Doing fillets with Titebond Quick and Thick

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
I've had varied experience filleting my LPR models. Initially I used Titebond No Run/No Drip (previously Titebond Molding and Trim), now I have a bottle of Titebond Quick and Thick, which is basically the same stuff, with one key difference. After doing a bunch of fillets last night, I thought I'd jot down my thoughts this morning while it's still fresh in my mind.

In general, this stuff is great, but there are definitely caveats, and specific techniques to use to get best results.

As mentioned, I started 3 years ago with this stuff:
Fillets-4.jpg

I ditched the original nozzle (same as the normal TBII nozzle) and put on my own Elmer's cap to allow for more precise application. More on this in a moment.

Now I'm using this, shown here for some reason without the cap:
Fillets-3.jpg

Again, this seems to be the exact same glue. However, note that the nozzle is new. Instead of the standard TBII nozzle with a pop-up tip, this one is just a hollow piece of plastic with a slit in the end, and a separate little white cap piece to seal it for storage. Here's the business end:
Fillets-5.jpg

I've decided that this is a significant improvement. The consistency of this glue is very thick, almost marshmallow-y (especially as it ages). It benefits greatly from having an unimpeded path out the nozzle. That fine nozzle on my old bottle was a total failure. It worked initially, but has a strong tendency to clog up, and cleaning it is a pain. Thus far the new nozzle has stayed open and functional. Furthermore, although the slot is pretty wide, the glue flows slowly enough that I've found I can generate pretty consistent and fine beads once I get in the swing of things.

If necessary, you can simply tape over part of the nozzle to make it smaller and reduce the flow. I haven't needed to so far. Something sort of like this (shown on my TBII bottle).
nozzletape.JPG

To state the obvious: keep the nozzle clean. Wipe off any gunk before using it. Normally the little white cap will keep the slot open, but always check before starting.

Now, to actually make fillets.

The advantage of this glue is that it doesn't flow, so you can do all your fillets at once. Wherever you put it it's going to stay put. However, like regular TBII it does shrink a *lot*. You're not easily going to get epoxy-like fillets with this stuff, unless you're willing to do a lot of layers. Normally for LPR I don't care, but have realistic expectations.

The key to actually laying the fillets is to dispense the correct amount of glue. Much like making pancakes, I find that the first one I do in a session is not great; by the second (or maybe even third) fillet I've got the feel and get perfect beads. There is also the possibility of some slightly dried or thickened bits of glue hanging around near the nozzle, which will interfere with the flow. So squeezing out some glue onto a paper towel first is is a good idea, so that you can verify the glue is flowing smoothly through the nozzle.

Ideally you want to put in just *slightly* more than the exact correct amount of glue. Too much excess with this stuff really makes a mess. Don't squeeze too hard and keep the bottle moving steadily. Don't worry if you have a small gap in the glue here or there. Keep moving. And typically you don't need to go all the way to the end. Here was a short but really good one I did last night:
Fillets-1.jpg
Nice and steady, just a bit of gap at each end. When I pull from the middle to the end, the excess on my finger will fill the ends. If it doesn't, I'll just apply a tiny dab at the end and pull it smooth.

Before pulling the fillet, dip your finger in water and then blot the excess. Using a wet finger is mandatory. Pull from the middle to each end, and don't press too hard. If you've laid in the correct amount of glue, you'll only pull a little bit of extra off on your finger. Further, you won't have large spreads of glue working their way up the sides of the fin and the body tube. That means you either put on too much glue or pushed too hard with your finger.

Then clean off your finger. Seriously. Wipe off the glue, then wet it again. This stuff is *sticky* having excess glue on your finger will create a mess on your rocket. DON'T SKIMP ON THIS STEP.

If the fillet didn't come out perfectly smooth, you can pull it again if you work quickly and have your finger sufficiently clean and damp. Just do the same thing again. After two pulls it should look good. Here's a 12" fillet that I really nailed last night.
Fillets-2.jpg

Sometimes, despite my best efforts, I do push extra glue up on to the fin and BT. When the fillet is done, I immediately run a clean wet finger (or maybe even a damp paper towel) over the excess to remove it. Don't work too close to the fillet or you will risk messing it up.

