glue a teapot back together
January 23, 2015 6:46 PM   Subscribe

My sainted mother shipped me a teapot, but the insert for the tea leaves broke in transit. How should I best repair it, considering that it will be sitting in hot water that I'll then drink?

I've seen people caution against the very attempt on the grounds that the expansion of the glue or epoxy or whatever will cause it to break again, or that shit will certainly leach out or whatever. I'm inclined to just use superglue, but want to avoid potential Verschlimmbesserung.
posted by kenko to Technology (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Do you need the insert to use the teapot? I put tea in a tea bag because it makes cleaning up easier. Something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/100pcs-Disposable-Filter-Bags-Loose/dp/B00HW1C7VK
posted by betweenthebars at 6:59 PM on January 23, 2015


No, but I would like to use the insert with the teapot.
posted by kenko at 7:02 PM on January 23, 2015


It really depends on the materials. My basic ceramic pot was fine after I glued it back together, but my traditional Japanese clay pot couldn't be fixed because the clay was more porous.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:06 PM on January 23, 2015


I think Gorilla Glue is supposedly food-safe and waterproof.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:09 PM on January 23, 2015


that looks like a fairly clean break. if you want to avoid glue/epoxy all together you could try wrapping a thin food-safe wire around it (and around and around and around until the pieces are held together).
posted by ghostbikes at 7:09 PM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


You can use kintsugi techniques if you want a little arts 'n crafts project.
posted by rhizome at 7:14 PM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


We've used superglue and Gorilla glue in similar situations with success. I say go for it.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:14 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if you could replace it with a ball infuser, something like this...
posted by cartoonella at 7:16 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


you want good epoxy, like gorilla epoxy or something.

i hate gorilla glue for it's gross foaminess, but epoxy can be wiped off besides the part between surfaces you want it to be on and remains strong essentially forever.

i've used it on many tea implements before(including one teabag tray that just. keeps. breaking.)
posted by emptythought at 7:21 PM on January 23, 2015


If it's new, I'd just write and ask the maker to kindly replace it for whatever the fee would be. The effort isn't worth it for what would likely not be a long-lasting result. Let alone fears of chemical ingeston from the glue. Sometimes the easiest thing is just to say to the manufacturer "it broke in shipping, not your fault, but how can I get another?" When I've had to do this I've found manufacturers to be helpful and generous.
posted by Miko at 8:18 PM on January 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Gorilla glue is polyurethane and foams. It's not really the right stuff for this. I'd try epoxy.
posted by ryanrs at 8:36 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


2nding epoxy. Specifically JB Weld. See: JBweld faqs
posted by drhydro at 9:11 PM on January 23, 2015


Sadly, my sainted mother is not the manufacturer, Miko, or I would probably do that.
posted by kenko at 9:24 PM on January 23, 2015


Milo has it. Manufacturers sell replacement parts.
posted by notned at 12:28 AM on January 24, 2015


Gorilla glue sounds like a horrible idea. I don't think epoxy is a good bet either, particularly JB Weld which is either "steel-reinforced" and ugly as shit, or clear, and no different than other clear epoxies.

In the past, I've used glues intended for ceramics, purchased sold in a grocery store, or a discount department store, and been quite happy with the result on clean breaks. I don't remember though whether the item was subject to boiling water temperatures, or was food safe.

I did come across a suggestion that you might be able to get a ceramic studio to repair it by applying some glaze and re-firing it.
posted by Good Brain at 2:31 AM on January 24, 2015


I'd check to see if the teapot lid fits into the infuser. If so then perhaps you really need the infuser, as it keeps the lid from sliding around and leaking when you pour the tea. So you'd need to either fix it or replace it.
posted by carter at 4:42 AM on January 24, 2015


my sainted mother is not the manufacturer, Miko, or I would probably do that.

I didn't think so, but I assumed that she bought it and perhaps she knows who is. eBay is another place to find parts.
posted by Miko at 4:49 AM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry to say that I wouldn't use it if it's been glued together if you want to keep it for posterity, I also wouldn't want to drink epoxy. Perhaps glue it back together - conservators use reversible adhesives, usually something called Acryloid B-72 (but not the barrier coat solution, which is most commonly available), but the type of adhesive varies based on the type of ceramic - and then when you use the pot just throw the leaves in and use a separate strainer over the cup when you pour.

