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Gorilla glue as a finish?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rojo412, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    The other day, I was watching Ask This Old House and they were showing a guy in Hawaii who was making ornate mango wood keepsake boxes. The finish he chooses to use is Gorilla glue, straight out of the bottle, rubbed into the finish. That seemed rather odd to me, as well as the guy on the show... but the builder said it's been very successful for him.

    Has anyone here done such a thing on an instrument? If so, what were the results?
    Is there a glaring reason why this shouldn't be used as a finish? It's poly, so they equated it to that type of finish.

    Here's the video, if you want to watch it
  2. That's a good idea. The brown color adds a little umber to the whole thing. I like it.
    rojo412 likes this.
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Right? Looking at that video, there was a lot of goodness happening with the look, ease of use, and final "not super glossy" finish. It's easy to find, it's cheap enough, not stinky...
    But before committing to a full on finish, I'd love to see if there's a fatal flaw that I'm not seeing. A keepsake box is certainly not going to be fondled as much as a bass body or neck.
    FenderB likes this.
  4. I didn't realize that Gorilla Glue was "polyurethane based", if so, it should have the same properties as regular poly, I guess.
  5. It would probably work pretty well. If I remember the episode correctly, you’d have to stay with the body for an hour? Longer? To keep wiping it down as the glue foams up. Seems like it was every 15 minutes or so.

    Whether that’s a deterrent or not is up to you.

    I recall the box being some beautiful Mango wood, to.
  6. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Why not? No more surprising than using monkey urine to cut turpentine...

  7. Dang it!!! Now I gotta find someone with a monkey!:D
  8. yes, he mentions that you have to check it every 15 minutes for an hour in the clip.
  9. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I've had one on my back, for years... he's available on weekends, but you have to feed both of us.
  10. FenderB


    Mar 28, 2016
    Findlay, Ohio
    Grab yourself a couple a pieces of scrap and have a go at it, see what happens.
    pcake and rojo412 like this.
  11. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Just make sure you use it quick -- days after cracking open a freshie, that stuff dries up and goes completely solid while it's sitting in the bottle.

    I'm sure it's a fine product but I've had horrible luck with it's longevity on the shelf.

    And yes, I know how to close up the bottle after using it. :smug:
    Clutchcargo likes this.
  12. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    I may try this on my next guitar build this coming week...worth a try...if it doesn't work or look good then can always sand and start over...
    Thanks for the link..
  13. Usidore T Blue

    Usidore T Blue

    Jun 28, 2017
    Gorilla Glue uses moisture in the air to cure. I would think it would not be hydrophobic, and in the long run would basically pull water into the surface of the wood. Fine for furniture joints, but for the broad surface of an instrument that will be getting sweat all over it? I'd be worried, but then again what do I know about this? Nothing, that's what.

    EDIT: It claims to be waterproof. Not sure how those two facts (needs water to bond, repels water absolutely) can both be true, but again complete ignorance.
  14. Wilmingtonian


    Aug 20, 2011
    They also wax the box (not shown but mentioned).(Oops, they do show that, I had skipped to the final finish on first look). Not sure wax would be very durable, and would require reapplication - guitar is not a keepsake box, it gets a workout.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  15. Up next: JB Weld as paint!
    Actually I bet that would be a really neat solution for those of us who are very hard on our instruments. It'd require some industrial processes to minimize the labor / make it a viable option, but a super-tough coating like that could have potential in the market.

    Wonder how gorilla glue would hold up in relation to standard finishes...
  16. shodan


    Mar 23, 2005
    Central Midwest
    I thought this looked interesting. I have a customer who wants a fretless FB coated. I think I'll pitch this to him.
    Scottkarch likes this.
  17. Wilmingtonian


    Aug 20, 2011
    The show you reference got a few other people asking the same questions, just google "gorilla glue as a finish"....
    Here's a link from a lot earlier, though. Pen makers seem to like it:
    Gorilla Glue - International Association of Penturners

    Apparently super glue or similar is also used. Fellow here seems to be suggesting it needs 10-15 coats with sanding for a shiny finish:
    Gorilla Glue for finish
  18. My only real concern would be how it would feel if you used it on the back of the neck.
  19. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I'd absolutely give that a shot. Gonna find some scrap and try it out. Never thought of it.
    JRA likes this.
  20. Sonicfrog


    Jan 4, 2008
    Fresno, CA
    Personally, I would never let Gorilla Glue anywhere near an instrument. When I visited my older bro / guitar player in Dallas a number of years ago, wee went to visit a professional luthier to pick up a guitar my brother had some work on. While there he mentioned the use of the Gorilla Glue by people trying to repair musical instruments DIY. He said that because of the way the glue seeps into the wood, if you don't get the repair exactly right, you can't rebreak / undo it and do it again. He said he's seen too many instruments ruined by the stuff. Now granted, he was talking neck repair, but if you don't get this right, you'll probably not get a second chance.... If this luthier was correct.
    Quantized Harmonic and five7 like this.
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