repair a broken ceramic cup?
February 1, 2010 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Help me repair a broken ceramic cup?

Treasured ceramic (kiln fired clay) cup fell to the floor & broke into three clean pieces. Is there any way of repairing it such that it can be used for drinking from again? Any kind of glue that will be food-safe and water-resistant?
posted by jammy to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I dropped a favorite mug and repaired it with superglue. I drink out of it all the time (I am drinking out of it right now!!!) and I seem to be doing okay. Put it through the dishwasher a couple of times if you're nervous. As long as you're not slathering glue all over the inner surface and give it time to dry properly, you'll be fine.
posted by troika at 12:49 PM on February 1, 2010

I've successfully repaired a cup using a food safe epoxy and a two day cure. Afterwords I'd be wary of putting it in the dishwasher or microwave.

Nota Bene: I would not sell a repaired cup, however, and what constitutes food-safe is a matter of some argument. There is a gov't spec, 21 CFR 177.2280, that should mark an epoxy as food safe. Gorilla epoxy is one I know conforms to the spec.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:54 PM on February 1, 2010

While I think that superglue is an acceptable glue to use for this job [it works and I don't seem to have died from using it to glue wounds back together], be warned that some people will *absolutely not* drink from a cup repaired that way. They will also probably be wary of other dishes that weren't ever broken.

Epoxy works just as well, and it will do a better job of sealing gaps if there are any tiny bits missing.

That said, a treasured cup might warrant a trip to a ceramic repair shop. It's treasure!
posted by Acari at 1:16 PM on February 1, 2010

If it is really important to you it is possible to re-fire the mug at a low temperature using a semi precious metal such as silver gold to bond the cracks. It will still be evident that it was broken at one point, but it will also have shiny metallic wabi sabi powers so it might be worth it to you.

A note, most potters will not be able to do this, its just not in the tool set of many production ceramicists. A ceramic repair shop will be able to.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:50 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

My grandmother used to repair chipped and broken dishes using Carnation canned milk. It worked great and lasted for years. But then, she didn't have a diswasher.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:34 PM on February 1, 2010

Details, ThatCanadianGirl? I'm aware of milk paints, but wasn't aware milk proteins could make a workable, water-resistant glue!
posted by IAmBroom at 5:02 AM on February 2, 2010

She would just put some Carnation milk on her finger and wet both sides of the break, then press them together firmly and hold for several seconds. Then she'd set the dish off to the side to sit for a maybe a few hours. And that's it. She hand washed her dishes, and the mended dishes always survived. But then, my grandmother was magic.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:58 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

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