Hello, and welcome to week two of the Bicitoro crafting with recycled inner tube series. I’ve really been enjoying myself researching this and putting it all together, and I hope you’re learning some new tricks, too.
This week I’m going to be talking about gluing inner tubes. There’s a couple reasons you might want to do this.
- Double-thick inner tube rubber won’t curl in on itself (I used this principle to make earring charms).
- It’s an easy, secure way to finish off a small project (like this zipper pull).
- It can also help waterproof seams, for a bag or some such.
Last fall I spent a couple hours with my dad out in his shop, trying to figure out how to glue layers of inner tube rubber together. I had pitched Momentum Magazine a couple of DIY tutorials for their winter issue, one of which was making a reflective mudflap out of recycled inner tubes. I was sure it would work, but as usual I’d put off writing the article until the last minute.
So here we were, only days before my deadline, hunting through his shop for something–anything–that would work.
We decided to try some vulcanizing rubber that he uses to patch holes in tractor inner tubes, because that seemed like the best bet. It was also similar to the glue used in bicycle inner tube patch kits, so I figured most cyclists would have easy access to it. We dutifully scuffed up the rubber with the little cheese grater thing, then applied the glue according to directions.
We were stumped. None of his fancy spendy glues would do the trick.
Panicking slightly, I set out to the hardware store. In the adhesives aisle I spotted a lowly tube of contact cement. Now, I’d brushed aside contact cement as an option earlier–surely I’d need something more specialized, I thought.
Nope. Contact cement really does the trick. I made up the mudflap, wrote up the article, and breathed a sigh of relief. I rode with the mudflap all winter, and it’s still as solid as ever!
Come back Friday, when I’ll post the original mudflap tutorial that first turned me on to contact cement.
Have you ever tried to glue inner tubes? What products have you used? What are your favorites?