Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hot Hide Glue

In an effort to find out first hand why so many luthiers favour the use of hot hide glue when modern alternatives are so readily available, I've finally ordered (and received!) some high clarity 192 gram-strength hide glue granules from the U.S.  I'm sure my Titebond, epoxy and superglue will remain indispensable for many tasks, but I'm keen to introduce this most ancient of glue types into my building process, particularly when it comes to attaching braces to instrument soundboards and backs.

My initial order was intercepted by Australia's occasionally-vigilant quarantine service and ultimately destroyed by them (despite my protestations), but it seems they were distracted by other matters while my second order was entering the country.  I'd be feeling a little guilty right now for having circumvented our quarantine laws, except for the fact that other Australian builders report that their shipments are routinely inspected by quarantine personnel before being sealed up and sent on their way without a fuss. If one-pound packages of hide glue posed any real threat to national security I'm sure they would be confiscated on a more consistent basis!

It's been a long time since I've had any need for a baby bottle warmer; the cheap model pictured will see out its days as a handy glue pot.

Some useful links:
Frank Ford - Using Hide Glue
Luthier's Mercantile - Granular Hide Glue
Wikipedia - Animal Glue