After the glue is dry, it is almost perfectly clear. This can make it hard to tell how good the fillet is. Sight down it from the end to see it there are any gaps. I usually do a second layer on all my fillets, and at that point everything is good.

Once in a while a little lump in the glue finds its way into a fillet, interrupting the beautiful smoothness:
Fillets-6.jpg

Usually this will mostly disappear when dry. But it's another reminder to keep the nozzle clean, so bits like this won't collect in there.

So that's it. To summarize the most important points:
1) Keep the nozzle clean.
2) Make sure the flow is good and steady before you start on the rocket. Squeeze out extra onto a paper towel before you start.
3) Don't apply too much glue into the fillet. Try to get an even bead.
4) Always pull from the middle towards the ends, especially on longer fillets.
5) Keep your fingers damp and *clean* (I can't emphasize this enough)
6) Don't be surprised when your beautiful wet fillet turns clear shrinks down into near invisibility when dry. It's still there and doing its job.

I hope this helps someone. This glue is great but it's easy to make a mess of it if you're rushing or not paying attention to what you're doing.
 
Last edited:

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
11,664
Reaction score
3,508
Location
Pasco, WA
You can add to the list: Store bottle tip down, this keeps the thick glue ready to use without waiting for it to run downside of bottle and any glue in contact with air tends to be a bit thicker so by storing upside down the thicker stuff is further from the nozzle. Storing drying oils like linseed, tung oil, safflower oils are done this way to keep the lids from sealing over and the surface of the product from "skinning over". I made a simple rack with a hole for the tips large diameter to sit in and keep the bottle vertical and inverted.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,637
Reaction score
498
Thanks for those great tips Neil. It should save me a lot of time getting consistently good fillets and not having to later do "touch ups" on low spots and inconsistencies with wood putty to get that smoothly blended fin-to-body tube look.
 

Nytrunner

Pop lugs, not drugs
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
8,011
Reaction score
3,760
Location
Huntsville AL
I've been using TBQ&T for two years but never used a wet finger. Always assumed a sticky finger just kinda went with the territory.

This Leviathan's fillet job went by so much quicker and with less fuss. Although due to the larger fillets needed on larger models, I do give a pair 12mins rest before indexing for the next.
 

BEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
4,866
Reaction score
1,680
Location
Auburn, WA
Wet finger is key.

A short length of BT-60 or BT-70 can be used to to hold the bottle upside down as well. It just needs to be long enough that the spout/cap clears the table.

My two bottles of the stuff with the first name they used have the tip and cap you describe for the new one. I sure hope I can find more when these are gone....
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
I've been using TBQ&T for two years but never used a wet finger. Always assumed a sticky finger just kinda went with the territory.

This Leviathan's fillet job went by so much quicker and with less fuss. Although due to the larger fillets needed on larger models, I do give a pair 12mins rest before indexing for the next.
I too have tended to get lazy and not be as diligent about following the rules I wrote down in the first post. And then I end up with a sticky mess, and glue boogers all over the place. For this last project, with 12" fillets to pull, I realized I really need to do it the Right Way, and it worked so well and so much easier that I figured I ought to write it down. :)

I haven't tried to make large fillets on a larger rocket like the Leviathan. Other than giving it some time before rotating, did you do anything else differently? Can you show a picture of the finished fillets?

My two bottles of the stuff with the first name they used have the tip and cap you describe for the new one. I sure hope I can find more when these are gone....
Well I hope they stay with the Quick and Thick name and bottle for a while. The new nozzle is good, and it's probably the best and catchiest name for the product.

Or it could be like Pledge/Future, where they'll just keep changing the product name every 12 minutes to ensure that no one will ever be able to find it.
 

