As many of you know, and all of you should, that I don’t use modern things when it comes to doing traditional woodworking. I don’t like modern white or yellow glues as their manufacture is extremely dangerous, highly polluting and based on petroleum distillates. Same with modern poly glues and plastic finishes, I have no use for them. They are just inappropriate for what I do.
What I was missing was the equivalent of e-pox-ee, the word does not even come out of my mouth, but I needed a permanent adhesive for chisel handles and for attaching wooden handles onto metal objects. I did some experimental archeology and recreated the 1824 Cutler’s Cement from the Universal Receipt Book that I reprinted.
Well the stuff works great with only one drawback and that is its incredibly long drying time. It does take at least 30 days for the stuff to completely cure and that is even helped along with keeping the newly ‘glued’ pieces near a heat source to aid in the drying and curing of the cement. I also live in an arid mountain desert with low humidity.
I went with the exact formula on this batch, carefully measuring out the two main ingredients then adding just enough linseed oil [in the form of Moses T’s Gunstocker’s Finish, which is high in linseed oil with a bit of turpentine, gums and resins, etc.], to make a very thick paste.
On a small German [F. Herder, Solingen] eating knife with a beech handle, I first etched the metal tang with a fresh cut clove of garlic, then pushed the thick past down the hole of the handle and checked it until it was pushing excess back out the hole. I cleaned off the squeeze out and set it aside to dry.
After about a week I noticed that the oil had soaked through the beech wood handle in two places near the blade. To my surprise the oil had not traveled with the grain of the wood but it migrated along the medullary rays, through the grain or growth rings. I found that astonishing as I assumed the oil would flow along a ring rather than through the annual growth ring.
After a few more weeks the blade was securely held in the handle and I raised the grain and allowed it to dry. I lightly sanded the beech, applied some Moses T’s Reviver [a lean oil] and some burnt umber dry powdered pigment. I wiped off the excess and allowed it to dry for a couple of days, followed by a couple of coats of Moses T’s Gunstocker’s Finish [a fat oil].
This knife has been used, soaked twice and washed with soap and water over a dozen times. Blade is held securely.
The other items, brazier handle ferrules, saw handle, awl, chisels, etc., have all dried for the required time and all are very secure. So now I have my appropriate, traditional adhesive that is waterproof, heat resistant, all natural, safe to make and use, and not a permanent inflexible dangerous petrochemical plastic.