Julie Mo

Would This Glue Serve A Useful Purpose In Model Building?

36 posts in this topic

Hmmm...that's very interesting. Wonder where to buy that glue?

 

PS: Just looked it up. You can buy that glue at WalMart on line.

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Hi Daddy,

 

There are many different types of hide glue and many are made from the remains of different animals. Did you ever wonder about the trademark for Elmers glue? Elmer and Elsie? Apparently they're good for more than just burgers! Common thinking is that hide glues are made from horse bones, hence the saying that an old horse is headed to the glue factory! Another common hide glue is made from rabbit skins and is extensively used in gilding.

 

Animal hide glues are available from fine woodworking suppliers. Especially those that supply instrument makers. The glues generally come in a pellet form are mixed with water and kept warm in a glue pot. Besides being a glue which has been historically available, the joints can be deconstructed with heat. This feature is especially attractive to instrument makers who find an instrument constructed with hide glue, frequently needing repair, easier to disassemble and repair. Basically, the hassle of working with a hot glue makes them weak competition for modern PVAs.

 

One more note. A technique I learned from Fine Wooding Magazine works with a trait more commonly associate with hide glue. When attaching veneer to a substrate, coat both pieces liberally with PVA (Titebond). Wait for the glue to completely dry. Then attach one to the other with a very hot electric iron. You don't want to scorch the veneer or to have any steam. Finish as usual. I've used this technique on pieces of furniture I built 35 years ago with no subsequent problems.

 

Best,

John

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Thanks for the education on Hide glue, John.

At a place I worked many years ago, there was a factory nearby that rendered dead cattle and horses. They would bring them in on large tractor trailer trucks similar to what is commonly seen hauling rock or gravel. The place stunk to high heaven both as when the trucks passed by as well as the odor from the rendering process. I often wondered how the people who worked there could tolerate the smell.

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Ahoy Mates

 

Hide glue is very good for the reasons given above.There's also resorcinal  glue thats in powder form which you mix with water that is used by wooden aircraft builders. It's the only glue that the FAA alows builders to use on wood as far as I know of. Maybe they have changed to allow other glues now.

 

As far as working where it really stinks,a person gets used to the smell to the point that they do not even notice it after a time. To the horror of family,friends and strainger's   who are around them before they change their clothes and clean up.

 

When I went to high school in Portland across town from where I lived. I had to ride a public bus home. We went threw downtown where the Portland Fish Company was. One guy would ride the bus who worked there. We called him "Fish" in honor of Abe Vigoda- Fish on the  Barrney Miller show because he looked like Abe,but more important,he smelled like all the  fish he worjed with. When he boarded the bus,there was like a force field around him that no one would go into or be closer than 4 feet radius of. In the summer it was a bigger radius. And he could have a double seat by himself,even when the bus was full. I would be funny to see a new person to the bus route when the bus was full. They would see the empty place beside "Fish" and think that htey had struck the golden last seat,so they could rest their feet and enjoy the ride. Well it came at a cost,putting up with the smell,and then having to explain to others they would meet and be by after they left the bus!

 

"Fish" John was his name,over the four years I would ride the bus there was a group of people who rode the bus who became his friends and protectors from people who would get on the bus and then say mean and vile things about and to him. I did not mind sitting next to him after the first two weeks of riding the long drive home on the bus. After one day when a guy yelled at him to leave the bus,and got thrown off the bus by the driver and the rest of the passengers ,my folks asked me if anyone knew him,or talked to him. I said no,my folks then said that my next ride I was to introduce myself to him along with my friends who rode with me,and to then let them know his name and other things that we had found out.

My Dad told me that he especialy needed to be treated with kindness and respect because everyone works for a living,and some have no real choice as to what they do in life. This was one of the best lessons that my Mom and Dad ever taught me.

 

And my Mom knew that what they had taught me was a lesson learned because of the times I came home smelling like "Fish" And that was now 49 years ago this month.

 

Keith

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I was first introduced to hot hide glue by those helping me build my first guitar.  Since I wasn't making an acoustic guitar, I put it in mental storage for later use.  Now I have some veneer projects planned and learned hot hide glue is great for veneer, too.  So I decided to take the plunge into hot hide glue. 

 

I ordered a glue pot, warmer and some glue chips a few days ago.

gpheater.jpg

 

I've been doing a lot of studying up on it.  Hot hide glue was all that was used for instrument making a hundred or so years ago.  Today those ancient instruments are still holding strong.  And if they need repairs, they can be made easily. The only hassle I see is heating the to the proper temperature and keeping it there.  But designated glue pots solve that problem.  I have also read if it sits too long it can begin to stink.  

