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Hide Glue


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I just thought I'd share some information regarding Titebond Liquid Hide Glue. I recently had the need to repair a leak in the bellows of my Wheatstone and after some searching came up with Titebond' s offering. It is water soluable and does not need all the preparation of the traditional glues. I fitted a small patch and re-fixed a section of seam tape. Although not the most beautiful of repairs it is workmanlike and has been airtight for a few months now. Available from Axminster Tool Centre.

Dave

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Opinions differ about this glue, and the variations may be due in part to "tradition!"

 

Amongst stringed instrument makers there seems to be a workable majority that this glue is best avoided for important or stressed joints.

 

When I've used it it failed after a while, so I wouldn't use it again. It might well work better on something like a bellows repair than, say, gluing the front of a viola d'amore.......

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I'd think that a glue which might fail but which would be reversible would be a better choice than one which couldn't be removed. Certainly that's why hide glue is used in making string instruments which might need to be disassembled for repair.

 

On another note-- seeing that reference to viola d'amore (which I'll be playing at a dance this weekend) any other players out there of both concertina and viola d'amore?

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I'd think that a glue which might fail but which would be reversible would be a better choice than one which couldn't be removed. Certainly that's why hide glue is used in making string instruments which might need to be disassembled for repair.

 

On another note-- seeing that reference to viola d'amore (which I'll be playing at a dance this weekend) any other players out there of both concertina and viola d'amore?

 

Yes, fair point Larry, better than irreversible epoxy and although obviously bellows need flexibility, there aren't generally the stresses on a concertina that there are on string instruments.

 

Hide glue is not that much hassle. The granules are a lot more convenient than "pearls" since they don't need pre-soaking. All you need is an old cup of some sort and some water simmering in a saucepan.

 

The re-usability of hide glue is wonderful. I've re-glued a detached fiddle fingerboard using tiny amounts of glue scraped off the old joint and reactivated in a teaspoon with a drop of water. (During an Easter weekend in the west of Ireland with no chance of getting anything else.)

 

Amazed to find someone else playing concertina and V d'A! Though I have to admit, I sold the viola d'amore I made. It was nice to play solo with the resonance of the sympathetic strings but I found their sound was lost as soon as another instrument joined in. Maybe just a fault of mine.

Tom

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- about using hide glue for stringed wooden instruments -

 

For violins the tradition claims that it is "not done" to use other glue than hide glue, but I don't see the point of not using (white) titebond instead.

 

To my idea instruments are made to be a fine instrument - they are not made to be repaired on beforehand, to sit on it, to throw it on stage, to smash it on a stone.

 

Is it true that - on average - fiddles do suffer more from repair needs than bouzouki's, guitars and mandolins?

 

Compared to instruments with hide glue - I don't see much difference (ease and damage) to take apart instruments glued with titebond.

 

 

Certainly that's why hide glue is used in making string instruments which might need to be disassembled for repair.

 

On another note-- seeing that reference to viola d'amore (which I'll be playing at a dance this weekend) any other players out there of both concertina and viola d'amore?

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- about using hide glue for stringed wooden instruments -

 

For violins the tradition claims that it is "not done" to use other glue than hide glue, but I don't see the point of not using (white) titebond instead.

 

To my idea instruments are made to be a fine instrument - they are not made to be repaired on beforehand, to sit on it, to throw it on stage, to smash it on a stone.

 

Is it true that - on average - fiddles do suffer more from repair needs than bouzouki's, guitars and mandolins?

 

Compared to instruments with hide glue - I don't see much difference (ease and damage) to take apart instruments glued with titebond.

 

Violins have been made much the same way since before 1550. Mess with that tradition if you like, but the chances are that no-one in the violin world will take you seriously as a maker/repairer if you do. (And those who have to adjust or repair your work may curse you and mark down the prices of your instruments!)

 

I don't know about violins needing more repair, but how many two hundred year old guitars and bouzoukis are in serious use as top line professional "gigging" instruments?

 

Taking a violin apart to be worked on is routine. You can eventually get there with other glues but use the same stuff as Stradivari, Amati, Stainer, Del Gesu, Vuillaume, Tononi, Bisiach etc etc and it's easy.

 

Not just all that, but hide glue is great stuff in it's own right......

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Tombr,

 

I agree that hide glue is great stuff. Although it smells au bain marie, it does not keep me from using it. Still, Titebond is easier to process than hide glue (you don't need to warm it up) and my gamble is that Stradivarius would use it if he would live today. It dries out completely and it isn´t flexible like most of the available white glues - it joins in the resonance of the body.

 

For a fiddle, after building it (using spruce that has been dried for 12 years) the acoustical quality of the spruce top is optimal after a year or ten. The resonance of the back is important via the post. Like hide glue, titebond is rigid when dry and it does not mute the sound.

 

As for differences in need of repairs it is what I read one day (and I believe it is true) that it in practice guitars and bouzoukis are more often played on a knee. If you play a fiddle it has a less obvious and stressful position from an ergonomical view and that is why (relatively) more accidents happen with violins (also new ones).

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Like hide glue, titebond is rigid when dry and it does not mute the sound.

Titebond is a brand name of "Franklin International" or "Franklin Industries", not a particular kind of glue. There are also other, quite different Franklin/Titebond glue products. I don't build instruments or do major woodworking, but for years I've used both Titebond Liquid Hide Glue and Titebond white glue for small repairs.

 

Titebond "Liquid Hide Glue" is, as I understand it, the same as ordinary hide glue, except that it is made liquid by a solvent rather than by heating. As a result, the glue doesn't harden as rapidly, but eventually it does harden as the solvent evaporates. IMO, whether quicker or slower hardening is preferred depends on the nature of the particular glue job.

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Hi marien, I totally agree that Titebond original is good stuff. It's my favoured wood glue. I believe it has a slight "pull tight" effect as it dries, which is handy.

 

It's all "horses for courses" of course. I generally have about nine different glues to hand, all for different purposes.

 

If anyone's interested, Titebond original; Hide glue; "superglue" (isocyanoacrylate); Weldbond; ordinary PVA; waterproof PVA; epoxy; clear Bostik; Copydex "Rubber solution glue".

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I believe it has a slight "pull tight" effect as it dries, which is handy.

 

H TomB-R

I think you are right about the pull tight effect. Though there may be one drawback on the same feature. For making a joint for a guitar, mandola or mandolin top there is not much glue surface (while the blade is thin), and if it pulls tight inside the (relatively soft) wood of the top, the joint may loosen on some places. I am not sure if this is the cause, but I have seen some (about 30 years old) mandolins and guitars t(h)reate(ne)d with titebond that show a small gap like this in the top )less than one mm but still...). Could it be specific types of finish (car spray or even worse, thinner based cellulose lacquers) that cuased this? It makes me think it is better to use another type of glue for top joints. Any ideas?

 

Woops this is concertina net...

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I tried my hand at repairing stringed instruments a few years ago. All of the instruments that I used this exact glue on fell apart when the humidity was high. None of the ones that I used traditional hide glue on were affected.

 

Don't use it. It becomes like gum in humid weather and will stretch as the wood expands. I know you want some give in the glue prevent the wood from cracking, but this stuff is awful.

 

Blake

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