Hide Glue Ventures

I received this question in episode 5 of the Ask Brian Boggs Show:

Do you use hide glue? If so, are you caught up with a double boiler and different grains or just hide glue in a bottle?

We have used hide glue for at least 20 years and I started making my own early on but had trouble with it. Patrick Edwards’ Old Brown Glue is one I would recommend if you are new to hide glue. It is perishable but  will last up to a year when refrigerated. One of the things I really like about this hide glue is that it is formulated for the longest open time you can have in a hide glue. It stays gelatinous at room temperature which means you need to warm it up which makes it very easy to work with. If you are going to make your own hide glue in a glue pot, simply buy a regular glue pot. I actually use ours as a double boiler (I put water in the aluminum pot and use a glass jar to contain the glue.  I do this because aluminum reacts with hide glue but glass does not. We use urea (to increase open time), and the ultra clear version from Milligan & Higgins. However, they only sell wholesale which means buying in bulk. Learning to use hide glue (by making your own) is worthwhile if you want to get into that. It’s not worth it if you only occasionally use it though. It takes a lot of practice to learn how to make it and use it. The way you handle the hide glue is very specific in order to get a good bond. You need a warm space and the wood cannot be cold. You can do things with hide glue that other glues won’t allow. For this reason, we keep it on hand all the time.