BDB

Absent Minded Professor
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Messages
2,372
Reaction score
658
I never thought to pull from the middle. I just always go from front to back. Do you ever have problems with the starting point in the middle being uneven?
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
I never thought to pull from the middle. I just always go from front to back. Do you ever have problems with the starting point in the middle being uneven?
Generally no. For the second pull I overlap the start of the first pull ever so slightly and it comes out even (wet finger!!!). Although it's admittedly a hard angle to really see it clearly, if you look at the second to last picture I took of my 12" fillet I think you'd be hard pressed to find the middle point.

Pulling from the middle is not mandatory, but I like it for two reasons:
1) The ends invariably come out better. Pulling in from an edge never works well for me. And this way you don't need to extend the glue bead all the way to the edge (see 3rd to last pic), reducing excess.
2) When you pull from one end, there is eventually 2x as much excess on your finger by the time you reach the end, resulting in a bigger smear of excess on the fin and BT at that end. Sizing the bead just right can mostly mitigate this, but in case you're a little generous with the bead then pulling from the middle will help.

Again, it's a fairly small optimization, but I like it. For very long fillets, #2 can be a big benefit.

I realize that in my first post I didn't discuss the possibility of masking the fillets, like you would normally do with epoxy. I generally don't bother with Titebond fillets; tried it in the past but too much effort for too little benefit IMHO. If you do mask them, then that *mostly* eliminates benefit #2.
 

Nytrunner

Pop lugs, not drugs
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
8,011
Reaction score
3,760
Location
Huntsville AL
I haven't tried to make large fillets on a larger rocket like the Leviathan. Other than giving it some time before rotating, did you do anything else differently? Can you show a picture of the finished fillets?

Because of the larger fin/body size, I will use multiple coats to build it up. I had no formalized system, but I just realized I've pretty much been doing 1 layer per ~inch of body tube (after the initial seam of TBII to lock in place). The Partizon/Argent/Ventris got 2, Leviathan got 3, Long Tom's wings got 4-5 (that took awhile, but they don't crack!)

So for high-power wood glue;
-Lay an initial bead of TBII for strength
-Apply bead of TBQ&T and do everything Neil mentioned above
-Build up layers appropriately w/ ~12 mins set time before rotating (more glue -> more chance to sag)

I'll post a photo later (even though they're all dry now)

Or it could be like Pledge/Future, where they'll just keep changing the product name every 12 minutes to ensure that no one will ever be able to find it.

Hilarious
 

Nytrunner

Pop lugs, not drugs
TRF Supporter
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
8,011
Reaction score
3,760
Location
Huntsville AL
Here's a good one on the Leviathan. It's really hard to take a picture of the aesthetic fillet, because it dries friggin transparent. All you see is the magnified TBII seam at the root.

20181023_203837.jpg

Here's a couple of the wing fillets on 5.5" Long Tom. These are a little rougher on the edges because they were done with my normal dry (sticky) finger.

20181023_204453.jpg 20181023_204318.jpg
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
Nice. Those Long Tom fillets are beautiful, rough edges or not. Sure is easier to see the fillets when they're painted.

The Leviathan fillets look very clean also. Best way to see or show them before paint is to really sight right down the fillet. Almost any elevation in camera angle will cause them to disappear.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,637
Reaction score
498
Sorry to necro a thread, but beware if you try to order this from Amazon. The bottle I got was totally solid. Stick to your LHS.
Thanks for the warning. Beware, third party sellers on Amazon are not only gouging, but we've been receiving a lot of products past their shelf life expiration date and/or dented or outright damaged. Not only that but even if we pay for shipping, it comes via the slowest route possible, and that's in addition to the sometimes long delay before it's even shipped.
 

bjphoenix

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
1,399
Reaction score
506
I'm going to revive an old thread too, but I don't think it is all that old.

I've seen recommendations to use Q&T so I bought a tube of it to try. Previously I was using Titebond II. I would typically put on 2 layers of TBII, pull it as smooth as I could, and I would get reasonably good results. I didn't have any problem getting smooth fillets but that stuff would shrink a lot so it needed 2 layers put on fairly thick. TBII takes a long time to dry, and I could only do 2 fillets at one time with the rocket laying on its side to keep the glue where I wanted it.