 

When I was looking at starting the 2nd planking on my model, I thought about the lengthy process of gluing a plank, pinning it in place, waiting for it to dry and repeating.  On the first planking I might get 4-5 rows a day.  It was then I began to wonder how hot hide glue would work.  If it works like how I understand it to work, I can glue a plank in place, hold it for a bit, then start the next. 

 

I watched this video last night and found it better than the first one I posted above. 

 

It's looking like a great alternative to traditional wood glue.

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Hi Julie,

 

That's a great video. I think you may be on to something. I always thought the reason to use hide glue has been historical tradition and repairability. Since neither of those play a big role in model ship building, I didn't see the need. After watching the video, I now think it could be very useful for planking. I could see it working very well when used in place of cyano acrilics. If you follow Chuck Passaro's planking techniques, it might even be preferable to CA.

 

I'll be watching carefully to see how your experiment works out. I've never been much of an early adopter.

 

Best,

John

 

ps. Try the PVA/iron technique for veneers and inlays. The lack of time constraints (with hide) or placement issues (with contact cement) really make it a way to go. As a matter of fact, I have quite a bit of "fancy" veneers left over from furniture building. I may try to apply that technique to make some DIY plywood. Especially where you want to replicate difficult curves and twists. I'm just thinking out loud, but if you laid up some of that home plywood to the appropriate thickness, cut it to the the right size, heat it up and clamp it briefly to a form, I'd bet you could get some great shapes. I may fool around with it and if I get any kind of decent result I'll post some pictures.

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Check into 'Old Brown Glue" a premixed hide glue. You warm it in hot water and it goes on very easy. It has good holding power, is water soluble  and will not affect finishes. I started using it on my current build and love it.

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John,

 

I was a purist of sorts regarding using veneer.  I usually thought it looked fake.  Some of the veneered furniture pieces I have seen you know immediately are veneered but there are some that could not have been made otherwise.  They would require massive steam boxes and bending forms few woodworkers have access to. 

 

When I recently moved to Florida I discovered hardwood was scarce and had prices to match.  One piece I have been planning, a shelf-type unit for my turntable and record collection, is a good candidate for my first "large scale" veneer project.  The little veneering (and I do mean little) I have done was done using PVA glue and clamps.  But the articles I have read, where the woodworker is making something more sizeable, vacuum bagging is used where PVA glue is applied.  So far, I have not seen the need to vacuum bag when hot hide glue is used.  I think the reason for this is PVA glue takes more time to set whereas hot hide glue sets almost immediately.

 

I'm hoping my experience with using hot hide glue on the 2nd planking teaches me enough to allow me to move to that stereo shelf with some confidence.  I am not so concerned with the 2nd planking because whatever I do can be reversed and it's such a small scale.  But still, I am considering a vacuum bag for furniture pieces.  Lee Valley has a hand pump unit that can be purchased at a reasonable price and will fit pieces up to 48" long.  Vacuum bagging will give me that additional work time you mentioned that PVA glue affords.   I could use a little more time. :)    

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Getting back to Mr. Fish, kids who are bullies grow up to be the southend of a northbound donkey. There is a small fishing town near Mobile-Bayou la Batre Al. probably 80% of the residents are employed in the industry.  When they shuck oysters and the green shells sit in the sun or process crabs and the residual shells and detritus lays in the sun it is the stink of all stinks that stink :( . I asked a co-worker that lived there how do you stand it in the summer he laughed and said every time we take a breath that's the smell of MONEY. I got it.

Apologize to all for getting off subject but I thought this was a good reference in regards to Fishman.

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Good stories, but back to hide glue: Yes, it is very useful and can be re-liquefied with heat. It was used in those beautiful models we see in museums. However, there is one drawback to hide glue. After a couple of centuries or so, it becomes brittle and the adhesive power is lost. Museum models are starting to come apart. However, if longevity is not your concern, it isn't a problem - it will be someone else's!

