A Guide to Pottery and Ceramic Repair

in Glue

So you have just woken up, you scuffle downstairs in your slippers to the kitchen, and as you reach for your favourite ‘hello kitty’ mug you lose your grip.Bam! Your favourite mug is now lying without its handle on your kitchen floor. Disaster! Or not? Adhesives are familiar to us all, and yet many of us would rather discard broken or chipped items instead of spending a little time and effort repairing them. It is simple, cheap and in many ways enjoyable – so what are you waiting for?

Which Adhesive is the Right Adhesive?

This is like asking, which car is the best car? There are many great cars, as there are many great adhesives – it all depends on the qualities and characteristics you need. Factors to take in to account include; which materials are being bonded, the conditions the bond will be exposed to (such as rain and weathering if outdoors), the temperatures the bond will be exposed to, the load type and frequency, the size and shape of the bonded area and finally, the aesthetic requirements.

For a ceramic item which is used with food such as a plate or mug – an epoxy adhesive is recommended. Epoxy adhesives are water-tight and are therefore dishwasher friendly and provide a flexible and durable bond. This glue would suit outdoor ceramics too. These adhesives tend to set clear, but it is always best to check before purchasing. You must also decide whether you want a slow setting or instant adhesive. If it is a tricky or precise fit, fast acting glue may dry too fast. If the ceramic item is not used with food, such as a chipped porcelain figure – super glue can be used. Super glue resists modest heat and moisture, however, if the item is frequently washed it is advised that an epoxy adhesive be used instead. Super glue tends to dry relatively quickly, so ensure that you know the exact position required for the broken piece.

Gluing the Item

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to make sure the pieces are clean before gluing. If debris or dust gets in the way, the new adhesive may not bond. An equally important tip is to make sure that the pieces, once cleaned, have dried completely. Use a small tool, cotton bud or wooden stick to apply the glue to the piece – be wary not to add to little or too much glue. To little will result in a weaker bond and too much will not only create a mess, but will make it difficult to achieve a firmbond. While joining the pieces together, apply light pressure. If using a slow epoxy adhesive that will take a few hours to dry; it is worth using modelling clay to hold the pieces together. If there is no clay available, you can fill a container with rice or use a heavy book depending on the size of the item. If glue leaks from the sides, do not panic! It can be removed later using a small cotton bud with warm soapy water or a razor blade. 

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Mark Long has 5 articles online

Mark Long is an experienced freelance with an in-depth knowledge of adhesive bonding. He has thoroughly researched both the technology and application of instant adhesive such as super glue and epoxy adhesive and can provide you with vast and detailed product knowledge.

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A Guide to Pottery and Ceramic Repair

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A Guide to Pottery and Ceramic Repair

This article was published on 2013/08/31