How to repair a crack/gap in a plastic handle
November 12, 2020 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I recently got a piece of vintage luggage and the plastic handle got broken in transit. I managed to glue the big pieces back together with epoxy glue (specifically, this stuff). Unfortunately, it appears there was some chipping/splintering/shattering of the rather old plastic on one of the pieces when it broke, leaving a pretty big crack/gap after I glued it together. Here are some pics.

For a sense of scale, the widest part of the crack is about 3mm. What's the best approach to filling that crack? Mainly, I'm looking to reinforce the join and prevent further chipping and deterioration of the plastic but I'd also want it to be kind of aesthetically pleasing to the touch (i.e.: smooth to the neighboring surfaces, perhaps with some sanding).
posted by mhum to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Colored CA "super" glue is used to fill cracks in wood. Example
posted by Glomar response at 6:26 PM on November 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would consider Sugru for this- could either aim to get close in color or go for contrast. Can be smoothed well and will fill the gap.
posted by leslies at 7:35 PM on November 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

JB Weld would be my go to. It's got a long open time so you can smooth it before it hardens and it can be sanded afterwords. It has the consistency of nutela so you can get it into cracks without it flowing all over the place. It's food safe once cured.

Use disposable gloves when working with it and it's a good idea to mask everything but the handle in case you get a drip. Use some popsicle sticks to smooth it into place.
posted by Mitheral at 7:48 PM on November 12, 2020

> Mainly, I'm looking to reinforce the join

I'd think about drilling both halves and reinforcing it with a steel pin, on top of using the crack filling adhesive you're looking for.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:18 PM on November 12, 2020

With all the little fractures visible across the surface, I’m doubtful this handle will withstand much use regardless of how you finish the repair. That aside, I would overfill it with one of the above-mentioned products, and carve/sand flush after hardening. Mask the adjacent surfaces before filling, to reduce the mess.

JB weld seems like an excellent suggestion from a strength angle, but the gray color will be conspicuous.
posted by jon1270 at 3:37 AM on November 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, looks like JB Weld "Cold Weld" is what I'm going to try for this. Incidentally, this kind of 2-part epoxy is what Consumer Reports suggests for filling gaps, so there's that. Unfortunately, my local hardware store was out of this glue so I haven't been able to try it yet. If I do manage to try this repair before this thread gets closed, I'll update with the results.
posted by mhum at 9:56 AM on November 16, 2020

Response by poster: I finally got the glue and managed to do the repair. It went okay, I guess. It was a little tricky to sand in that area but overall it came out acceptable for me. One note: while the glue dried to a pretty dark gray color, after sanding it was much lighter.
posted by mhum at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2020

« Older Suddenly I can't see MMS messages on Android...   |   What are the best books/resources for Rapid Math... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.