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Thread: Hide glue question

  1. #51

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    In the past 40 years I have built tons of cabinets using either Titebond I or II. The joints are indeed stronger than the wood grain. Probably my least favorite aspect of its use is the careful cleanup required. LOTS of time spent with a chisel or card scraper or the toothbrush to remove all vestiges of sqeezeout before finishing. If your doing a natural finish or dyeing the wood, it takes extra care. HHG, wipe it with a damp cloth, done!

    I think part of the "nonreversible" complaint about AR glue stems from the fact once it gets in the pores, that's it. Cleaning up a disassembled Titebond joint well enough to reglue it with Titebond is no quick task and the resulting joint isn't likely to be as strong as the original. Not really what you want to be attempting inside an assembled instrument. I've also experienced joint creep a couple of times with Titebond, it didn't show up until after the finish was on. This makes me hesitant to use it on the body of an instrument that's going to be under string tension.

    I think the infatuation with using "animal based" glue on high end instruments probably stems from the fact that that's what the highly treasured vintage instruments were all put together with (along with nitrocellulose lacquer), therefore the assumption that it will sound better. I do find that the structure of hide glue that allows it dry rock hard does not allow joint creep, and may transfer high frequencies marginally better than AR glue (just like nitro lacquer vs various poly's) No scientific proof, just my gut. Of course, the number one factor determining joint integrity is a good, clean, tight fitting joint. In which case either glue is going to work fine.

    For building mandolins, I use HHG for everything in the soundbox and the neck joint. I'm still using Titebond for gluing down the fretboard. I like the open working time, I'm able to get a good thin glue line, and I know the joint will handle the torque of pulling the neck with some give.

  2. #52

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Anyone use Old Brown Glue? I assume its been discussed before but I've had no luck with a search.

    Thanks - Gary Davis

  3. #53

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryDavis View Post
    Anyone use Old Brown Glue?
    It's one of the glues tested here; these might be the tests that Adrian mentioned

    http://www.oldbrownglue.com/pdf/HowS...urGlue_FWW.pdf
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  4. #54
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I believe that Old Brown Glue is simply hide glue with an unknown percentage of urea added. My guess would be at least 15%, perhaps a bit more, or it wouldn't have a 30 minute open working time.

    I might consider such a glue for some lower stress joints. But by the time you pay the premium price for it and go to the trouble of heating it, you might as well make up your own glue with urea. $8 will buy you a pound of good quality hide glue flakes, and I bought enough urea for 5 bucks at an artists' supply shop to last me the rest of my life, even after giving some of it away. 5 ounces of Old Brown Glue costs 10 bucks or more-- that's a premium price for a glue. And remember, it's got a limited shelf life, and should be refrigerated when not in use.

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  6. #55

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    In the past 40 years I have built tons of cabinets using either Titebond I or II. The joints are indeed stronger than the wood grain. Probably my least favorite aspect of its use is the careful cleanup required. LOTS of time spent with a chisel or card scraper or the toothbrush to remove all vestiges of sqeezeout before finishing. If your doing a natural finish or dyeing the wood, it takes extra care. HHG, wipe it with a damp cloth, done!
    .
    That statement makes it very clear to me that I need to start up my glue pot again and maybe purchase some urea for closing tops and backs. I started using fresh Titebond Hide glue and I really like it. Of course that fresh bottle is now junk and it's still half full.
    Richard Hutchings

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  8. #56
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Updating my earlier comments. After cleaning and fitting the top brace on the 1920 Gibson A, hot hide glue seemed like exactly the right glue to use, so I did. Looking at putting the back on, it sits on the ribs without any stress so hide glue seems like a good choice. That's a little different than when I build a new one. I haven't used urea for anything in years, so I need to find some. Does it affect finishes?
    Tom

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  9. #57
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I do not use it often, but so far I haven't noticed any reactions with finishes.
    I bought a pound of Jacquard brand urea at an artists' supply shop for about 5 or 6 bucks. If you can't find it easily, pm me.
    I still haven't settled on a particular recipe, but Frank Ford suggests a maximum of 10% dry weight to the dry glue flakes.

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  11. #58
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I haven't used urea in a long time, but I have in the past used to for gluing guitar tops and backs to rims. Usually, I heat the shop and the work for situations like that where it takes a while to glue and clamp the joint. When the glue doesn't cool on the work, because the wood is as warm as the glue, we have plenty of open time, and in fact the glue can start to dry and thicken before it starts to jell, so a little wetter mixture can help. I think my urea came from a hobby shop where it was sold as a mordant for dying fabric.
    When I did use urea, I had my jelly jar of glue hot in the glue pot, and right before gluing, I sprinkled a small amount of urea granules into the glue (no measuring), stirred until dissolved, then made the glue joint. The remainder of glue was tossed rather than used for other joints.

    PS.
    Also, for gluing cracks I gently and slowly warm (and humidify) the work so that it is above the temperature at which hide glue jells. That gives me nearly unlimited working time to get glue thoroughly into the crack. Much longer than Titebond which thickens fairly quickly.