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I know a guy who worked in a museum for over 50 years refurbishing and repairing practically everything.  He is a hide glue fan but says PVA and CA glue have their place, not to mention epoxy.  He says he's refurbished instruments over 300 years old and the hide glue was still holding strong, but when it fails, he's very appreciative they used it.  Some instruments that came across his work table had been repaired with PVA glue and he has described those as nightmares to work on.  In the meantime, we will have to wait a while to see if PVA & CA glue can hold up a couple of centuries.  Maybe the members here then can hold a seance and let us know how it's going.  :rolleyes: 

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Great subject Julie. I have been using hot hide glue for the last few years on most of my woodworking projects and I am planning to try out HHG on my first ship model project. My main concern is that it might be a little messy to use on the small parts such a windows, gratings and such, but I do expect it will be great for planking and perhaps speed that work up some. 

 

One of the best features of HHG is that is easily cleaned up and doesn't leave unsightly blotches under most finishes. Another helpful feature is that it is easily reversible to redo mistakes or repairs. That said, it is most easily reversible the first few days after drying, but increasingly difficult as the weeks go by because it continues to harden over a couple of months time, though the application of heat and moisture will loosen that up too, but it takes longer. Also it would certainly not be a good glue to use on an RC model as it is not waterproof after drying. 

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I dove into the glue pot today, so to speak.  I started the 2nd planking on my build and so far I'm pretty happy with the results.  At first I was a bit apprehensive but since anything I did could be reversed, I ignored those feelings. 

 

It has drawbacks, like requiring mixing and heating, but when I compare the little I learned so far today to my experiences with PVA, I don't see those drawbacks as a problem.  It sets up much faster than PVA.  Cleaning up squeeze-out is quick and easy.  No dried glue stuck to your hands.  And it doesn't interact with the wood to change colors or make it swell.  I can see a bright future for us. :)

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I think the Hide Glue explains why a violin that was inside my attic totally came apart. The heat broke almost every glue joint apart. I was unaware my wife had put it in the attic and when I found it, it was too late. Nothing but pieces and I threw it in the trash.  :(

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Unfortunately an attic is not good for musical instruments or furniture. Heat will dry out and shrink wood and liquefy hide glue, humidity will expand wood and soften hide glue, cold will make the glue brittle. Altogether a hostile environment.

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JulieMo wrote........

 

In the meantime, we will have to wait a while to see if PVA & CA glue can hold up a couple of centuries.  Maybe the members here then can hold a seance and let us know how it's going.   :rolleyes:

 

I had built a dollhouse for my daughter in the early 1980's and also had built some odd pieces of furniture for the house.  At that time, I learned about the wonders of CA glue and how fast you could work with it.  Twenty years later we started to find out that Mr. CA wasn't as strong as we thought he was. Joints would fail for no particular reason, even after doing so well for the first nineteen years.  I seldom use the stuff any longer.

 

Jim

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Hi Jim,

 

I understand what you are saying.  CA is a quick fix with a short life.  And a lot of mess. 

 

I think I really like hot hide glue.  The "ancients" had a special genius we often fail to see. 

 

It's not the end-all, be-all, but working with it seems so natural.  I had my fingers steeped in the glue, as I pressed the planks down, but there is no residue like I used to have with PVA glue.  A return to innocence, as it were.

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One thing I failed to mention, hide glue should never be used on any boat that will see the water.  It is said that Emperor Nero had a ship made for his mother, Agrippa, who he wanted to kill.  They used hide glue to build the ship.  After the ship set sail with Agrippa aboard, it began to fall apart.  Agrippa survived but the ship didn't.  

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I have been using Hide Glue for antique restoration for years.  I also use it diluted for rigging .  It is nice because you can tap a piece of furniture glued with hide glue and it will pop apart.  I would be a little careful about using it for planking or primary model construction.

 

 I am surprised to see so many folks using CA on rigging.  I used it on rigging in the 1980's and the stuff is brittle,cracking and coming apart now.  There has been a lot of talk confirming this in the model community.  As mentioned above, Hide Glue now comes premixed.  It is cheap in the unmixed form and can be heated in a Baby bottle heater, using old baby bottles.  This does a fine job and is cheaper than the Hide glue warmers.

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Bill, the baby bottle warmer is shown in the video in post #6.  He used baby food jars for the hide glue and caps and refrigerates them after use.

 

As I am gaining more experience with hide glue on the 2nd planking of my build, I am finding I prefer it over either CA or PVA glues.  I thought the requirement for heating it prior to using it would be a mental obstacle but it doesn't bother me at all.  The glue pot and heater I purchased make this part of preparation very easy. 

 

I also appreciate how quickly it sets up, yet not so quickly that you have to work fast though.  It's also nice there are no concerns about getting it on your fingers, just wash it off with water.  I have used finger pressure on places difficult to clamp or pin and held it in place until the glue set.  Try this with CA and your fingers are one with the planking.  Try this with PVA and your fingers will cramp before the glue sets.

