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Crazy glue acts as a flux?

Kate Wolf writes, "Crazy glue acts as a flux - works like a dream."
Can it be? This sounds too good to be true! I haven’t had a chance
to try it, and am wondering if others have used it for that purpose
as well.


Before anyone tries this, what are the potential health hazards
associated with inhaling the vapors of burning crazy glue?

Lee Einer

I’ve tried it, though not for that reason. It is sometimes helpful
in tricky positioning before soldering.

At least it doesn’t seem to interfere with soldering. Perhaps the
mondo-chemicals are also removing any oxides present and so would
behave as a flux?

Pam Chott

Tess: If you use Crazy glue to assemble parts prior to soldering, it
will allow you to easily position them. Crazy glue (cyanoacrylate)
will burn, so you must fixture the piece prior to soldering. Place-it
works well. You must then flux the piece as you normally would. When
the glue burns, it becomes carbon. Carbon will act to inhibit the
formation of oxides by combining with the free oxygen in the flame.
It tends to keep the joint clean, and will actually wick flux into
the joint to insure a flawless solder. Just be careful not to use an
intensely oxidizing flame, since a flame like that really produces
oxides that no flux can stop.

I have seen many goldsmiths struggle with soldering only because they
used a flame with way too much oxygen. Use a neutral, or very
slightly oxidizing flame. I use only around 2-5 lbs. of pressure on
both the oxygen and fuel tank. This allows me to mimic the flame of a
blowpipe. Soft, slow, gentle…and the solder melts easily and flows
completely every time.

Have fun!
Doug Zaruba

It has not been my experience that Crazy Glue acts like a flux, per
se. I noticed her comment on that too, and I had to raise an eyebrow
and think back on it. The glue burns away rather quickly, and leaves
a very slight residue which, when you raise the temperature up
further burns away. The problem is, the glue can prevent the
borax/alcohol mixture from getting to those areas, and if you don’t
flux or at least re-coat with the mixture, you’ll oxidize the metal
and make soldering all the more difficult. When I use glue like
that, I bring the temperature up slowly, watch for the glue to
dissappear, then let the article cool off and re-flux that area.
What Kate may be noticing is that the carbon left from the burning
glue acts as a reducing agent, removing some oxygen from the area. I
happened to have a situation yesterday where I used super glue to
hold something together while I tacked it in another place. You can
certainly take advantage of it’s usefullness, but I wouldn’t count on
it as a flux. Just my 2 cents.

David L. Huffman

assanine! This should never be tried because of the toxins associated
with the glue. My god how much is flux. I have a 10 year supply of
it. Too cheap get into something like making crack

Lee, Burning or even heating the cyanoacrylates (crazy glue) or even
the epoxies releases hazardous gases. Always best to work in a
properly ventilated workspace and masks don’t hurt. You don’t need
panic, a few whiffs won’t hurt you, but prolonged exposure is a no-no.


I use crazy glue quite often for positioning. My own consistent
experience is that it acts more as an anti-flux than a flux, tending
to prevent the solder from flowing rather than helping it. Thus I dab
on extra flux to dissolve away the crazy-glue breakdown chemicals.

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada

My my, what a can of worms I seemed to have opened here. If you refer
back to my original post about Casting Heads in Place�.

�After the piece is cast, clean up the cast ring and make sure the
setting fits well to the ring (with the heated head technique it
should fit perfectly). Then crazy glue the head into the cast
mounting. Pack a small amount of Heat Shield Compound around the top
of the head and ring (not a lot, just enough to support the ring and

the head). Then flux up the inside of the ring/head. WITH GOOD
VENTILATION and a mini torch heat up the seam- when the flux flows,
put a chip of solder on the seam and it flows beautifully. Crazy glue
acts as a flux- works like a dream. When it cools, dip in water, the
heat shield compound washes right off, now you can pickle and polish.
I hope this helps�.�

You may notice I said to use GOOD VENTILATION (notice all caps). Good
ventilation doesn�t mean soldering with the window open somewhere in
the studio. I use a very good exhaust system and am known to be
fanatical about safety issues.

Yes, the crazy glue keeps the solder seam clean. I also use a bit of
flux on the piece as well. The crazy glue burns out very cleanly (it
fills in the slight gap between the pieces to be soldered and helps
keep oxides from forming in this gap). When the flux flows it sucks
into the seam. Keep in mind, you start out with clean metal, the crazy
glue holds the pieces together so you can pack Heat Shield Compound or
Place-it around the setting or prongs.

From Jewelry Concepts and Technology by Oppi Untracht Page 403 "The
word flux comes from the Latin fluxus, “flow”, and the function of
flux is to aid solder to flow. Flux is any substance, or combination
of substances capable of promoting the fusion of metals joined by the
use of heat and a solder or metal filler. “Flux is used in soldering
mainly because the temperature necessary for solder to melt and flow
causes unprotected metal surfaces to oxidize readily. If such oxides
are allowed to be present during soldering, they will inhibit the flow
of solder. By its presence, flux prevents the formation of oxides and
dissolves or “fluxes” any oxides that may form.”