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  13. #59
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I have mostly used it in situations where I didn't have a way of getting my clamps set quickly, such as loose braces in old Gibson and Martin guitars.
    I used it last week to glue a loose top to side joint near the tail block on an old Martin that had to have the glue applied from the inside [through the sound hole] because I did not want to take the binding loose.
    She's holding up fine.

  14. #60

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    That's the only thing I dislike about HHG, heating the parts. Small parts like braces and neck joints are fine but a guitar body is a PIA to heat up if you can't heat the whole room. I may get some heat lamps.
    Richard Hutchings

  15. #61
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I have a heat lamp bulb in a swing arm lamp mounted to the wall right beside one of my benches. There is also a heat gun in the bottom drawer. I can swing the lamp over the work and turn it on in 2 seconds.

  16. #62

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    There’s also that ‘50s icon, now often found at your neighborhood tag sale; the Salton Hot Tray. They’re thermostatted, come in large sizes and small, and with the addition of a very high tech cardboard box, instant warming oven.
    I don’t have the courage to borrow hers for such service, but I believe it could work.
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  17. #63
    Registered User resophonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    My shop is too thermally transparent to heat my work turning up the thermostat. Infra Red lamps solve that problem and as John has mentioned, using the glue a bit on the thin side with hot lamps, way extends open time. You don't need Urea if you can keep things warmer than 95 degrees.

    Infra Red will not heat reflective surfaces, so masking with tin foil or even White paper is enough of a heat shield. It is also advisable to first prime the parts to be glued with thinned hide glue, even if it dries out a bit before the final application at glue up. Otherwise, the dry wood parts may pull the water out of the glue, creating a dry joint. I think this is one step a lot of folks learning how to use hot hide glue are not aware of and probably a top reason for failure when learning to use hot hide glue.
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  19. #64
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I can install an entire upright bass top in one session with no help using traditional hot hide glue; mandolins are tiny and simple.

    You don't need to add urea or buy some hipster prepackaged snakeoil. Just like learning to play the mandolin, practice and learn how to use hot hide glue.

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  21. #65

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Totally agree with James. By the way, hide glue with urea added is a recipe for joint failure in a humid environment.
    Last edited by Patrick Toole; Mar-24-2021 at 6:10pm.

  22. #66
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    While I agree that straight hide glue is do-able and best for new construction and most types of repairs including fingerboard replacement, neck sets, guitar bridges, and guitar bridge plates; certain repairs require more open time.

    If anybody has a way of regluing guitar braces through a sound hole without extending the open time of the glue, I am open to suggestions. Until then, I'm going to continue adding urea for that particular job.

    I'm no longer going to put Titebond on top of an old hide glue joint. Neither am I going to put a heat source inside an instrument.
    Last edited by rcc56; Mar-24-2021 at 7:03pm.

  23. #67
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Right or wrong I have used a slightly dampened sponge to rub the edge I am gluing with HHG, I don't always do that. Not soaked just slightly dampened.
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  24. #68
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    This discussion shows that hide glue requires the user to develop and practice a technique and discipline from mixing the glue, to testing and applying it, and through the curing process, and that it will all vary for each user. The same can be said for other types of glue, but I think they are not nearly as involved and varying. Therefore, they are in a sense more reliable due to a lower likelihood of user error or a lack of discipline or unexpected environmental factors. Still, you want to have and be able to use the best tool for a particular job.

    The big surprise for me was that in looking to answer John Bertotti's original question, I ran across a couple of current web sites listing the hide glue gram strengths recommended for kitchen cabinets and furniture. It seems like my carpentry experience in the 1960s and 1970s would have exposed me to using hide glue for these purposes, but it didn't.
    Tom

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  25. #69

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I searched, with no luck, for an answer. I've been reading through the "glue" archive and was wondering whether the use of locating dowels or pins would eliminate the creep associated with Titebond for use in attaching plates to rim?

    Gary Davis

  26. #70
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    No it would not.
    When an instrument under full string tension gets as hot as it can in a car in summer, the stresses involved can easily overcome the holding power of dowels. When plastic glue is softened by heat, string tension can easily move glued parts. I've seen well fit dovetail neck joints displaced by string tension in summer car heat, and the mechanical holding power of dowels is no match for a well fit dovetail.

    Keep in mind that the wood itself is somewhat plasticized by heat (that's how we bend sides) as well as the glue.

  27. #71
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    Right or wrong I have used a slightly dampened sponge to rub the edge I am gluing with HHG, I don't always do that. Not soaked just slightly dampened.
    I wouldn't do that. Moist wood will suck heat from glue much faster and you risk premature gelling. Excessive water can also cause swelling and ill-fitting joint.
    I just glued badly cracked cello top - big long piece pushed in and cracks converging at end on the outside but diverging on inside so the edges were feathered down to varnish thickness - after adding glue they curled up 1/8". The whole top was heated and I had plaster cast ready (and warmed as well) and already glued some pillars for clamping in the parts where the cracks were vertical. I pushed the top firmly against the cast (using go bar deck) and tightened clamps on pillars. I shot it with hot fan again for a while so the glue reheats again and allows better alignment of parts (sometimes you can see some new tiny droplets of squeeze-out from the cracks after this heating). All with HHG, no big rush.

