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Thread: Setting a nut with hide glue?

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    Registered User Matt the Mead Maker's Avatar
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    Default Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Howdy, folks. I'm doing an all-hideglue restoration job on an old mandolinetto. Would it be a bad idea to use hide glue for the nut? Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Also, what gauge string would you use on a mandolinetto? Light? I've attached a picture so you can get an idea of the bracing. Yes, this poor instrument took a beating. It's really coming along the road to recovery, though.
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Looks like you have your work cut out for you there! I hope you have a bottle of De-glue goo!

    Hide glue is great for the nut. Sit it on the edge of your pot while the instrument is warmed with your desk lamp. A small amount hopefully on the fretboard end and you are good.

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt the Mead Maker View Post
    Also, what gauge string would you use on a mandolinetto?
    I use GHS A240 ultralights, same as I would on a bowlback mandolin.

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    To set the nut superglue (cyanoacrylate) would probably be a better choice. The hide glue may not hold the wood and bone together that well. Superglue will only require a drop to hold it securely and will release easy enough if it has to be changed or moved later. Hide glue may or may not stick well to the different surfaces.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Francis View Post
    A small amount hopefully on the fretboard end and you are good.
    There's the thing. As I see it, as long as you don't go overboard with the glue so that the next repair person can remove the nut easily without damaging anything, it doesn't make much difference what glue you use on a nut. In fact, though I use hide glue for most things, I use Titebond or carpenters glue for nuts; it's more convenient. The glue just needs keep the nut from slipping side to side or falling off if the strings are removed, the strings hold it in place

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Joe View Post
    To set the nut superglue (cyanoacrylate) would probably be a better choice. The hide glue may not hold the wood and bone together that well. Superglue will only require a drop to hold it securely and will release easy enough if it has to be changed or moved later. Hide glue may or may not stick well to the different surfaces.
    My issue with that is potential for finish damage, with less aware repair people. Unless you are using odorless CA glue, regular CA is prone to leaving a cloudy white vapor trail. With waterbase glues there is no issue.

    Hide glue has a tremendous bond strength to bone, and many natural materials.

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Francis View Post
    My issue with that is potential for finish damage, with less aware repair people. Unless you are using odorless CA glue, regular CA is prone to leaving a cloudy white vapor trail. With waterbase glues there is no issue.

    Hide glue has a tremendous bond strength to bone, and many natural materials.
    Isn't that a good reason not to use it?

    I thought the idea was to use just barely enough glue to hold it in place, if it's held too well it makes it a pain for the next repair person. For me the tiniest blob of CA does the job - dab it in a place well away from any finish - and next time the nut needs removing a sharp rap will knock it straight out. But frankly, I suspect almost any glue will be fine, just please don't use too much

    Nice mandolinetto BTW, how does the rest of it look?

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Tony... you don't put any glue on a finished area. Just a very small drop on the bottom of the nut or the side of the nut and it goes against unfinished wood. It is only enough to keep the nut from moving and to allow easy release if the nut needs to come off. We have installed hundreds of nuts this way with nearly any material you can imagine, and it works well. Some materials will not bind to hide or wood glue, but nearly anything sticks with cyano. Again, you don't use enough to be a problem and you don't get any on its finish.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    Isn't that a good reason not to use it?
    Hide glue joints have many strength attributes, sheer resistance, extremely high tensile strength, heat resistance, etc, but shock resistance is not very high. A sharp rap to a nut glued with hide glue will break the joint. I see no good reason not to use hide glue (sparingly) for a nut, I just think it's more convenient for me to use something else.

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    Registered User Matt the Mead Maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Great info, as always - thanks guys! I'll post some more pics soon.

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Isn't that a good reason not to use it?
    John is exactly correct, although I always prefer to heat the nut (foil shield, craft iron) before tapping it out. I would do that no matter what it was glued with, often there is no way to know.

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    While all of the 11 posts above have valid points, I'll add this: Just last month I was intuitively questioning how well hide glue will hold to bone or ivory, and then I had two (2!!!) vintage Martin guitars from the late 1800s sitting on the workbench with ivory bridges that have held for over 100 years with the original hot hide glue and nothing else.

    It would be my choice for this instrument if nothing else for the fact that it is period correct.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    I was thinking about that same situation, James, and remembering seeing T.J. Thompson with a replica guitar he had built. I asked him what he used to glue the ivory bridge, and I was surprised when he said he tested several glues and found that Titebond worked best(!) so he used that! (For those who don't know, T.J. is a stickler for historical accuracy in restoration work.)

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    TJ is a true master, and has a wonderful way of talking about things.


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    Registered User Matt the Mead Maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    I can't thank you guys enough for the excellent discussion here. If I had a pot of hide glue going, I would have used hide glue for the nut. For the sake of expediency, I wound up going with the advice of some of the good folks here and going with a small drop of cyano glue.

    Here's a picture of my progress. I wanted to match the bone nut with the tuners and 12th-fret marker that look to have spent decades in smokey jazz clubs.
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    When you've made a nut that fits just righ with no overhang on either side trying to set it with CA will ruin your day. You can never get it in just the right spot defore it sets.

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    Registered User Matt the Mead Maker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Yes, it does set up very, very fast. That is another good argument for hide glue or Titebond. I guess I got lucky. If someone were dead set on using CA, I can imagine that using a pencil to draw a matching line on the nut and fretboard would help line things up in a hurry.
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    Master of mediocrity Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    I use CA gel. it doesn't set as fast as the liquid. not just for instrument nuts but many things I need time to get things lined up (like $300 rc car tires, a bulged bead would make them useless)

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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Yes, it does set up very, very fast. That is another good argument for hide glue or Titebond. I guess I got lucky. If someone were dead set on using CA, I can imagine that using a pencil to draw a matching line on the nut and fretboard would help line things up in a hurry.
    I use HHG or Titebond for most nuts. On the rare occasion when I do use CA, I position the nut first, then wick a small amount of thin glue between the fingerboard and the nut.
    I use odorless CA only. It never foams, and more importantly, causes no severe allergic reactions.
    John

  20. #20

    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Main thing is go really easy with it whatever you do use. I replaced a nut today on a flat-top and it came out in three pieces (thankfully I didn't care, which is why I was knocking it out) It was so glued in that there were glued-in nut remnants and glue residue all down in the crease between the fretboard end and the peghead. Cleaning this kludge out forces you to have to mess around with the fretboard end to do so, which is (or should be) already the exact length required for the proper intonation from the nut, and having to mess with that for no good reason is just so unnecessary, when it is just the smallest amount of adhesive that is required to keep the nut from sliding around.
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    Registered User the padma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Well Mat,

    to be perfectly square and level with you,
    I highly suggest chewy gum.

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    duh Padma
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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Joe View Post
    To set the nut superglue (cyanoacrylate) would probably be a better choice.
    Certainly not my choice. Every nut I've had to remove that was set with CA took out significant wood under it. This is why I, like Tony above, use glue on the end of the board only. It should fit well enough that it doesn't need any glue, really.
    .
    ph

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    Sonic Broker Lynn Dudenbostel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Setting a nut with hide glue?

    I only glue the face of the nut to the end grain of the fingerboard. You'll have problems others have mentioned with pulling out chunks of wood if you put it on the bottom of the nut. I either use a thick CA or just about as often, reach for a tube of Duco cement. The nut should fit the slot snug anyway. This is just to keep it in place if someone takes all the strings off. It shouldn't take more than a gentle tape with a fret hammer and a block of wood to break any glue joint with the nut. Factory instruments often have the nuts glued to within an inch of their life! Not uncommon to have those come out in pieces. Not good.

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