Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Prepper's Toolbox: Adhesives

Throughout history, humans have needed to attach things to other things, sometimes permanently and sometimes temporarily. While fasteners such as nails, screws, and rivets are all fine choices, there are times when some form of glue is better suited for the task at hand. 

Every type of adhesive has its pros and cons; from simple wood glue to fiber-reinforced epoxy, they all have their proper use. Some adhesives act as a separate layer that applies a gripping strength to the items via any imperfections in the surface, while others actually soften the edges of the parts and meld them together, forming a type of chemical weld.

While all sorts of adhesives are currently available through the normal course of commerce, that may not always be the case. The ability to make some of the more basic glues and pastes can be of great benefit to preppers. 

One of the simplest is classic flour-based wallpaper paste, also useful in crafts like papier mache.

Traditional Flour Paste
  1. Combine 5 cups flour and 1 cup of sugar in a large pot.
  2. Place over low heat.
  3. Slowly add 1 gallon water, using a whisk to break down any lumps.
  4. Cook until nearly clear.
  5. Let cool to room temperature.

There are a variety of other adhesives that can be made at home. Particularly useful is a water-resistant glue made using pine resin as its main ingredient.

Pine Pitch Glue
  1. Collect pine resin (aka sap).
  2. Melt the resin. Try to not overheat it, as the compounds are destroyed the longer they're subjected to heat.
  3. Be careful! The resin can ignite if placed too close to open flame.
  4. Add 1 part powdered hardwood charcoal.  This helps temper the resin and reduces its stickiness.
  5. Add 1 part filler material.  This can be ground plant material (crushed to a fine powder) or animal droppings (dried and ground up).  Sawdust, bone dust, or animal hair can also be used.  The filler material helps strengthen the glue compound.
  6. To make the glue more flexible, add one part fat, tallow, or beeswax to the mixture.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. After the glue hardens, it will resemble hardened glass (if beeswax or fat were added, it will be more elastic).

While some of the simpler adhesives, such as the flour-based glue I mentioned above, are weaker and less permanent, others can provide a much longer-term bond.

I hope I don't sound tacky, but stick around for more tips and tricks.

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