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Bone Glue

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Emz, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. So... I just started my first articulation. Everything is going great...pictures to come.

    The only problem is my happy ass has been using super glue. I have always used super glue on skulls and teeth and never had a problem. I just read on another thread that super glue will yellow with time! Dang!

    My question is how long will it take to yellow?

    ...guess I should switch to elmers now...
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You are talking several years (6, 7 or more), but it will. So won't 5 min epoxy. That turns an incredibly ugly orange.

  3. Thanks! Well, I'm allowing myself to make mistakes on my first articulation. Hopefully the next ones will be easier and have less mistakes!
  4. Is elmers better to use then epoxy? I used epoxy on my deer a few years back and it's not changed color, it doesn't hold very strong though. I'm wondering if the brand I used was just crappy. Should I just use elmers on my future large projects? (Raccoons, opossums, cats, canines, deer etc.)
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Elmer's is incredibly strong when dry. It is also clear and does not yellow. The only possible hassle is that it takes a while to dry and things will be loose till it does. I always clamp parts and leave them be for at least a day or more before moving. One advantage to this is doing teeth. I assemble the lower jaw and set all the teeth in with a bit of glue. Get the lower jaw into place so the teeth mesh properly and then adjust the teeth all around so the ends meet and everything is spaced and aligned correctly. Looks a lot nicer when the teeth all meet the way they did in life. Sometimes, when you glue the teeth into the upper and lower jaws separately and then put the two together .. they don't quite line up the way they did before it all came apart.
  6. Thanks Sea Wolf...so here is a dumb beginner question: I have been working on the rib cage of a hawk. The ribs are so delicate. How would you keep something as fragile as a bird rib in place while the elmers dries?
  7. Guus

    Guus Member

    Like this:


    This is the ribcage of a golden eagle, but the principle works for all birds. The wire that goes through the spine is bent in this picture, while I glue the ribs it is stuck in the foam as well. This way the spine and the breast bone are secured in place and you have the time and space to put all the ribs in between.

    I hardly use something else than woodglue, I prefer the brand 'Bison' over here in Europe.
  8. tom k

    tom k New Member

    Very new to working with bones. My question to the experts is how do you seal them with Paraloid B-72 and have them stay together? I know super glue is fine and will not breakdown. I use Paraloid B-72 with alcohol. Do you use something different when doing whole skeletons.
    Thanks Tom
  9. Elmer's glue would be so much cheaper, thanks SeaWolf, I knew it was great for teeth and small stuff but didn't know it was strong enough for larger things. I know I spent a good $25-$35 on epoxy alone for my deer.
  10. Orkman-X

    Orkman-X New Member


    elmer's glue is all you need. as been said it takes longer to dry but that's also part of the advantage, to be able to correct position when serial-glueing. 98% I use is elmers. the wing joints, depending on leverage-weight are usually the only joints in birds that come to mind for faster setting or instant-glue, finished off by elmers.
    Elmers has lots of pro's, but one con: it gets soft in warmer area (close to heating system, sunheat...). you dont want your wings (or legs in flight) to slowly lower/drop over time...

  11. Guus

    Guus Member


    Sounds like we went to the same school, Marc!
    Often you apply only small amounts which actually dry quite fast. My aim is always to get things properly attached without seeing any glue later on. The flexibility you have while the glue dries comes in very handy like Marc said, especially when working with birds. Otherwise the glue is quite tough which makes the skeleton more bump proof instead of superglue which becomes very hard and brittle.
    Wire through the bones give the necessary support when things are getting heavy or when they are placed in difficult angles/positions.
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Something like a deer, really should not be just glued. An animal that large need to have metal rod in the joints or some type of hardware to secure it. I hope to do a wolf someday and the joints on that will be articulated with metal for strength. The tarsals will be glued but the long bones will be wired somehow.
  13. Yah I did use wire also, the glue I happened to use just didn't hold well in places. It was the $5 5min kind from Wal-Mart.
  14. Bones N Beasts

    Bones N Beasts New Member

    glad to know about the glue will be changing my methods
  15. Guus

    Guus Member

    Just to be clear, birds as small as jackdaws already get wire support in their legs when I articulate them. Crow size birds have wire in their wings as well. Even much smaller birds and for example stoats get wire through the whole spine too. I think it's good to play a bit back and forth with different skeletons to get a feeling of what is needed for support.
  16. BWebbs31

    BWebbs31 Classic Skull Mounts, LLC

    Hey guys! I don't have much to contribute on skeletal articulations, however, I too use Elmer's for all my skulls. It's strength is amazing. It holds everything together the way I need it to until it's ready for the paraloid/acetone dip.

    The one thing I've noticed is if you keep the skull in the paraloid for too long, the acetone will really start to soften up the Elmer's. I've developed a "clock" in my head to make sure it soaks long enough to seal, but not long enough to soften!
  17. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    For coating in paraloid, just a 3 second dunk will be enough. Just time enough to coat it. If you have damaged bone, like flaking, powdery, over boiled stuff, you do have to let it set a minute to allow it to sink in and consolidate the damage. Sometimes, I coat all the parts and then assemble if I had to soak the pieces as long as it isn't something huge. I don't think the bond on top of paraloid is quite as strong.
  18. Thanks guys, interesting stuff! I wasn't going to post a pic until I was further along but here you go:

    As I mentioned before, I have been using super glue and wire. (I will be switching it up for the the skele) I originally went with super glue because it dries quickly, but I have still been sitting there for sometimes 20-30 min holding ribs in place. Elmers is a little slower in drying time I thought, but I would be too afraid to use a vice like tool to hold those fragile bones. So what do you guys do - just hold pieces in place with your fingers or do you have a better method! ...I've done a lot of cursing this week... you think glue is finally dry, you let go...and off comes the rib!

    Oh on a side note...this is my first ever articulation...there are multiple things wrong with this rib cage...but hopefully you can't tell too much...the next one will be perfect! Muah ha ha ha!

  19. Bones N Beasts

    Bones N Beasts New Member

    looks good to me so far but im no expert
  20. Orkman-X

    Orkman-X New Member

    hey Emily

    looks really good for your first and it seems you got the rib order right.
    one remark though,

    next time, you should glue the coracoids to the sternum first.
    That way you would have noticed that the angles tween the ribs and the sternal ribs are usually sharper and to have the non-sternal end of the coracoid at around the same height of the spine when looking from the side. I think now these ends will position lower when attached which might give it a 'hanging-ribcage' look. It would bring the sternum more to the front and more in angle to the spine (if this makes sense, bit hard to explain).

    as for holding ribs in place, yep I have that too. a good glass of wine meantime helps :)
    as you are using the styrofoam holding technique, you can use those long taxidermy needles for example to pin in the styrofoam and to help hold the ribs in place. I use these for example: http://www.prepareerwinkel.nl/fixeerspelden.html