I've been trying the Q&T the past few days. It allowed me to put on all fillets at the same time but it took more careful technique to get the stuff smoothed out. I noticed that the Q&T also shrinks a lot so I'm going to try 2 thick layers, but in addition to putting on all the fillets at one time this stuff dries quicker. It seems more prone to me to have little bubbles. If I put it on thick and go over it a couple of times with my finger I can get the bubbles out.

I will try the wet finger trick mentioned above. Also I had already decided that it would be best to store the bottle upside down.
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
A thick layer of TBII forms an airtight skin when drying, and as a result the glue underneath takes an astonishingly long time to dry (if ever). Somehow the Q&T formulation avoids that, so it dries nice and steadily.

My current practice is to start with a very thin TBII fillet, where very thin means removing almost all the glue with my finger except what's in the joint. This ensures that all the very small nooks and crannies in the joint are filled with glue (the Q&T seems to be too thick to flow into very small cavities). These fillets dry very very quickly, so I can do all of them in a few minutes and then move onto the Q&T.

Definitely try the damp finger. :)
 

bjphoenix

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
1,399
Reaction score
506
A thick layer of TBII forms an airtight skin when drying, and as a result the glue underneath takes an astonishingly long time to dry (if ever). Somehow the Q&T formulation avoids that, so it dries nice and steadily.
The work I've been doing lately with fillets- the TBII seems to take about 12 hours in my hot garage to dry. I just make it a habit to do one set of fillets first thing in the morning, the next at night, then again the next morning, etc. I've seen other reports of much longer drying time. Maybe it's because my garage is so hot, maybe I'm not putting it on as thick as I thought.
I've occasionally done internal fillets on front centering rings by dribbling on the glue from the top of the tube and those fillets can get pretty thick so that takes longer to dry but the time doesn't matter because I do this early in the construction and it gets to dry during all of the fillets and painting process.
With the drying time it takes me 4 days to do 2 layers of fillet on a 4-fin rocket, with the Q&T I can do the same in one day.
 

mh9162013

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 25, 2022
Messages
675
Reaction score
425
Location
Western, KY
The work I've been doing lately with fillets- the TBII seems to take about 12 hours in my hot garage to dry. I just make it a habit to do one set of fillets first thing in the morning, the next at night, then again the next morning, etc. I've seen other reports of much longer drying time. Maybe it's because my garage is so hot, maybe I'm not putting it on as thick as I thought.
I've occasionally done internal fillets on front centering rings by dribbling on the glue from the top of the tube and those fillets can get pretty thick so that takes longer to dry but the time doesn't matter because I do this early in the construction and it gets to dry during all of the fillets and painting process.
With the drying time it takes me 4 days to do 2 layers of fillet on a 4-fin rocket, with the Q&T I can do the same in one day.
Is there a reason to use Titebond III instead of Titebond (original) or Titebond II? From looking at the bottles, it seems like the biggest benefit from III is the waterproofness. But unless your rocket isn't painted and you plan to land it in a lot of dew-covered grass (or fly in rain...is that even allowed by the NAR code? I mean, you're not even allowed to wear blue during a launch, so who knows...) I see no benefit to using Titebond III on a model rocket.
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
Is there a reason to use Titebond III instead of Titebond (original) or Titebond II? From looking at the bottles, it seems like the biggest benefit from III is the waterproofness. But unless your rocket isn't painted and you plan to land it in a lot of dew-covered grass (or fly in rain...is that even allowed by the NAR code? I mean, you're not even allowed to wear blue during a launch, so who knows...) I see no benefit to using Titebond III on a model rocket.
I think that is generally accurate... although I believe the working time with TBIII is longer, maybe less grabby. I am happy using TBII.
1662911711811.png
 

