November 8, 2001

Ellis: Our special guest tonight is Patrick Edwards. As many of you know, Pat is a leading authority on marquetry and furniture restoration. He lives and works in San Diego, California. Besides building outrageously beautiful furniture, Pat teaches French marquetry in the tradition of the Ecole Boulle in Paris. He is also a maker, purveyor and advocate of hide glue. We are fortunate to have him with us tonight.

Ellis: Patrick, why do you use hide glue?

Patrick Edwards: Hide glue is reversible. Reversible is essential for durability

Ellis: How do you tell if hide glue is still good? Patrick Edwards: Subjective tests: sight, color, smell, viscosity, etc

Termite: What causes hide glue to crystalize?

Patrick Edwards: Glue crystalizes when it loses moisture

Termite: Does that affect the holding ability

Patrick Edwards: yes

Termite: So doesn't all hide glue crystalize over time

Patrick Edwards: It needs protection (finish) or it dries out; it can be easily rehydrated

Ellis: What's the difference between crystallizing and drying?

Termite: What is the best method of removing old hide glue

Stephen: You don't have to completely remove it Termite

Stephen: You can reconstitute old hide glue, just clean out the dirt and dust

Dresdner: Ellis -- a rubbed joint must be a clean one. It's great for joining two boards into one wider board

Dresdner: And for other joints, remember that it is gap filling.

Ellis: Which is fine unless you don't want a visible gap, then some clamping is necessary

Patrick Edwards: use a toothing plane for rubbed joints

Dresdner: Ellis -- we do blind unclamped joints all the time. All it takes is two clean flat surfaces.

Ellis: What is the best kind of hot glue to buy and where do you get it?

Patrick Edwards: 192 gram strength, Milligan and Higgins

Dan D: Here is a link to Milligan and Higgins

Dresdner: I get it from Patrick Edwards. That reminds me, Pat -- I need some more.

Patrick Edwards: protein glues are the only glues that bond to themselves

Dresdner: and reactivate themselves too!

Dresdner: Just add more hot hide glue -- or even hot water -- to the old glue and Voila

wlntcrk: does it hurt to dilute the glue like that?

Ellis: Pat, do you sell the solid form, too?

Patrick Edwards: yes

Dresdner: Hey, Ellis -- if you've eaten Jello, you've eaten hide glue.

Ellis: Now there's a thought

Termite: I had hide glue tonight then Michael

JohnP: can hide glue be used outdoors...protected from rain and snow, but subject to freezing temperatures?

Patrick Edwards: not the best glue for all weather

JohnP: ok

Ellis: Is it affected by moisture in the air?

Stephen: It is not waterproof, normally

Ellis: Are you referring to the gram strength you mentioned earlier?

Patrick Edwards: yes

Sgian Dubh: Ok, seeing as no-one picked up on it, Scotch and Russian are made from fish, and hide is made from land animals. Just thought I'd drop that in. Anyone want to pick up the ball and run with it.

Patrick Edwards: fish glue has an amino acid not found in hide or bone

Dan D: What is fish glue used for?

Dresdner: In this country, fish glue is called fish glue, and rabbit skin glue (used in gold leaf) is called rabbit skin glue.

Stephen: holding fish together

Dan D: Stephen, does that mean when we take the glue, the fish falls apart?

Patrick Edwards: gluing metals, leathers, tortoise shell, etc

Sgian Dubh: Reputadly, Scotch and russian are the strongest

Patrick Edwards: sturgeon fish

Stephen: isinglass glue

Patrick Edwards: expensive

Ellis: What are the implications for strength and utility?

Ellis: How does the gram strength relate to the state of the glue?

Patrick Edwards: 135 is glue chip

Patrick Edwards: 192 or 251 for woodworking

Dick Herman: did anyone answer the question about shelf life for hide glue?

Stephen: dry hide glue will last indefinately on the shelf under proper conditions

Patrick Edwards: dry glue lasts forever

Stephen: liquid hide glue last about a year

Dick Herman: I have a double boiler iron pot with hide glue that i know is 80 years old

Dresdner: I use a new crockpot that I bought at Walmart for $9

Stephen: You need some fresh glue, Dick

Dick Herman: I have never used it but i was wondering

Lee Grindinger: What would be the minimum temperature to reacivate hot hide glue that's cooled while putting it in a vaccuum press?

Patrick Edwards: 145 degrees

Lee Grindinger: Pat, would it soften enough to adhere at lower temps with the vaccuum pressure?

Michael Byck: what are the downsides and what caused its relative decline in use ?

Dresdner: Smell

Patrick Edwards: modern chemical industry

Dresdner: Good marketing by Franklin, et al

Sgian Dubh: Hide glue creep, anyone?

Patrick Edwards: no creep

Dresdner: Hey, who are you calling a hide glue creep?

Stephen: it doesn't have the strength of hot hide glue Randy, but is servicable glue

Stephen: no if you want a good liquid hide glue buy some of Patricks Old Brown Glue

wlntcrk: for someone who doesn't need hide glue very often, is it fairly strong?

Dan D: Patrick, how does the liquid glue on your website compare to hot glue?

Dresdner: Hide glue also has higher peel, cleavage, and tensile strength than pva

Patrick Edwards: 10 000 psi sheeeer strength

Ellis: Compare that to Titebond

Patrick Edwards: titebond sucks

wlntcrk: really?

Stephen: don't beat around the bush Patrick how do you really feel?


Sgian Dubh: Titebond is yellow, er, sh*te down here

Ellis: Why, Pat?