I was taught to fabricate cluster settings using clay or utility wax
to temporarily hold the settings or prongs together and pour
soldering investment on top , then clean out the clay or wax. before
soldering. I found this to be less than accurate (you can�t see the
base of the settings to see if they are all level), dirty (you have to
clean out the wax or clay), messy and time consuming. I no longer
have to make a frame around the piece to pour the investment into, and
I don�t have to wait for the investment to set.

Some things I often use crazy glue on. I had to solder 30 jumprings
at a 90 degree angle around a larger ring. I made a grooves with a
burr where the jumprings are attached, glued them on at exactly 90
degrees all around, packed a small amount of heat shield compound
supporting the big ring and smaller rings from the back, and fluxed
and soldered. Perfect soldering job, quick and accurate.

To make an eternity ring: Put some parchment or tracing paper on a
mandrel a tiny bit smaller than the finished size. Crazy glue the
settings and cast leaves all around the mandrel. Slide the ring off.
Pack Heat Shield Compound around the ring (also slide bits of old
broken saw blades to act as re-bar into the heat shield compound
around the ring). Burn or peel off the paper, flux and solder from the

I�ve had to sweat solder some geometric pieces, (a square within a
circle with an equilateral triangle where everything has to be lined
up perfectly or it looks awful). I have flowed solder on the back of
the square and triangle. Sanded them flat, crazy glued them exactly
where I want them, fluxed and heated it up �til the solder flows. This
works well for me.

Hope this clarifies the

Kate Wolf in Portland Maine where there is a blizzard of apple blossoms
outside my studio window.

Doug, You mentioned in your letter about crazy glue that when it burns
it becomes carbon. Well, I have been using the crazy glue/Place-it
method on many of my platinum pieces and I know that carbon is an
enemy of this metal. Now I have to wonder if this is not as great an
idea is first assumed. Can you or anyone else out there give me any
feed back on my concern.

John Sholl
J.F.Sholl Fine Jewelry

A can of worms, indeed! That’s what’s so great about this forum. I
am so grateful that I read your original post about the super glue.
I can’t thank you enough. I’ve been working on a very awkward
combination of pieces, and pulling my hair out. A few little spots
of super glue will make it not only easier, but will result in a
higher quality piece as well. Frankly, it makes my design do-able.

I also enjoyed your new post on the eternity ring. Please keep
contributing to this forum. Thank you again, Kate. Keep your window
open so you can smell those apple blossoms.

Tess, in Florida, where it’s starting to feel like summer already.

Replies like this only show ignorance. The “toxins” involved are
minuscule. Adequate ventilation is required for all soldering
operations anyway. I assume you are aware that there are far more
"toxins" in the flux that you use. Even the solder is toxic…cadmium
free solder is only SLIGHTLY less toxic than its counterpart.

Jewelry manufacturing and goldsmithing have made tremendous strides
in recent years to eliminate many of the health hazards that were
once ignored, and this is happening in every profession. Twenty years
ago, very few woodworkers had dust collection systems, and jewelry
manufacturers routinely used cyanide to “bomb” their castings.

I still see people merrily polishing away at their bench with a flex
shaft, and I see polishing areas where the dust collection is far
from adequate. This is far more toxic that the tiny amount of
"toxins" inhaled from glue. Add cigarette smoke to the mix, and you
are almost certain to have lung problems.

If you are concerned about the hazardous materials that you work
with, learn about them. Most cannot be eliminated, but their health
risks can be.

Doug Zaruba

Hey Doug, I just started ordering cadmium free solder and it
definitely does not flow as well as cadmium solder.Is there still
cadmium in cadmium free and how do you know or find out the
percentages and what are the percentages that pose a health
risk?Lots of questions.I recently looked into radon levels and found
that the test population used to determine the dangers of radon were
coal miners that smoked.Coal miners by working under ground are
exposed to large doses of radon.I imagine it was hard to find coal
miners that DIDN’T smoke so that was thrown into the mix…Common sense
seems to be a good rule of thumb.Unless of course you are lacking any.
J Morley Coyote
Ridge Studio

    Doug, You mentioned in your letter about crazy glue that when
it burns it becomes carbon. Well, I have been using the crazy
glue/Place-it method on many of my platinum pieces and I know that
carbon is an enemy of this metal. 

If it’s been working fine, what makes you worry? My personal
experience, is that carbon can be absorbed into hot platinum. It makes
for a VERY brittle metal. My experience has also been that heated in
an absence of carbon will cause the trapped carbon migrate back out
of the work that same way it got in. Once the carbon is released from
the lattice, the platinum works normally again.

Some wag once remaked “If it works, don’t fix it!”.

Bruce Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler


In my experience in using cyanoacrylate with platinum, I have
observed that the amount of carbon produced is very small, and that
it disappears at a temperature below the melting point of easy
solder. I don’t believe that the platinum molecules are excited
enough at this temperature to absorb any of this carbon. This is not
true when soldering around carbon that will not disappear at welding
temperature, like a graphite block. My guess is that the carbon is
combining with free oxygen, forming CO2, and flying away before the
platinum has a chance to grab it.

I have not done extensive laboratory research here, but if you take
several platinum wires, glue some together and leave some untouched,
weld them with different melting point platinum solders and try to
get them to fail, you will probably not find any difference. I

Laser welding, however, was a different story. Talk about brittle

Doug Zaruba