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Thread: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

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    Default I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    I just read an archived article on the GAL site that talked about a method of gluing hide glue by coating both pieces, letting it dry, clamping it and applying steam to the joint to re-activate the glue. Has anyone tried this and is it a viable method when you have a large area to glue?
    Bob Schmidt

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    I have no idea but would be sceptical about how the steam would be able to penetrate a clamped joint.

    But why not just try it?
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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Steam can get "anywhere" when it comes to wood.
    I have not tried the technique, but it has been done successfully.
    A similar method (and to me, one that makes more sense) is to glue, dry and clamp as above, but then use steam or hot water and a hot palette knife (stainless steel to avoid staining) and work around the joint by unclamping a section, working in heat and moisture, then re-clamping behind you as you go. Keep moving with that and the whole thing is glued and clamped.

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    A method for removing hide glue is to use steam.
    So one has to be very careful about using the heat and moisture from steam in this method. Furthermore this method is 'working blind'. You can't see if there are any sections that have not been re-moistened inside.

    Better, if you want to do a large area, is to apply warm water or a very weak mixture of hide glue, with a brush as you go, to the existing glue surfaces. Then you can see what has has been re-moistened. (If your work quickly, you can wet everything and do the clamping.) Remember that too much water will also remove hide glue.
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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Another variation: apply glue to both surfaces, then liberally apply reasonably dilute HHG to both to re-activate and clamp up.

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    The weak hide glue sounds like an alternative. I was wondering if the moisture from the steam would weaken the glue.
    Bob Schmidt

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    "Dry gluing" is common among violin makers as it will prevent staining wood with glue (any residual glue can cause ghosts under varnish). They don't seem to use steam but rather hot water applied with thin palette knife into open seam (not much is needed to reactivate, think of old school post stamps). Another advantage is that the whole plate is perfectly aligned and clamped dry and since only few clamps are removed at a time the plate will not want to slide around.
    I used it for violoncello top last year and it worked great.
    Steam may "blow away" some of the glue if used at pressure.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    The GAL is 50 years old. Bringing up a random article out of 1000s that they have published without citing who and when is pretty weak hearsay. During that half century of publication there have been countless techniques that have evolved and since discarded.

    I'd guess that article is one by Jim Hamm describing gluing methods for violin family instruments.

    Jim taught me that method for gluing double bass tops and I use it all of the time. I use it to glue an entire double bass top to the rib garland in one session. Finesse and delicate work approach is everything; you don't just blast steam everywhere at 300 psi.

    Hot hide glue strength and application methods are very different for violin family instruments because they are designed to be taken apart and worked on as a regular activity, compared to guitars and mandolins where it is generally avoided unless absolutely necessary.

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    James,
    That was the article, and it was about a double bass, but since the pucker factor is there even for a mandolin top I was wondering if it is a viable alternative. I would like to use hide glue on any parts that may have to be removed in the future.
    Bob Schmidt

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Quote Originally Posted by irishmando View Post
    ...I would like to use hide glue on any parts that may have to be removed in the future...
    Well fit, well glued, and well preserved hide glue joints are among the most difficult to open that I have encountered. I'm not sure where the "truism" of hide glue being easily reversible came from, but it is not necessarily the truth. If a joint is expected to be opened in the future there are methods and techniques that allow for that, but simply using hot hide glue does not mean we get an easier joint to open.

    It is true that re-gluing a joint once separated can be easier if it was glued with hide glue rather than some other glues.

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Bob:

    Jim is a friend of mine & I've attended his big workshops- the one at the GAL in that article and once at Oberlin. His glue-dry-clamp-steam-clamp tighter process literally changed a big part of my repair life.

    I have a constant daily workload of 50-250 year old giant instruments that I take apart and put back together with hot hide glue. While busy mandolin only folks might use a few ounces per year, I go through about five pounds annually! It used to be confusing and stressful and had a moderate failure rate due to technique, but now it is one of those few things that I can rely upon for excellent consistent results.

    I've got an upcoming giant article in American Lutherie coming out this year about glues + laminating + vacuum systems and am scheduled to be presenting a super nerdfest workshop at the convention in Tacoma this July. 'Hope to see some folks there!

    Feel free to call the shop and we can chat it up in much better detail than I can type about all the hot hide glue nerdiness that you can ask.

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Another use for the dry gluing is inserting violin purfling into channel. The purfling strip is coated with glue and dried and slightly compressed with roller and channel is slightly widened with wedge shaped stick so the dry purfling can be inserted easily and tiny gap remains for the steam/ water to enter. After the whole is assembled you just paint it over with hot water or shoot with steam and the gaps close and glue reactivate with the heat and moisture without any messy glue squeeze-out to clean.

    BTW, James, what is your source of steam? I once used handheld steam cleaner I borrowed from my mother (I think it was Kaercher) and it ws quite unreliable as it either shot too much steam at once or started spitting water along with the steam. WOrks OK for neck joint steaming but I preferred using hot water with brush for the dry gluing technique for ease of control.
    Adrian

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Also I agree with John. HHG joints can be among strongest wood joints. The myth that HHG joins can be easily opened comes from not understanding violin making techniques. Violin makers typically use intentionally weaker glue (diluted) for top joints and the overhang of plates makes it quite easy to open. But if you try to remove fingerboard well glued with HHG it will be MUCH harder to remove than one glued with Titebond which releases easily with just heat.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    A similar method (and to me, one that makes more sense) is to glue, dry and clamp as above, but then use steam or hot water and a hot palette knife (stainless steel to avoid staining) and work around the joint by unclamping a section, working in heat and moisture, then re-clamping behind you as you go. Keep moving with that and the whole thing is glued and clamped.
    I am interested in trying the method described by John here on my mandolin build because I could get everything clamped into place then slowly work my way around with the pallette knife finishing the glue up. It seems like violin builders do this with good success, but I'm sensing a lot of hesitation in this thread for using it on a mandolin. Is the increased stress of having 8 strings too much for a joint glued up this way? I would be using 192 gram strength glue. Should I not waste my time with this method and just practice my glue application and clamping sequence to work with hide glue's normal open time restrictions?

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    I wouldn't worry about hide glue on a mandolin. It is plenty strong. I do sections at a time, but differently than John. I glue and clamp the neck and end block first. then work around the body, glue and clamp as much as you feel comfortable doing in a short time frame.
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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I wouldn't worry about hide glue on a mandolin. It is plenty strong. I do sections at a time, but differently than John. I glue and clamp the neck and end block first. then work around the body, glue and clamp as much as you feel comfortable doing in a short time frame.
    Thank you for the feedback pops1! To make sure I'm understanding your method, are you pre-gluing the rim and edge of the plate(s) and letting that dry, then gluing/clamping the neck and end blocks with the glue wet? Then later coming back with the pallette knife and activating the previously applied hide glue? Thanks again!

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    Quote Originally Posted by Schneidly View Post
    Thank you for the feedback pops1! To make sure I'm understanding your method, are you pre-gluing the rim and edge of the plate(s) and letting that dry, then gluing/clamping the neck and end blocks with the glue wet? Then later coming back with the pallette knife and activating the previously applied hide glue? Thanks again!
    That's pretty much what I do for guitars and ukes, except I brush a little more glue (diluted) into the joint to reactivate the glue already there.

    Once clamped I warm the joint with a heat gun and then snug up the clamps. Squeeze out reassures me the glue is nice and liquid.

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    Default Re: I'm curious about a hide gluing method

    I glue the blocks first, one at a time, and clamp. Then I treat the rest like an open seam and glue and clamp till I am done. No glue first and reheating. I have done upright basses like this too.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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