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first round of trial and error done, I'd like to coffee-talk

Lessons learned:

  • I had no idea that one must clean off the latex before applying adhesive; otherwise, the adhesive will not stick not one bit not at all. Whoopsies. So now having perused this forum for solutions, I've ordered some acetone off Amazon. But is there any agreed-upon preference between acetone or mineral spirits? Are they all sufficient for wiping down latex sheeting that's fresh off the roll and ready to be assembled into apparel?
  • I also had no idea that it bodes well to allow the adhesive to...evaporate a bit? Cure for, I guess, a minute or so before creating a seam/adhering two pieces of latex together? Is there a concrete amount of time to let it set? Is there any difference in how solvent-based and ammonia-based adhesives set?
  • After scouring the Internet for recommendations on adhesive, I went with Best-Test rubber cement adhesive and Bestine solvent & thinner. But then I went back to the MJTrends video tutorials and found a video on subpar (yet unnamed) adhesives that end up staining and eating away at latex, after a long enough period of time. Now, as someone who is starting a small business of constructing latex garments, this has me worried. Is Best-Test an adhesive that's not ideal for latex apparel? How could I know? Should I assume it's not fit for the task and instead purchase the solvent-based adhesive that MJTrends sells?


Response by: JP, April 13th 2018 3:57:03 pm

Cleaning - many solvents can damage latex, so be careful.  The solvent MJ Trends sells for their solvent-based cement works very well for cleaning, too.  Heptane is an excellent solvent, but make sure you're getting a good grade to avoid contaminants that might attack the latex.

You want the adhesive to dry completely before attaching seams -- it should be just a tacky film on the surface of the sheet, not liquid at all.  If you're using solvent based adhesive, you'll see the surface texture change, it will shrink to a much thinner film, and the swelling/curling caused by the solvent will go away so the sheet lies flat on its own.  With water based adhesive, it will go from white to fully transparent.  If there's any solvent or water left in the adhesive when you stick the surfaces together, it will stay trapped in the cement for a long time, weakening the joint.  (It will *eventually* evaporate out through the material, but the joint could be weak for days.)

When using general-market rubber cements like Best, you want to make sure you're getting an acid-free "archival" grade.  Browning and rot are driven by sulfur compounds and acids in cement that isn't intended for permanent use on sensitive materials.