are using it on, is NOT sensitive to light
like most of the epoxies are and is said to last for 100s of years.
It is used as the number one adhesive for museum restoration. I have
used it many times, and it is simply a wonderful product. It was
originally developed to match the refractive index in glass and
actually will seek out cracks and fill them nicely. I actually saved
al alabaster sculpture during carving by filling in the week cracked
areas with it and letting it sit for a week. I was very surprised
how deep the adhesive actually moved into the sculpture while
finishing the carving, probably about 3 inches.

Now, as far as allergies to epoxy go, this is a 2-part mixture glue
(many of the best ones are), but it is not made with the same resins
as epoxy and it is mostly odorless. It is often used for ceramic and
glass, though I have had wonderful luck using it with stone, wood,
bone and fossil ivory. It is a little expensive, but can be ordered
in smaller quantities. For mixing, you get the best results if you
can possibly weigh the two parts as you mix them. It DOES take a few
days to set properly, although that process can be rushed a little
bit by the use of a warm hair dryer.

Hope this helps,