Our Joiners Pearl Hide
Glue is no longer available.
in the near future we will have two powdered versions
of Hide Glue
One is ideal for furniture,
restoration, gesso, decorative finishes, etc.
The other is
specifically suited for Luthiers and other instrument makers.
below for a bit more info.
We are currently working on packaging and
price for the new glues
The following is an extract
Handbook, written by Neil Ellis
Most modern glues are not able to re-bond to
other glues or for that matter to themselves so clean
timber to timber contact is a must, especially when
working on the restoration of furniture.
Hide glue on the other hand will reglue to
old hide glue and form a good strong bond to boot. This
doesn't mean that you need not clean out the joint before reglueing, but you do not have to put in quite as much
work as the old glue can be mostly removed with hot water
and a rag without damage to the joint. The new glue will
then bond to the residue that remains in the joint and is
already keyed into the timber.
comes in a powder or pearl form and is mixed weight for
weight with water. ie 100grams of powder is mixed with
100grams of water. (I prefer to use rain water) This is
left to soak for a short time, it will shell up during
this time as the glue soaks up the water. It is then
heated in a double boiler until it melts and kept at a
constant temperature around 80 degrees Celsius. The glue
should resemble a thick broth when it is ready for use.
glue on to both joints and press them together using a
clamp. The new glue will melt the old remaining glue in
the joint and form a new bond. You will have to work
fairly quickly as the glue sets or rather jells very
fast, especially in cold weather. The setting time can be
retarded with the addition of a little extra water or by
warming the joint prior to applying the glue.
plus for hide glue is its speed in setting. Because it
works so fast it is some times not necessary to use
clamps to hold a piece. In some instances you will find
the addition of glue blocks to the back of a joint will
strengthen and hold the piece together making for an
easier and stronger repair.
blocks are small pieces of timber usually triangle
shaped. These are used to lend extra support to a joint
especially on corner joints. Glue is painted on the two
right angled faces, the block is placed in position and
then slowly but firmly rubbed up and down until the glue
starts to grab and the block can no longer be moved
freely. These blocks have many applications in
ON HIDE GLUE
type of glue is still reasonably easy to get though you
may have to send for it by mail. I keep a supply of it on
hand at the school for students use and for sale. See add
& suppliers list at end of book.
The two main types of
hide glue are:
Pearl glue - small hard beads which
should be soaked for a little while in their own weight
of water before being heated. Unfortunately this is no longer available
glue - is a powdered form of the above.It
used to be harder
to get for woodworkers but we will shortly have a supply of two (new
to us) different strengths as mentioned above.
One is ideal for furniture, restoration, gesso, decorative
finishes, general gluing, glass chipping and more.
The other is specifically suited for musical instrument
makers, luthiers (stringed instruments)
woodwind and others.
as the name suggests is an animal bi-product. Basically
it is a gelatine made from the processed hides and bones
of animals. Recycled horse and cow etc. It has one minor
flaw and that is the fact that it has a rather
distinctive odour which to some is pleasent whilst to others it's not very pleasing
on the nose.Even worse when it's ben left for a week or so.
HEATING THE GLUE
Before hide glue can be used it must be heated
to around 80oC, this is traditionally done in
a glue pot which is in fact a double boiler. Electric
versions of these are available today with thermostatic
control. They are however rather expensive (well in
excess of $100). There are alternatives. I purchased a
second-hand, thermostatic controlled, electric
baby-bottle warmer for $4 from a Trash & Treasure
Market. This is just the right size to hold an empty
100gm glass coffee jar. This jar in turn will hold enough
glue to do a rather large gluing up job.
If I need
to do a lot of gluing, eg. to veneer a table top or a
complete set of dining chairs etc. I would use my large
glue pot. You can make something similar by using a
plastic honey bucket and suspending it inside a large
Ovaltine or similar tin, cut a hole in the lid of the
honey bucket and put your glue brush through it, this
will help to stop the glue from drying out and skinning
on the top.
Diagram shows a honey bucket suspended in
an Ovaltine tin.
the glue in your makeshift glue pot pour boiling water
into the tin then put the bucket containing the glue in
and stir the glue constantly for about 5 minutes or until
it has all become liquid. The glue should then be at
about 80oC and ready for use. Alternatively
you can place the tin into an electric frying-pan which
has an inch (25mm) or so water in the bottom and keep it
at approximately 80OC for a longer period of
Hide glue can also be mixed with talc or calcium
carbonate (chalk powder) to make gesso. This is
traditionally used as a base upon which to apply gold
leaf, however it can also be used in a number of
decorative finishes as well as a grain filler on open
See the page on