    One advantage of HHG no one mentioned so far is that you can also use other gluing techniques or strategies that are impossible with other glues. First is rubbed joint, I would not advise it to beginner and even many experienced violin folks don't do it and prefer clamping but for smaller repairs that cannot be easily aligned and clamped this works great - broken scrolls are good example -heat it a bit, apply nice thick HHG, press the parts together checking lignment with fingers from all sides (no clamps in the way), hold firmly while you count to 50 and let dry in position that doesn't apply pressure on the joint. Done.
    Second is activated "dry joint" - you apply thin layer of glue on the glued surfaces (or just one in some cases) then put the parts together with gentle pressure of clamps and brush with warm water so it penetrates between the parts (not too much water, that could wash the glue away) tighten clamps. This is often used to glue violin tops/backs to body - especially when you need no glue stain on wood - that could cause ugly ghosts under violin varnish.
    Often it is used to glue purflings into channel. They have layer of dry glue on both sides and the channels are slightly widened with wedge- shaped tool so the purfling is easily inserted dry. then just paint on some warm water and both the glue activates and the widened gaps close and create tight bond.
    Third is used on restorations where you cannot glue all splinters or parts perfectly in one session and/or need plaster cast for final result. You temporarily glue the bits together with thick HHG as well as possible using traditional clamping etc. some cracks may not be perfectly in register and some may have thicker glue line. Then you make the cast and adjust it's surface (adding filler in low spots and reducing high spots) You can then apply thin strips of wet cloth or thick wet wool/cotton strings onto the problematic joints and cover with cling film so the glue will turn into gel overnight again. When you press the plate to the cast and slowly heat it with heat gun to liquify the glue (still covered with foil to avoid premature drying) you can re-arrange the pieces much better this time and get them into alignment. Some restorers use vacuum bagging for this with great results.
    There ar eperhaps other techniques I forgot to mention as well...
    Adrian

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  29. #72
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I didn't know that, I do however do rubbed joints depending on the project, it was someone here years ago that said it was possible, so I gave it a try. That little tidbit has saved me a small fortune in clamps, not that I don't want more clamps! I have never had an issue with a rubbed joint coming apart, yet.
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  30. #73

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Anyone who has done lots of instrument repairs for years knows how easy it is to release Titebond (and similar glues). It is one of the things that reinforced my tendency to use hide glue for most instrument joints.
    Some of the most difficult joints I've had to release have been very old Martin guitar bridge to top joints and very old Gibson fingerboard joints. A well made and well preserved hide glue joint can be extremely difficult to release.

    When we squeeze Titebond from a bottle we get pretty much the same thing every time, unless we let the glue sit around in the shop so long that it deteriorates in the bottle. When we dissolve hide glue in water we don't necessarily have the same thing each time; maybe a little more water maybe a little less, maybe a little cleaner water, maybe not. Once that glue is hot in the glue pot, we may keep it longer or use it up faster, we may overheat it... there are things that can cause deterioration of the glue in the pot. Maybe we let it cool to much while assembling the joint, etc.. In short, there are lots of thing that we can do to make our hide glue less effective that don't apply to squeezing AR glue from a bottle. It's hard to know how often that happened in instrument factories in the days before plastic glues, but it certainly happened some times. Between that and the inevitable compromised joint from time to time there are plenty of examples of failure to fuel the critics of hide glue and proponents of plastic glues. When we gain experience with glue types we tend to learn what glue is good where and which suits our own situation best. Some of us just stick with what we're used to (see what I did there?).

    I have plenty of anecdotal stories of difficulties that I've had releasing hide glue, and of Titebond failures, and vise versa. None of that is particularly important. The bottom line is Hide glue is good for specific things, Titebond is good for specific things, other glues and adhesives are good for specific things, there is a lot of overlap, and different people use different things.

    If I had three projects to do:

    1. a mandolin
    2. a work bench
    3. a wooden canoe

    I would choose hide glue for one, Titebond for one, and epoxy for one. It shouldn't be too hard to figure our which is which.
    so your saying different glues do diff things think i got it...now i'm going to take a swing at your quiz

  31. #74

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    I'm building a mandolin. Its ready to be glued up but I'm scared of using the wrong glue for the job. I've followed this thread and read through many others-hence my fear of fooking up. I am also building a guitar and have been reading through a number of fora on the subject. What I am finding awfully confusing is that guitar builders seem to typically use AR glue to attach soundboard and back to sides. AR glue seems to be frowned upon by mandolin builders for these joints due to potential for creep.

    What I would really like to understand is how can there be more potential for creep in mandolins than guitars when mandolin strings attach to head and tail (attached to rim not soundboard) while guitar strings are attached to head and bridge (attached to soundboard on the lower bout)? Seems to me creep would be more prevalent in guitars but they seem to get along fine using AR glue.

    Please enlighten me.

    Gary Davis

  32. #75

    Default Re: Hide glue question

    Mandolins built with AR are fine, it's done all the time. Mandolins built with hide are finer, we think. I can't see creep being an issue on a mandolin, who said that? The head and tail block would have to move and I suppose it's possible.
    Richard Hutchings

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