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How Do I Choose the Best Leather Glue?

Leather glue.
A leather purse.
Cyanoacrylate, also called superglue, is a good leather glue.
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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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Glue is an adhesive that binds substances together, and some varieties work better on specific materials like leather. Certain types of glue are renowned for their adhesive and wear-resistant capabilities, such as polyurethane glues, cements, and cyanocrylate-based glues. These glues are thus particularly strong when used as a leather glue, as are glues that are water-resistant and flexible. Further, leather glues should have durable lid sealants and lid applicators that best match the glue's use.

Of course, the most effective leather glue will possess durable adhesive abilities. A polyurethane glue may be useful for leather, as it creates a foam that seeps into small fabric gaps and forges a stronger bond when exposed to moisture. Rubber cement also works well as a leather glue because due to its fast evaporation and the rubber seal that is left behind when it evaporates. In fact, individuals that often work with leather like shoe makers and movie props workers frequently utilize rubber cement.

A good leather glue should have many other properties. For one, since leather is often worn, the glue should possess flexibility. Rubber cement is known for this quality. In addition, a leather glue should be largely water resistant, heat resistant, and it should withstand the wear that often accompanies leather use. All of these qualities characterize the animal rawhide that constitutes leather, so leather glue should be reflective of these particular properties.

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Leather glue products that contain a base known as cyanoacrylate are particularly long-lasting as well. These glues are so effective because they contain no solvents that tamper with the drying process. When refrigerated, this glue can last for years, whereas other superglues might dry out and prove unusable after only one application. Further, cyanoacrylate-based glues do not typically discolor leather.

Methods of application might be affected by the particular area where the glue will be placed. Squeeze tubes and brush-on applicators, for example, are convenient for large surface areas. If you only wish to seal a small area such as a tear, however, then you might opt for a dropper bottle. For more precise area applications, a push point applicator might be the better bet.

Opinions on products are diverse, but consumer review sites can provide a good overview of a glue brand's benefits and drawbacks. Many of these sites also offer expert opinions, comparisons, and ratings. For a more targeted evaluation of glues for leather, you might peruse the message boards of companies that sell leather products or of hobbyists that make use of leather products like motorcycle riders.

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anon966862
Post 5

I just took apart the cuff seam on a very expensive leather jacket and it's clearly rubber cement. Makes a nice flexible bond that can be taken apart for repair/alterations without much damage.

anon945651
Post 4

Do not use Gorilla glue on leather, especially for shoes. It's strong, it's waterproof and the seal holds, but it stiffens the leather to the point that the shoe is very uncomfortable to wear. Look elsewhere for bonding glue for leather.

ddljohn
Post 3

@turquoise-- Yep, contact cement works great, I've been using it for years.

Can you tell me what you will be gluing leather to? It actually makes a difference what the other material is. If you're gluing leather to leather, I recommend cement. Cement will also work for other materials like plastic, metal and wood. So you should be fine just getting this.

If you are going to be using other fabrics and if you're worried about discoloration, you might want to buy a "leather glue," also called "leather weld."

SarahGen
Post 2

@turquoise-- I have not tried contact cement.

I usually use an all purpose rubber type glue from the fabric store that lists leather among the type of ingredients it can be used on. The one I have works really well, it's durable and flexible. I'm not sure what the active ingredient in it is but I'm sure if you get a glue that says it's for leather, it will work.

turquoise
Post 1

Has anyone used contact cement for leather?

Does it hold up? Is it too stiff?

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