BigMacDaddy

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
1,603
Location
Northern NJ
Thanks for sharing this -- I have an unopened tube of this stuff for just this purpose but have not tried it yet. Will follow these instructions when I get the courage.
 

hobie1dog

Subaholic
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
11,863
Reaction score
8,602
Location
Cornelius,NC
Seems like when I tried to sand the fillet down a little bit and get this as even as possible of a fillet, that I have to wait about 4 to 5 days, or otherwise it comes up in small little clumps as if it's not dry yet
 

Back_at_it

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2019
Messages
1,422
Reaction score
1,374
Location
Chicago Burbs.
I'm with Neil on this one. I use TBII or TBIII for the initial bond and the first coat or two of my fillets. I do this as TBII and TBIII are thinner and tend to soak deeper into the materials. The downside to this is that you need to coat both surfaces and let it sit then go back and recoat before bonding as the majority of the glue will have soaked in. Interestingly I don't have the drying issues with either of these glues. TBII seems to dry the quicker and I can usually handle the rocket in 25-30 mins.

I'll then come back and do my fillets with thick and quick as I can easily get dead smooth fillets that don't shrink as much. I also prefer thick and quick for couplers and tube connections as it is so thick that it doesn't grab.
 
Last edited:

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
I confess I briefly experimented with Quick and Thick for things other than fillets and quickly abandoned the idea. Too sticky and messy to work with for my taste. Great for fillets (did I mention keep your fingers damp and clean? :) ) but for almost everything else I'll choose an alternative.

But as always, whatever works for you.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2011
Messages
271
Reaction score
177
Location
Lebanon,IN
I do a couple of filet rounds with TBIII, then switch to white glue for 2-3 rounds. White glue is not as strong, but is does not shrink when drying, so you get a nice finish. This is the techniques used by people who want nice finishes for display. They also avoid using yellow glue for centering rings-shrinking glue on the centering rings will create visible lines in body tubes. They use epoxy for centering rings to avoid the lines.
 

jqavins

Слава Україні
TRF Supporter
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Messages
8,566
Reaction score
4,848
Location
Howard, NY
I've been meaning to try T&Q for a long time; maybe the revival of this thread will help kick me into action.

Just a few questions/comments. I've used TB, TBII, TBIII, Elmers wood glue, Gorilla wood glue, and maybe there've been others of the sort. I've never found any to make any difference worth noticing. I won't say they're all the same, but they might as well be.

Doing fillets with those, I find I can move the rocket after an hour, maybe less, but I'm more comfortable leaving it longer. Two or three hours is plenty. But then I end up doing one set at bed time and another on the way out the door in the morning because that's when I can easily steal a moment to do it, and that works out well.

But none of that has anything to do with T&Q. Regarding the wet finger, one hears the same for pulling epoxy fillets, and they say to use a finger wet with alcohol rather than water. Has anyone tried an alcohol finger with T&Q? Does it work any better or worse than with water?
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,503
Reaction score
7,989
Location
Northern NJ
But none of that has anything to do with T&Q. Regarding the wet finger, one hears the same for pulling epoxy fillets, and they say to use a finger wet with alcohol rather than water. Has anyone tried an alcohol finger with T&Q? Does it work any better or worse than with water?
Damp with water works perfectly. If you want to experiment with alcohol, go right ahead and please post your results here. It'll probably work fine, and may be preferable in some sense since it'll evaporate much more quickly. I probably will stick with water either way, but am interested to hear your results.
 

BEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
4,866
Reaction score
1,680
Location
Auburn, WA
But none of that has anything to do with T&Q. Regarding the wet finger, one hears the same for pulling epoxy fillets, and they say to use a finger wet with alcohol rather than water. Has anyone tried an alcohol finger with T&Q? Does it work any better or worse than with water?
Alcohol makes sense with epoxy for the same reason water does with T&Q (or other water-based glues) — alcohol can be used to clean un-cured epoxy off of where it is not wanted. Agree with neil_w: if you try it, share the results.
 
Top