 

I have inserted sliver-sized spiles by dipping them in the glue pot and sliding them in place.  The glue leaves no traces like CA or PVA might by darkening the wood and sealing it.  And, if I understand this correctly, there are no worries about hide glue being left on the surface when it comes to applying dyes, stains or finishes.  So far, I'm pretty happy I made the plunge.

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All of you have convinced my I should try using Hide glue. Will look about ordering some along with a warmer. Thanks for starting this thread and introducing (reintroducing) an old tried and true adhesive.

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Check out Music Caravan in your search.  The more I use their glue pot and warmer, the better I like it.  It's very well made and the pot that holds the glue is heavy and holds heat well if case you want to take it out to use it.  It was $100 well spent.  Also be aware of the gram strength.  192 gram strength is what the luthiers seem to prefer and it has worked well for the 2nd planking I am doing now. 

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This morning I was browsing through the most recent Woodcraft catalog.  In their glue section they sell (3) different gram strengths of hide glue and describe how each is used:

 

192 Gram Strength - Longer open time and perfect for marquetry and veneering (I'll add planking to that list), and is considered by many the best hide glue for first time hide glue users.

 

251 Gram Strength - Considered best for general woodworking and cabinetry

 

315 Gram Strength - With the shortest open time, it is best suited for lutherie work and small repairs.

 

My comment on these is the shorter open times of the last two may make them ideal for anything that can't be clamped -  hold it in place with your fingers until the glue sets.  You only need to move your fingers around a bit to keep the glue from sticking to your skin.  With the 192, I can use this method but it takes about 5-7 minutes to set depending on resistance (spring back) in the wood.

 

Also noted in the catalog:

 

Titebond liquid hide glue - Moderate set time (usually over an hour depending on temperature and moisture) permits unhurried assembly of wood, cloth glass, etc.  Allow 24 hours for full-strength bond.

 

Old Brown Glue - Fresh "hot" hide glue in a bottle.  Heat glue by putting in the sun or warm water bath for a few minutes.  30 minute open time.

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Julie,

 

Very interesting, for ship model use I have been using the Titebond Liquid Hide glue since I have only used it diluted for rigging knots.  I have heated the other for antique furniture repair.  I heard about the "Old Brown Glue" on the FineWoodworking Podcast "ShopTalk Live" where they were very complimentary of it.  

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Hello Les here. In one of the woodworking magazines I get they had a test of the most popular glues including regular carpenters wood glue, Gorilla glue, epoxy and all of the others. They glued two pieces of oak at right angles and after drying put them in a press to see how strong they were. After tests the winner was good old Elmers carpenters glue. Have used this product for years without failure. In my opinion, no need to reinvent the wheel. Affordable and effective.

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Actually Les, hide glue has been around for thousands of years.  Instruments made several hundreds of years ago with hide glue are still holding strong today.  Hide glue has a pretty good track record.  No reinventing the wheel here.

 

I chose hide glue to plank the hull of my model because it sets in minutes, does not stick to your skin, is easy to clean off, does not discolor the wood and can be reversed should you need to "unglue" something.  I could not do what I am doing on my model with PVA glue, at least not with the same ease and speed I have experienced using hide glue.

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Of course you are correct Julie. My only consideration was that newer builders will get more than satisfactory results by sticking to standard wood glue. Using hot hide glue requires tools and a skill set of it's own. Titebond makes a bottled version so no heating required. Popular Woodworking magazine has a good article on tests between hot hide glue and Titebonds liquid version. If you are experienced with this format then by all means, it becomes another tool in the arsenal of a builder.

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I agree with you, Les, all except the part about using hide glue requiring a skill set.  Before using it, I would have thought the same thing.  But now I have to say hide glue has a very easy learning curve.

 

As an example, I have never worked with a glue where I could push the piece into place with my fingers, while the glue oozes out, and watch the piece gradually adhere to the form.  It's actually kind of fun seeing this.  Granted, if the wood is bending too much, it will want to spring back but for gradual bends I have found hide glue does a really good job of keeping things in place.  If I knew how to, I'd do a video.

 

And I am loving the fact it is so easy to clean up.  When I think of using CA glue on my guitars and believing that was the only way to get things to stick together quickly (including my fingers) I wish I knew about hot hide glue.  CA may never pass my way again.  (enter Seals & Crofts)   ;) 

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