Broken clay pot? Don’t trash it!
One of your late-fall garden chores is to dutifully empty your clay pots of annuals and store them in a dry place. Why? So your clay pot won’t get wet from rain/sleet/snow then freeze and crack.
I have yet got it together enough to do this. Each spring I find a few pots that I scavenged/bought sitting there with a dead stalk, stale potting soil and a huge crack rendering it useless.
I might as well leave money in my pants then donate them to thrift – lazy money down the drain.
Are you seeing broken clay pots on the curb, set out as trash, broken cleanly into two or three pieces? Another lazy soul left their pots out over winter.
Are all the pieces there? Pick them up and take them home.
A bottle of glue only costs a few bucks. Gluing a pot only takes a few minutes. Salvaging a pot feels so handy.
So, whether you broke your own pot or scavenged someone else’s broken pot, let me introduce you to Gorilla Glue.
The instructions kept me from using it for years, saying to wet the surface first then clamp the glued items together for a period of time. Super Glue is so fast and simple, why bother with Gorilla Glue?
For starters, Super Glue (or Krazy Glue, etc) does not do well on surfaces as porous as clay pots. You have to apply quite a bit so it won’t disappear into the clay.
Next, even with the improved caps, Super Glue never seems to last long in the tube once you open it. They solved this by selling little single-serve tubes of it in multi-packs, but now you’re buying and wasting a lot of packaging to salvage a pot. Fixing a decent sized pot always takes, for me at least, more than one of those little single-shot tubes.
Finally, Crazy Glue is so thin and runny, if you don’t perfectly match up your pot pieces in seconds, there won’t be enough surface contact between the two pieces before the glue dries to hold it all together. Thus, you spent time, effort and glue on a failed repair job.
(Oh, and who hasn’t glued their fingers together while repairing with Super Glue. Lame.)
Gorilla Glue’s awesomeness comes from its expansion while it dries. This makes it very effective on porous clay pots. You don‘t have to align your broken pieces up with exact precision. And, the fact that it does not dry instantly is in your favor, you can actually take a moment to align your pieces as well as possible without all the glue drying in seconds. If do you end up with a tiny little gap, as long as it’s filled with Gorilla Glue, your repair job will still hold.
Regardless of your favorite glue or repair method, read the instructions on the glue bottle. Following them means you’re more likely to have that pot back in rotation for spring.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with Gorilla Glue, Super Glue or Krazy Glue. I do not receive free stuff from them. My endorsement is based solely on a short lifetime of repairing broken things.
DIY: HOW TO REPAIR A BROKEN CLAY POT WITH GORILLA GLUE
1. Gather the pot pieces, bush off dirt if applicable. Try to assemble the pot before even getting the glue out. If you don’t have all the pieces, you should reconsider this project. Or improvise.
2. Determine if your pot will hold itself together better if you assemble it upright or upside down. Whichever is more stable will be how you assemble it as you glue it.
2. Gather your materials: water, Gorilla Glue, cheap dental floss, latex gloves or household cleaning gloves, newspapers to protect your work surface from stray glue.
3. Read the glue’s instructions.
4. Per Step 3, lightly dampen one of the two surfaces as you prepare to assemble them.
5. Apply glue to the dry surface evenly and without over applying. (I negate this below in Step 7.)
6. Assemble your pot, gluing as you go.
7. Throw caution to the wind and apply yet more glue along your repair seams. Take care not to glue your pot to your work surface. Later discovering your successful repair job is firmly affixed to your table will negate any positive feelings of accomplishment. (My work surface is not protected by newspapers because it is already ratty.)
8. You don’t have to apply the extra glue, but I like the overkill. If you are concerned about appearance, focus on applying the glue along the crack on the inner-pot side.
9. Use cheap dental floss to delicately tie it all together. You can use multiple pieces spaced apart if needed. Dental floss is magical since it’s so strong yet so thin – it pulls free of the dried (or nearly dried) glue easier than any other common string.
10. After an hour or two, gently remove the dental floss. Do not move your pot until it sits overnight.
11. If you applied the Step 7 overkill glue, your pot will have fancy glue marks. If you find this horrifying, then skip Step 7 or simply turn the fugly side to the back when you use your awesome reclaimed pot. You to not need the extra glue, Gorilla glue expands to fill the gaps and forms a very strong bond.
The Gorilla Glue holds great over time – a pot I reclaimed a year ago shows the glue yellowed in the sun but holds strong.
Still a Super Glue fan? My old Super Glued pots work fine, they were just a headache to repair.