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The HIPURformer Kit comes with the gun, base, cord and three types of polyurethane, two for wood plus one for bonding anything else to anything else!
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Titebond HiPURformer Advanced Bonding System

Hot melt polyurethane = strength with speed!

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

Posted - 5-11-205

   Hot melt glue guns have been around for a long time but enjoyed limited interest in the woodworking community. The problem has been the perception (right or wrong) that glue sticks were meant for craft use and did not provide sufficient bond strength for woodworking. The HiPURformer System from Titebond uses specialized hot melt polyurethane adhesives, applied with a quality “gun” that bring bond and speed capabilities that should interest virtually any woodworker.

Initial Impressions

   The HiPURformer System comes in a nice carry/storage case that actually has enough room to get all of the components back into it after unpacking the first time. The case is plastic, but well made.

The charging base has lights that show the progress of heating. The red light here shows it's not ready yet. The green light below comes on when the unit is ready to be used.
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   Also included is a German-made application gun by Steinel that appears very well made. The gun slips into a free-standing “charging” (heating) base that is the only part connected to electricity. In use, the gun is cordless.

   The kit comes with three varieties of the Titebond polyurethane cartridges, two for wood-to-wood bonds and one Multi-Purpose. Set times range from 30 to 75-seconds with full-strength cure in 24 hours.

Steinel Applicator System

   Rather than having the gun itself connected to electrical power, the Steinel system uses a heating base into which the gun is plugged. It takes between 10 and 13 minutes to reach operating temperature after which the gun is removed from the base and can be used for up to 20 minutes before having to be re heated.

   The Steiner gun uses a trigger/plunger system that is comfortable to the hand, nicely made and functions very well. The Steiner gun in this kit has several internal improvements over previous models that make it easier to use and more durable.

Polyurethane Cartridges

The cartridges are inserted in the barrel just as they come from the package. Only after heating is the screw-on cap removed for use.
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   Titebond has developed a new breed of adhesive cartridges, specially designed for use in the Steiner applicator gun. The cartridges are inserted into the barrel of the gun as they come from their packages. After heating, the screw-on cap is removed for use and then replaced for storage until that cartridge is used again.

   To control the messy "drooling" so common to hot melt guns, a special silicone washer-like FLX-Valve, is built into the cartridge at the base of the spout. Titebond claims this valve controls drool, enhances bead control and ensures repeated use of the cartridge until the adhesive is exhausted. We found little to prove that claim wrong.

In The Shop

   The toughest part of using the HiPURformer System is waiting the 10 to 13 minutes for the base to heat the adhesive the first time. It seems long when you sit around thinking about it but in reality, its not bad at all.

The Steinel gun makes it easy to lay just the right sized bead for the job.
Note that the glue is clear when hot. When it cools, it turns a milky white translucent color.
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In most situations, if I remember to plug the base in first, by the time I have the parts to be glued prepared, the HiPURformer System is ready.

   In addition to the strength and speed of the high-tech polyurethane hot melt adhesive, just being able to go cordless can be a huge advantage in a woodworking shop where electrical outlets are either A: Filled or B: Not where you need them. The gun is small and agile enough to make putting a dab of glue virtually anywhere needed easier than driving a nail.

   With the WW30 cartridge fully heated, as indicated by the lights on the base, I removed the gun from the base, unscrewed the cap and began sticking wood to wood, often in positions I'd rather not attempt with conventional liquid adhesives.

A piece of hard maple was glued to red oak. When broken, wood pulled from both pieces with virtually no failure of the glue.
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   While the cartridges do seem to inhibit oozing of the adhesive in most cases we found that the first time a cartridge was used, glue would drip from the spout when the cap is removed. I suspect this is caused by the cartridges being full and the adhesive expanding somewhat when heated. After dispensing a small quantity of the adhesive from the new cartridge, oozing is minor and very controllable.

   The interaction between the trigger and plunger is smooth and made controlling the amount of adhesive dispensed easy. The size of the spout seems perfect for all of the woodworking applications I could think of and made it possible to put the right amount of adhesive exactly where desired.

   With very little practice, I learned to judge how much adhesive to apply to firmly stick the pieces together without getting a lot of squeeze out. In its heated state, the polyurethane flows well and spreads itself between two pieces of wood pushed together by hand. With such short set times, I chose not to use clamps for any of the test bonds made with the HiPURformer System.

Red oak glued to red oak also produced failure confined to the wood, not the glue joint.
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   I glued up a selection of scraps in the shop using the WW30 polyurethane. A 1"-long bead was applied to a piece of red oak for each of the red oak, hard maple and pine sample sticks. Each piece was pressed into a bead, held in place for 30 seconds and left to cure. Each of the bonds felt very strong after 5 minutes but all were allowed to cure over night.

   The next day I broke all of the samples and found the wood failed on either side of each bond with virtually no evidence that the polyurethane itself failed in any of the joints made. Not very scientific but I think it does show that the polyurethane develops a very strong bond under the conditions of my garage shop. With nothing but wood failing, that strength is more than sufficient for any woodworking chore I may need. I suspect the same can be said for adhesive related tasks in your shop as well.

Conclusions

   The HiPURformer System has all the capabilities to make it a valuable addition to virtually any

woodworking shop. The speed and strength of the bonds it creates could make installing moldings and other decorative pieces fast, strong and fastener free. Actually, any type of joint could make use of the HiPURformer System as long as it can be assembled and aligned within the set time. The strength of the bonds developed exceeds that of any wood I could find so the limits are strictly related to assembly time and nothing more.   

The street price of $99.99 (5-10-2005) for the HiPURformer System Kit, combined with the small amounts of adhesive used per joint make this system an economical way to grow the capabilities of your shop.

   Think of all the brad and nail money you will save!

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