After getting the advice about the Polyacrylate glue, I set up shop and tested it out. The glue is ideally suited for the purpose: thin, clear, fast-tacking and fast-setting. It was easy to use; I simply placed a few drops on the back of the letterform, flipped it, held it in place until it tacked. Then I ran a thin line of glue around the edges where the letterform edge met the base wood. It took the glue a few minutes to set up completely, and then I let the pieces rest for about an hour. At that time, I lightly sanded the face of the letters to remove excess glue. Since these were prototypes, I didn’t bother removing the excess from around the edges. The plastic tipped applicator is far too large to be exact – when doing the final pieces of type, I’ll be using a syringe.
Once the glue had set, I realized it had definitely plasticized the wood (seeped into the grain and actually stiffened and reinforced the thin areas). It held fast, and even when I attempted to pry it off with a pen knife, the letterform wouldn’t separate from the base wood, the wood itself simply chipped.
Although this run-through was hardly scientific, it led me to believe that the Polyacrylate was a very feasible option. In order to wrap up this test, I took the block to the print shop, doused it in all of the available solvents to test its resistance, and finally built it to type height and printed it. Check out the results!