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Mixing Hide Glue For Guitar Repair

I've decided to use hide glue to attach the new bridge plate and bridge on the Epiphone acoustic guitar.  There are a couple of reasons why I'm using hide glue:  first, I have a headstock repair in the queue and I definitely want to use hide glue on that.  So that brings me to the second reason: I need to use it on a straightforward repair so I get some experience with it.  The third reason is: I've been curious for some time about this mysterious "hide glue."

If you search for hide glue on the web, you'll find some different variations on how to mix it.  I decided to go with Dan Erlewine's method, mainly since he uses the same Behlen glue.

Stew-Mac sells these great little mixing cups for paint, glue, etc.  They're cheap and they also have graduations on them, and even a little spout.

So I measure 1 fluid ounce (about 30ml for the enlightened non-Imperial measurers) of hide glue granules.  I'm going to just mix it in a clean jar with 2 oz of water.  My understanding is that this 2:1 mix is stronger than 1:1.

Let the granules (aka crystals) absorb the water.  Both Dan Erlewine and Frank Ford's sites say "a few hours," but I found in about 20 minutes the water was fully absorbed.

Here are the crystals after absorbing the water.  Frank Ford describes them as looking like fish roe.  That's pretty accurate.  I like caviar, but I don't recommend eating this stuff.

Although, it is a natural product and probably wouldn't kill you.

Still, I wouldn't eat it.

Anyway...

Now we need to heat the hide glue.  It will be liquid and ready to use at about 145 degrees F.  I'm using a double boiler to heat the glue.

I have a little Sunbeam hot pot I just picked up at Target for $12.99.  What a bargain.  Another in my growing collection of former kitchen appliances adapted for lutherie.

You may recognize my trusty Pyrex instant-read thermometer from its main job checking the doneness of meat.  It suffered a burn from the grill at some point, but it keeps on going.

It came in very handy here to figure out the temperature setting for the hot pot.  I have it on the lowest notch on the dial - with water filled to the "max" line, it runs at almost exactly 150 degrees.  Perfect.

After about 10 minutes in the pot, the glue is melted and ready to use.  You could use it immediately,  but I'm going to let it sit for a day - this too is reputed to make it stronger. 

So I put a lid on it and put it in the refrigerator.  Mmmm hide glue.  Just the thing for a quick snack.

I bet you never knew the Felix people made hide glue.

 
 
 
 

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