<<< Continued from previous page

Using a 40-watt gun and general-purpose glue sticks - you can set yourself up with this stuff for less than $20 - I grabbed the heaviest/thickest book handy and settled on the following gluing configurations (see the black lines), careful to apply wavy (not straight) beads in fairly generous quantities.

First, once you practice some, this method is fast, certainly faster than either taping process described above. Since the surfaces are porous, the glue sets up almost immediately. (Do be careful not to purchase slow-setting glue.) Second, the resulting seals are exceptionally strong - significantly more so than taped seals. And third - best of all - the resulting package is tight at every point. You can lift it by the edges, shake it, whatever, and it stays sealed. No gaps at all. Also, these boxes can be readily opened with your bare hands simply by tucking your fingers under the top flap and pulling.

To date I've packaged and shipped dozens of books using this method - so far without incident. If you try this yourself, I think your instincts alone will confirm how secure the packages are. They have a solid feel that taped packages don't. I should point out also that boxes containing lighter and/or thinner books can be adequately sealed with a single bead along the edge of the top flap. It isn't necessary, that is, to lay the additional four beads down. As you gain experience, you'll be guided here.

The mad scientist in me rarely is satisfied with good results, and this is no exception. I have since ordered a more expensive gun - a 100 watt model (which can deliver more product faster) for about $50 - and some glue sticks designed specifically for carton sealing operations. Once I've tried these out, I'll report back. The gun I've been using so far is a humble Arrow TR550 purchased at Home Depot.

Oh - and whatever type of glue you use, I'd strongly recommend getting the 10" or 15" sticks, not the 4". You'll spend a lot less time feeding the gun.

Some final thoughts about cost. For every dollar you're now spending on tape, I'd estimate that you'll spend at least 1/3 less if you use the hot glue system - and of course your savings will be even greater if you've been taping the heck out of your boxes.

Editorís Update:

Shortly after submitting the above article, I received the 100-watt gun and 15Ē industrial strength glue sticks I referenced in it. The glue gun is a Surebonder Pro7000A manufactured by FPC Corporation; itís available on eBay from Industrial Packaging Concepts for $49.75 plus $9.75 Ė and it arrived quickly. It uses 7/16Ē glue sticks, has a lighted on/off switch near the bottom of the handle and comes with a bench mounted metal stand. The bottom of the gunís handle is magnetized Ė a nice feature since it locks the gun down on the stand and prevents it from tipping over. This, along with the lighted on/off switch, definitely enhance its safety.

So far, Iíve been very pleased with the gunís performance. It delivers significantly more product per unit of time than the other gun, making the packaging process faster as well. As I mentioned earlier, the seals produced by the general purpose glue sticks were exceptionally strong, so without conducting a controlled test, itís impossible for me to say whether the industrial grade sticks were stronger Ė one would assume so, but in any case, once the glue has set, itís the cardboard that ďfailsĒ when the box is opened, not the seal. These sticks are doubtless overkill.

Here are the links for purchasing the gun and glue sticks:

Glue Gun
eBay Store Item

Glue Sticks
eBay Store Item

Glue Sticks
eBay Store Item

Iím sure there are many 100-watt guns out there that perform well too. I chose this particular model because it seemed to offer the best value for the money. Happy gluing!

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