Is all-purpose adhesive better than epoxy?

Date:10 August 2017 Author: Roy Berendsohn Tags:, ,

Q: I saw this new all-purpose adhesive at the home centre. Is it any better than old-fashioned epoxy?

A: You must be talking about Rapid-Fuse, a new glue by DAP that’s getting some attention. It calls itself all-purpose, and from what I’ve seen experimenting with it around the office, that’s pretty accurate.

It holds together a wide range of materials, from wood and metal to ceramic, glass, and some plastics. To answer your question, I wouldn’t say it’s better than epoxy, just different. Epoxies are thick, gel-like materials that have such good gap-filling properties that they are often used to build up a joint that fits poorly or that has material missing from damage or wear. RapidFuse is too thin to do that. But what really makes it impressive is that the glue is repositionable.

Typically, superglues are meant to work with a minimum of clamp time. You hold the product together for 30 seconds and then let go, hoping you got the position right. With RapidFuse, if you begin to apply pressure and you realise the parts are out of position, you just pull them apart and try again. That’s extremely helpful in the rough-and-ready jobs where these adhesives are used, such as reattaching the arm of the porcelain figurine that you broke.

So if this stuff is so good, why doesn’t the adhesive industry just abandon all other formulations? Cost. A 25-ml bottle of RapidFuse costs about one and a half times as much as the same size bottle of epoxy; a 250-ml bottle of pro-grade wood glue is even cheaper.


Illustration: Chris Philpot

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