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How to Remove Old Adhesive (Glue, Epoxy or Cement) From Broken Ceramic?

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Broken Ceramic Repair Lessons
(click pictures)

Fixing broken plate lesson - basic lesson
Cementing only lesson
Fixing broken vase - more complex repair
Restore vase lesson
Cementing, filling, coloring and glazing broken antique plate
Restore plate lesson including coloring
kintsugi - mending broken pottery with gold
Kintsugi - mending with gold
How to repair crack in ceramic
How to fix ceramic crack
Restoring multi breaks and missing piece antique bowl
Restore bowl lesson w/ missing pieces
How to paint broken china, ceramic or pottery?
Painting pottery after repair
Restoring ceramic sculpture with missing pieces using fired clay
Sculpting missing pieces
Cybis Arion Boy on Dolphin - Repair Broken and Missing Finger
Miniature repair w/ missing finger
Restoring ceramic sculpture with missing pieces using fired clay
Making missing part w/ fired clay
Repairing broken plaster of paris tall lamp
Plaster lamp repair w/ missing parts
Restoring small porcealin figurines - shoe
Miniature Porcelain
Repairing broken stone sculptures and statues
Repairing broken stone sculpture

Lakeside Pottery is a ceramic studio and a restoration facility. Many people ask us for advice and one of the questions is "How to remove old cement? Below are some of the practices we use.

What kind of cement was used and you wish to remove

One part cement such as Contact Cement or Super Glues are dissolvable. Two-part Epoxies are not dissolvable and can be removed with heat or scraped / grinded down. In most cases, it is impossible to visually tell which type of cement it is.Using a sharp object, poke the old adhesive. If it is flexible, it is most likely not Epoxy and can be dissolved. If it is hard, it is most likely Epoxy or Super Glue.

Recent job with adhesive that required removal (click to see it repaired)

How to Remove Old Adhesive From Ceramic or Pottery?

If it is Super Glue, it can be dissolved with Acetone (or nail polish remover). Before applying the Acetone make sure you do a small test on your ceramic object to verify that it will ruin your item. Acetone will instantly damage any polymer based product (paint, varnish, plastic). If your test passed, apply the Acetone on the cemented area generously following all the safety instructions for using Acetone (e.g., ventilated area, use gloves and eye protection).

If it is not Super Glue or Epoxy, use solvent such as Paint Thinners, Alcohol or Goof Off. There are more hazards when using these-- pay careful attention to the safety precautions on the labels.

If it is Two part Epoxy, heat with a heat gun or boil in water. Again, run a small test to insure the repaired item will not be damaged by water or heat. When heating the ceramic in water, do not drop the item in boiling water to avoid cracks due to thermal shock. Place to ceramic object in room temperature water and start the heating with the object in the water. After it is boiled for 2-3 minute, inspect the object to see if the cemented parts are separated. If yes, use mittens to hold the hot item and with a razor blade, while hot, remove the remaining epoxy.

If the epoxy is no breaking down with boiling water o a heat gun, a high temperature epoxy was used which leaves you with two options: 1) Fire in a kiln to 500 - 600 degree F using a very slow temperature rise program. This option should be left for professionals only. Or, 2) Grind off the high temperature epoxy using a Dremel or other grinding devices.

Old Adhesive Removal Process - Example:

broken pottery
Broken Pottery w/ old cement

Old epoxy heated / separated
mixing 2 parts clear epoxy glue
Applying Goof Off
slow cure 2 part epoxy
Scraping with wire brush
Alcohol for clean up
Mixing epoxy glue
Alcohol applied for surface prep

Broken Ceramic Lid
Glue solvent

Clear 2-part epoxy
Stronger glue solvent

Alcohol for clean up

Dremel for grinding epoxy

Diamond grinding bits

How to remove old epoxy from old pottery or china
How to remove stains?

Your input is greatly appreciated and will help in creating improved pottery tips.

Thank you, Patty and Morty

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