How to Use Thin CA Glue as a High Gloss Finish for Knife Handles

Knives have been a popular commodity when it comes to kitchen hardware and knife making. Super glue is greatly used in bonding the blade and the handle together, but it doesn’t stop there. This might be surprising to hear, but super glue can also be used as a high gloss finish.

Many knife makers and hobbyists use super glue as their only means of finish for knife handles. Super glue, also known as cyanoacrylate or ca glue, can work as a clear surface coating for any wooden surface, but in this blog, we will specifically talk about using super glue as a knife handle high gloss finish.

Not every type of ca glue can work as a finish. Regular super glue is far too thick to be an effective ca finish. For finishing knife handles, thin ca glue is the most effective. This is because thinner ca glues come out consistent and even. When it comes to the finish of a knife handle, you want the coat to be as smooth as possible. Thicker ca glues can dry bumpy and could require more sanding.

What to use?


When it comes to knife handle finishing, specifically use thin CA glue.

This special thin cyanoacrylate dries instantly. To speed up the cure even faster, use instant glue accelerator.

Our super thin ca glue is one of the thinnest on the market. It has the viscosity closest to water, so it can fill pores on wooden surfaces, protect wood from oxidation and color change, show off fine burls, and polish to a beautiful high gloss finish.

Finishing with Thin CA

Make sure to use lax gloves. Any wet glue you touch will crystallize white due to the moisture from your hand. Any crystallization or foam you find must be sanded off. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area. Wear a respirator mask if you are not in a well-ventilated area.

To apply the thin ca glue, you will need cotton pads or shop towels. Fold the cotton pad or shop towel into a 2-inch square piece. Before applying make sure the wood is clean of dirt, dust, or gunk. Pour a small amount of cyanoacrylate glue onto the pad, and with long even strokes, apply it onto the wood of the knife handle. Keep applying long even strokes until the cure slows, then spray it with accelerator. Other brand accelerators create foam or air in the ca glue.

Apply the thin ca glue and spray the accelerator to a coating of about 1/16 of an inch. If pieces of cotton come off the pad and stick onto the glue, do not worry, just sand them off. Do not allow anything to get onto the glue without sanding it off immediately first. When enough coats have been applied, about 40-50 if you are feeling ambitious, start sanding with 400-grit sandpaper. Proceed through with 600-grit, 800-grit, and 1200-grit sandpapers. For an even higher gloss, polish by hand with a high-quality car polishing compound.


  • You will need to be patient. If this is your first-time finishing, it can take a couple tries.
  • Remember, humidity or heat can speed the cure.
  • A full cure takes about 24 hours.
  • Failures can come from the natural oils in the wood or from moisture that gets trapped.
  • Do not blow on it to dry it. Let it dry naturally.
  • Do not apply too many coats on too quickly.
  • Chips or scratches can be healed with a drop of glue in the cleaned chip or scratch and then sanded and polished out again.
  • The more coats you apply and the finer grits of sandpaper you use, the slicker and glassier it will be.