General Purpose Tools

Barge Cement


All-purpose cobbler's glue

My dad used Barge Cement for various things on his boat since I was a child. It is actually a cobbler’s glue, but it works with just about anything. It is a bit hard to find and there are inferior products touting the same uses (less toxic), but nothing is as good as Barge. I mainly use it for leather – hems, applique, etc., but I have also used it to glue a flat-bottomed birdhouse onto a flat-cut tree trunk, to tack down wallpaper seams that have lifted, to hold wood seams prior to screws being put in place, to secure a rubber foot to a chair leg, or the chair leg to the seat when wood glue has failed – just about anything you wouldn’t use Crazy Glue for. In a pinch, Barge can fill the need of many sewing jobs (not buttons, though).

Barge Cement does what you really want rubber cement to do when its hold isn’t enough. It takes some dexterity to use, and it is difficult to remove from skin or clothes (there is a Barge Cement Thinner), but it dries quickly and sets up a strong, waterproof bond.

Barge Cement typically comes in a tube, like toothpaste. I got really tired of getting to the end of the tube and then having to hunt it down, so I bought a gallon of it (with the thinner) at a great price from Filmtools. Now I cut the empty tub open at the end, fill it, and recrimp it. Otherwise I use old Tupperware to seal and store it, and then apply it with a disposable paint brush.

-- Nancy Niche 12/29/10