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Gluing broken beetles


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A few months ago I received some dried beetles from LarvaHunter, among them was a beautiful Phileurus truncatus. Unfortunately, the pinned specimens shifted during shipping and arrived severely damaged.
I should clarify that this is not a rant about LarvaHunter - he was very generous to send me those specimens completely free of charge, and I was very surprised and happy to receive them ^_^

 

However, I did want to fix the broken beetles. One specimen had two broken legs and was easily put back together. On the other hand, the P. truncatus specimen suffered greater destruction, in which all tarsi got broken. I managed to locate almost all the broken pieces (all but a single claw).

 

The fixing process is tedious, but it can really bring a damaged specimen back to life. Well, sort of..

Before gluing back a specimen, you must be 100% sure which part fits where. You do not want to risk the scientific integrity of a specimen by attaching a limb to the wrong place, or by "adding" a segment where it does not belong (some beetles have a different number of tarsal segments on one pair of legs compared to the others). A good way of doing this is to closely examine other dried specimens of the same species, or if you do not have this species in your collection (like me) images are also a good source.

The gluing itself is done using a pin and white paper glue, although any liquid glue will work (not superglue). I used furniture glue because that is what I had lying around.
Using the pin, you take the tiniest drop of glue and put it on the broken area on the specimen. Then, with the same pin and another droplet of glue, you lift the broken part and carefully carry it to the attachment area. When the two glue droplets meet they adhere, and the broken part is in place. Now the hard part is to adjust it so it looks natural, this can be done by securing with other pins.

Before:

Phileurus-truncatus1.jpg

 

After:

Phileurus-truncatus2.jpg

 

Just like new!

Phileurus-truncatus3.jpg

 

As a side note I should say that I was very hasty at first and made a mistake, gluing a hind tarsus to a middle leg and vice versa.
So I had to take it apart and start again. But I am happy with the result.

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Yes very nice job. To my eyes you cant really tell at all from the photo it is a repair job.

 

Repair can be a very tedious process, and at least to me very frustrating.

 

I must admit I have often neglected to take the time on anything but my most prized specimens, and my repairs often don't turn out so well either.

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Thank you! I am a little obsessed with how my collection should look, so I find myself doing a lot of fixing on broken specimens. I also prefer to spread the legs and antennae - not something you see in most collections because this takes up much space. But it looks more natural this way.

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I would avoid gorilla glue due to the way it expands as it dries. This could lead to less than desireable results when gluing on delicate parts.
I've always used superglue due to the way it dries with relatively no residue. It's definitely more difficult to work with than regular glue due to its low viscosity and its tendency to dry slower on insect parts coupled with its tendency to dry faster on fingers and anything else you're using to support the pieces.

 

In my entomology course, we had vials of clear nail polish available for fixing up broken bits--it was pretty effective, but again--you had to be very careful with your application and how you supported things as it dried.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great job! I use the same technique although with gorilla glue. It dries much quicker.

You mean Gorilla's "Super Glue" yes, better than any other crazy glue. This is not the foamy Gorilla wood glue.

I also like to use Weldbond's paper construction glue. It looks like Elmer;s glue, but when it dries it becomes clear. It also dries faster, and it has some flexibility after drying....good for skeletons.

Modeling "Roma plastilina" is a great way to make those difficult angle supports when gluing bugs and many intricate objects.

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