Patrick Edwards: it sucks, thats all

Patrick Edwards: reversibility is the most important

Patrick Edwards: carpenters glue for carpenters

Ellis: I'd still like a more thorough understanding of gram strength. Isn't it all the same stuff when they gell it from cows?

Stephen: A high gram strength glue sets up too fast and is unsuitable for woodworking

Dresdner: But remember, tensile is only one type of stress glue gets, and NOT the most important one.

Dresdner: Very few joints put tensile stress on the glue. Shear, peel, and cleavage are all more common.

Ellis: Hey, we all need to have these things in perspective. If hide glue is the best glue, let's all use it

JohnP: ok

Patrick Edwards: welcome to the past

Stephen: I agree

Dresdner: That's going a bit too far. Different applications require different adhesives.

Michael Byck: i agree Michael

MacS: Do you use it Ellis?

Ellis: Yes, Mac, but not as much as I apparently should

Sgian Dubh: ellis, It's not always the best glue. It just has certain advantages in certain situations

Termite: I don't use it yet

Stephen: how many years of proven history does polyurethane glue have huh?

Dresdner: Stephan -- over thirty

Ellis: OK, let's talk about where it is to be preferred and when other glues are more appropriate

Patrick Edwards: works on marquetry and fine inlay

Michael Byck: open or working time Wln ?

wlntcrk: both I guess

Stephen: I use the kind of alcohol that allows me to do both

Dan D: Stephen, to remove glue, not to drink ;-)

Ellis: What happens when you put alcohol on a hide glue joint?

Dresdner: Ellis -- it cracks the structure, making it come apart without softening.

Stephen: it crystalizes the glue

wlntcrk: I need time to apply it, put it together, and square it up

Patrick Edwards: be prepared

Michael Byck: be fast

Dan D: not half fast ;-)

Ellis: So, Pat, you'd use your liquid glue for longer open time apps?

Patrick Edwards: yes

JohnP: Isn't that a good application for liquid hide glue?..wlntcrk's question

Stephen: liquid hide glue gives you much more open time

wlntcrk: that's what I'm wondering

Ellis: What is the difference between the bond of a liquid hide glue joint and a hot hide glue joint?

Patrick Edwards: as much as 45 minutes

Stephen: The bonds are identicle, the time is different

Patrick Edwards: slight reduction in strength only

Ellis: So the liquid is slightly weaker?

Dresdner: but remember, you have oodles of strength to spare, since hide glue is vastly stronger thatn wood fiber internal bonds

Stephen: The additives to liquid hide glue will slightly weaken them

Ellis: Ah, that's a good frame of reference

JohnV: is liquid hide ques damaged by freezing (when still in the container)?

Patrick Edwards: no

Michael Byck: whats the best method of cleaning sqeezout ?

Dresdner: Hot water

Stephen: damp cloth

Patrick Edwards: when it gels, wipe it off, later use cold water to clean up

Sgian Dubh: The trouble, if that's the right phrase, with hide glue of any sort is a long cramping time. That's also an advantage, some situations

Ellis: I used to make up a blob of hot glue gel by soaking the pellets in water and then freezing it to make it last. Any thoughts on this?

Patrick Edwards: why not make it fresh?

Ellis: It avoided the soaking time before I put it in the pot

Stephen: a hard freeze could damage the fibrils in the glue

Stephen: The ice crystals will cut them if they form too fast

Patrick Edwards: keep it dry forever, wet it 4 hours before cooking

Dresdner: You don't have to freeze it. Just make sure it is spore free.

Dresdner: I know of at least two American guitar companies that buy hide glue in gelatin form and store it at room temperature.

wlntcrk: But Norm never uses hide glue...

Patrick Edwards: Norm sucks


Sgian Dubh: Who's Norm?

Ellis: How do you tell if the glue is no good?

Patrick Edwards: bad glue smells bad

Stephen: you got it right Patrick

Patrick Edwards: 5 years Ive worked on this formula

Patrick Edwards: it keeps getting better each time, batch 42 now

Patrick Edwards: Old Brown Glue at www.wpatrickPatrick

Dan D: There is a link in the Emporium and also on the links page

Stephen: at 60 degrees you can't squeeze it out of the bottle

Patrick Edwards: its set to go liquid above 70 degrees

Ellis: So you recommend buying hot glue pellets from Milligan & Higgins direct?

Patrick Edwards: Milligan and Higgins have excelent product and support

Ellis: So what do I order from Milligan? Do they sell different versions?

Patrick Edwards: 192 gram strength

Ellis: What are the other gram strengths for?

JohnV: is the difference in gram strength due to processing or the original parts used?

Patrick Edwards: just get 192

Stephen: Higher gram strengths are used for glue chip glass

Dresdner: Different gram strengths set up (gel) faster or slower

Patrick Edwards: actually, the force required to push a 1/2:" plunger 4 mm into the surface

Stephen: of a 12 1/2 percent protein solution at 50 degrees

Dresdner: It is measured by the amount of resistance to a measured weight at when a gel

Patrick Edwards: to be precise use a Bloom gelometer

Stephen: What about pearl glue Patrick?

Patrick Edwards: i dont like pearl glue, made in brazil from dead meat

JohnV: isn't it all from dead meat?

Stephen: if it is diseased the bugs will go through the rendering process

Ellis: So, how does your glue compare to Franklin's, Pat?

Ellis: How long is hot glue good for in the pot?

Stephen: Best if used fresh, but can be reheated a time or two

Dan D: BTW, Michael, what IS the difference between glue and adhesive?

Dresdner: Glue is a natural product. Adhesive is a synthesized (man made) one.

Ellis: Michael, do many guitar makers use hide glue for instruments?

Dresdner: Yep. Many