If you're not really concerned about doing this with best conservation practice in mind, and can give up using it to brew the tea, then clear epoxy is okay. Biggest thing to remember is to use WAY less epoxy than you think, because that stuff spreads and will glob up around the edges of the cracks. Impossible to get off after (see recent news stories about King Tut's mask.)





posted by AliceBlue at 6:08 AM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


http://www.lakesidepottery.com/Pages/Pottery-tips/epoxies-vs-cyanoacrylate-super-glue-crazy-glue-ceramic-china-repair.htm
posted by AliceBlue at 6:09 AM on January 24, 2015


Nice teapot. I would not glue together something like that insert and use it repeatedly with hot water. Any glue that would hold well would likely not be good for your health.

Hopefully you can find the manufacturer's name either from your mother, or if it came in a box you can check that, and contact them and ask them for a replacement, as Miko suggests. Breakage like this happens, and most people are glad to help under these circumstances.

I also think this idea is intriguing: I did come across a suggestion that you might be able to get a ceramic studio to repair it by applying some glaze and re-firing it.

Not as pretty, but your other option would be to get either the medium or large version of this tea brewing basket (it comes with a lid that can also be used as a saucer for it), and use it in your teapot instead of the ceramic one (link goes to the large size but check the size of your teapot to see whether the medium or large size would fit; from the photo of the insert the medium might work best.) I own the medium version of this tea brewing basket and use it in mugs or teapots and love it (works better than the ceramic ones to my mind since the mesh is more porous and is also better at catching the leaves).
posted by gudrun at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2015


I'm a satisfier in most things - in this case I would glue it back together with some type of appropriate epoxy and buy a stainless infuser to use with the actual teapot. You still have the infuser but you're not risking some future side effect with the epoxy.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:11 AM on January 24, 2015


Milo [sic] has it. Manufacturers sell replacement parts.

Bing & Gr√łndahl seem not to exist any more, at least not under that name, though I suppose there are sites that specifically stock and sell pieces of sets... I'll probably just go with the wire solution.
posted by kenko at 10:37 AM on January 24, 2015


Looks like a lot of their stuff is on eBay. Interesting maker. Maybe keep an eye out there.
posted by Miko at 12:53 PM on January 24, 2015


If you can find a local pottery craftsperson, they might be able to glue it back together with glaze and re-fire it. You certainly wouldn't taste a glass joint.
posted by flabdablet at 4:29 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wired together successfully, though I may see about finding a potter.
posted by kenko at 5:04 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bing & Gr√łndahl seem not to exist any more, at least not under that name

The website appears to be having some issues atm, but the company long ago became a line sold by Royal Copenhagen. Their customer service is at least worth a shout.

As for epoxies, there are allegedly advances in the food-grade arena, but I mostly found marketing materials. YMMV.
posted by dhartung at 10:10 AM on January 25, 2015


OH OH OH is this possibly a chance to use the services of Replacements Ltd? Please say yes! They do, in fact, have a Bing and Grondahl page!
posted by Madamina at 6:30 PM on January 25, 2015


I've actually used them before!
posted by kenko at 9:02 PM on January 25, 2015


However, they don't have anything for this pot.
posted by kenko at 9:08 PM on January 25, 2015


Man, I was looking around the web and couldn't find anything that looked like what I could see of that pot.

Could you (if you're interested) post a pic of the pot and the maker's mark?
posted by Madamina at 10:30 PM on January 25, 2015


I don't know if this will help in your case, but once you have held the two pieces together effectively, you could try boiling it in in milk for 30 minutes. The milk fills the crack and then solidifies - and it may work as a kind of glue. I read about this on the net somewhere when I had a porcelain teacup that had a hairline crack in it - it was quite effective in sealing the crack but I can't vouch for its long-term adhesive qualities. Nevertheless, I think you have nothing to lose by trying it, as unlike glue it neither leaches chemicals into your tea nor becomes so hard that it is impossible to remove if you decide to take the re-glaze option.
posted by guy72277 at 5:56 AM on January 26, 2015


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