New Mexico Territorial Table


For those who are not aware, hide glue has been in use for thousands of years. One author noted that some Middle Eastern items were discovered that were bonded together with hide glue whose carbon dating revealed that they were made in 6200 BC. We do not normally think about what adhesive craftsmen used before our time. Hide glue

Hide glue is 'modern' adhesives have been in use for only 50-60 years. Hide glue is made from rendered animal hides.

Hide Glue and Glue Pots

As noted earlier, I use hide glue exclusively for my veneer work. I mix my own from granules purchased from my hide glue vendor noted below in Resources. Hide glue is made from rendering mostly cattle hides. If you are curious, the details can be found here.

While hide glue takes some preparation to use, its benefits far out weigh this minor prep work. Preparation means mixing the hide glue with water and then heating it to 140-150 degrees. It should never be heated over 150 degrees because this could ruin the hide glue. In general, hide glue is mixed in equal proportions to distilled water. Once the hide glue reaches 140-degrees, you may have to add more water or hide glue to get the correct viscosity. Using a stir stick or a hide glue brush, when raised about 10-inches or so, the glue should begin to drip, not run, from the stick. If it runs, add a bit more glue. If it does not run, more water is required. If the glue is mixed correctly - 1:1 ration, you should not have any viscosity issues. Over time, after it cooks at 140 degrees some water is bound to evaporate, so adding a bit of water may be necessary.

Some interesting characteristics of hide glue are as follows.

Rub Sticks
Prepare two small boards with perfectly flat edges. Apply the hot hide glue to the edges and begin rubbing the two edges together. In no time, it will be very difficult to continue rubbing the boards together. Leave the boards to dry overnight. Do not clamp these boards together, just set them aside. After the glue has set and dried, try to break the hide glue bond. You will find that the boards will break and not the glue bond.

Stradivarius Repair
For the sake of argument, lets say that your two sticks are part of a $1M dollar Stadivarius that was brought to you for repair. The repair consisted, first of all, in separating the two sticks. Using a heat gun, warm the glue seam until the glue melts and then separate the sticks. Little wonder why violin makers use hide glue.

Hide Glue Strength
Hide glue comes in various strengths.

hide glue crock pot-
This is the hide glue that I use.

hide glue crock pot-
Crock pot used as a glue pot.

hide glue crock pot-
I use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the hide glue. My temperature goal is 145ยบ Fahrenheit.

veneer hammer
This is my veneer hammer with rule showing its small size.

veneer hammer
Here is a side view of the smallish veneer hammer.

heating pad
I use a heating pad to warm the substrate and veneer.

scraper plane
I use a scraper plane to abrade the susbstrate before I begin.

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Liquid Hide Glue

liquid hide glue bottles

As much as I like, use and appreciate hot hide glue (HHG), I have always wanted to try liquid hide glue (LHG).

What Is Liquid Hide Glue?
Simply put, liquid hide glue is hide glue that remains liquid at room temperature.

While I discovered several recipes for making LHG, not all of them work, at least that has been my experience. So, I began doing my own LHG development based on some of these internet recipes.

From research, the two main ingredients for keeping hide glue liquid at room temperature are: urea and salt.

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