Stick Like Glue—or Not

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By Dan Verner

dan verner

I have few talents, but one of them is gluing broken objects together. I have a small tool box filled with different kinds of glue—epoxy, white glue, wood glue, Duco, plastic cement, something called “Liquid Weld” (for joining metal), trim adhesive (for cars), rubber cement and various kinds of GOOP. If something breaks, I’ll try to fix it, no matter how small and how many the pieces. My gluing hero was a missionary who, after serving in India, shipped a huge ceramic model of the Taj Mahal back to his home in the states. When it arrived, it was broken into a thousand pieces. Even I would have thrown it away—putting together so many nearly identical fragments would be next to impossible—but it wasn’t entirely impossible. And that’s what the man did over the course of several years, carefully joining piece to piece until it was restored to its original beauty.

When one of my little solar yard lights broke recently, I looked in my glue box for some Duco. A tiny bit was left in the tube, so I put it on the broken pieces and waited for it to dry. There wasn’t enough, and the assembly fell apart when I picked it up. I cut open the tube and tried to get enough to fix the light, but again it wasn’t enough.

My go-to store for Duco is J.E. Rices in the Manassas Shopping Center. I’ve been going to Rices for 52 years now, and it always has exactly what I need, and advice about how to install parts. Rices is closed on Sunday, so I went on what turned out to be a grand tour of local drug and food stores. I went to seven places, but not one had Duco or even plastic cement. They had various forms of white glue and several kinds of super glue.

I suppose someone more skillful than I can use super glue to fix plastic, but I never have been able to make it work. It’s useful when there are large surface areas to be joined, but the narrow plastic edges don’t seem to allow for good adhesion. And I don’t like Gorilla Glue. It doesn’t work for me, either. When I try to use these adhesives I usually end up gluing my fingers together. Something like super glue is used to close surgical incisions. Please note that people are not made of plastic, so it works.

So call me old school. (Call me anything as long as you call me for dinner.) Rices is now open, so I’ll go over there in a few minutes and buy two tubes of Duco, come back home and have a gluing party. As I do, I’ll be inspired by a man I never met, the missionary with time and patience who used glue to recreate something of beauty.

Dan was named “Best Writer in Prince William County (Virginia)” by readers in a “Best of Prince William 2014” poll conducted in June of that year by “Prince William Today” newspaper.

He is the author of the first two books of the “Beyond the Blue Horizon: the Story of an American Hero series, On Wings of the Morning, and On the Wings of Eagles.” Both arepublished by eLectio Publishing, Midland, Texas.

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