I would like to introduce you to my very good friend, Mr. JB Weld. If you’re a DIYer, or a person who likes to restore broken treasures, you must meet JB. He’s been around for 40 years, but I just discovered him a couple years ago. JB Weld is a cold-weld, steel-reinforced epoxy that has a strength of 3960 PSI. Move over, Popeye! It’s just what I need for my latest “rescue”.
As I was walking my dog not long ago, I noticed a pile of treasures on a curb that included a beautiful bird bath. Beautiful and broken, that is. Initially, I was going to take only the base of the birdbath (which was in perfect condition), because the basin was broken into three pieces. I knew I could find a pretty plate or bowl or gazing ball to put on top of the base.
But at the last second, I decided to go for “broke” (funny), and snatch the pieces of the broken basin too, to see if it could be fixed. I searched high and low for my Gorilla Glue, which I’ve found works pretty well on smaller items. I must admit I was leery about using it on this project though, because the ceramic pieces I needed to glue together were thick and heavy, and the glue would be exposed to water. Thank goodness I didn’t find the Gorilla Glue, because I decided to try the JB Weld that I had on hand instead.
I was introduced to this product by a friend when my apple corer broke. I used my brand new corer once, and when I put it back in the box to store it, I somehow managed to break the handle right in the middle of the metal. I used JB Weld, highly doubting it would work, but it was the most amazing thing ever! I’ve since used my apple slicer/corer to make some crazy-good apple pastries, and it works like a champ.
My next experience with JB was on one of these super-cool metal pumpkins I purchased at a garage sale. One of the pieces of iron had broken loose at the weld. I slapped some JB on it, clamped it, and it was good as new.
So here’s the skinny on JB Weld. It’s a two-part epoxy that comes in two toothpaste-like tubes. One tube is actually steel paste, and the other is hardener. All you do is mix equal parts of the two tubes together, and apply the concoction to your item. I wasn’t so sure about using it at first because this bird bath is going to be full of water, but on the package it says JB Weld can be used for marine repairs, so I should be good to go. It can be used on metal, wood, plastic, tile, pvc, ceramic, fiberglass, concrete and Lord knows what else.
Here’s the whole, simple process. First I brush the rough edges of the three broken pieces to get rid of any crumbs.
I make sure I have some pieces of wood ready to use as supports while my pieces are drying. Because of the angle of the basin, there’s no way to use c-clamps to hold the drying pieces together.
I squeeze out equal parts of the hardener and the steel on a throw-away lid. (Foil works fine too.)
I mix the two parts together with a toothpick until it turns a medium gray color.
I apply a generous amount to my first broken piece.
I hold the piece for a minute, and then push the wooden wedges underneath to help hold the piece in place.
I wipe off with a damp rag, any excess goo that squashes out. I left the excess on the apple corer and the pumpkin hoping it would add strength to those items, and appearance wasn’t an issue for either of those.
I was only planning to glue one piece, let it dry a few hours, and then glue the second piece. But it adheres quickly and firmly enough that I’m able to epoxy one right after the other.
After I feel the pieces are secure, I use the JB Weld to fill in any chipped areas near the cracks where little pieces of ceramic are missing. I find a close match of red paint from my stash, and I paint the tiny areas that I fill in since the JB Weld remains gray in color after it dries. My paint seems to adhere just fine to those areas. If I inspect the basin closely, I can slightly see the crack on one of the pieces, but the other crack disappeared completely. And guess what–the birds aren’t going to care about a hairline crack while they’re tending to their hygiene issues!
And here’s my gorgeous bird bath, rescued from the landfill! The iron “Peace” garden stake with the red, glass ball behind the bird bath in this photo was “saved” from the same curb pile as the bird bath. I scored a two-fer!
It’ll be several months before I can report back as to how well my restored bird bath full of water survives in the summer heat. I’ve brought all my “yardifacts” in for the winter that’s just around the corner here in Central Illinois. I’ll try to publish an update at the end of next summer. But my feathered friends and I will be happy if we can enjoy it even for a summer. It was free after all!
This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.