Choosing the Right Glue for Your Trunk Kit
Alien Enclosures specializes in providing customizable package trays, trunk panel kits and the like for classic car owners and enthusiasts. We design our trunk kits for the do-it-yourselfers, and one of the biggest parts to upholstery will be what bonds your fabric or vinyl material to your trunk kit. We want to show a few different adhesive choices you could potentially use to upholster one of our custom trunk panel kits. We will give you a rundown on the most common adhesives that upholstery shops may use.
Let’s get to know the products:
3M SUPER 77 – High coverage, versatile – securely bonds many lightweight materials, low soak-in for long-lasting bonds, fast, aggressive tack, and long bonding range.
DAP WELDWOOD TOP & TRIM CONTACT ADHESIVE – The ideal contact cement for automotive interior applications. Its high heat resistance is well suited for adhering headliners, fabric, and many other materials during automobile refurbishment.
3M HI-STRENGTH 90 – Fast, high contact bond strength, high-temperature resistance, low misting, precise spray control, variable-width spray pattern.
DAP WELDWOOD TOP & TRIM CONTACT ADHESIVE – Weldwood Contact Cement is a multi-purpose neoprene rubber adhesive that forms an instant, high-strength bond on a variety of surfaces.
When it comes to choosing the best glue, it’s all based on your preference since all these products will get the job done. The aerosol spray cans allow for the easiest way to upholster your panels from off the shelf to gluing them since no extra tools are required. However if you own an air compressor or have access to one, the Weldwood contact glues may be a better choice. The Weldwood glues allow you to use a spray gun like typical upholstery shop methods.
Now let’s take a look at Super 77 vs. HI-strength 90 spray pattern.
As seen in this photo, the 3m super 77 sprays an even, thin layer of glue while the 3m hi-strength 90 sprays a spiderweb-like pattern that mimics using a spray gun. Both can be purchased just about anywhere, don’t require equipment, and make it easy for you to spray. You should also take into consideration how many cans you’ll need to glue your fabric/vinyl to your custom trunk kit. While both are great tools to bond your material to our panels, we recommend the hi-strength 90 over the Super 77. The hi-strength 90 has a better hold overall.
Now let’s compare the Weldwood contact cement and the Weldwood Top & Trim contact adhesive in the photos below. Both were sprayed using a siphon feed spray gun which you can find at your local hardware store or Harbor Freight. You can also order one from Amazon with prices starting at $20. The Top & Trim is somewhat lighter as well as thinner than the contact cement. However, both spray patterns were the same. They also did not have to be thinned to be used with the spray gun. If needed, you can use a roller or brush, but we recommend the spray gun for better coverage. One benefit of using spray guns is that the glue stays inside the gun, so you don’t have to clean it out after each use.
Now, as we look at the spray patterns from the spray gun, they both have the same consistency. Alien Enclosures recommends using the Top & Trim contact adhesive, but the cost is a little higher. If you want to glue other items to your classic car, the Weldwood Top & Trip adhesive can come in handy. The Weldwood contact cement would work as well since it’s available almost everywhere and slightly less expensive.
Here is an example of the siphon feed gun we used for the process of spraying our custom trunk kits. You can purchase an inexpensive gun sold at Harbor Freight.
As far as cleaning, some XYLOL/XYLENE or lacquer thinner will work just fine and make cleaning very easy. We don’t recommend using anything on the surface of your material other than some soap and water as some chemicals may harm your materials. You can easily pick these up at your local hardware store.
Depending on how much time you have to complete your trunk kit, whether you need it for an upcoming show or prefer a clean, organized trunk, knowing which adhesive to buy can help save time and money.