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Hide Glue won't hold?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by SirFunk, Mar 3, 2003.


  1. SirFunk

    SirFunk

    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    Hi there, Recently a small bit of seam on the bottom of my bass has opened. Rather than taking it to a luthier (3 hour drive each way, and a heafty bill) i figured i would fix it myself. I orderd some granulated hide glue (lemurmusic.com) mixed it up, heated it up, and injected it into the seam with a syringe (i dont' usually have syringes laying about but my dad's a nurse :p) And i clamped it with rubber feeted clamps, it all seemed well a little glue squeezed out, however when i went to take the clamps off the next day i heard a little "pop" about 5 seconds after i took off the clamps and the seam opened again.

    My dad (also being a cabinet maker) wants to use wood (yellow) glue, i know this is a BIG NO NO, so i won't let him do that, but what am i doing wrong in my hide-gluing process? am i not making the glue think enough? (1tsp granulated hide glue to 4tsp water) Am i applying it wrong (i can't think of another way to get that glue in such a small seam) am i not clamping it long enough (i clamped it for about 10 hours)

    Any tips would be very helpful, and cost-effective :-D

    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff
     
  2. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    New glue won't stick to old glue...you should try cleaning out the seam, and then re-glue it.
     
  3. SirFunk

    SirFunk

    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    Yeah i tried to clean out the old glue with a razor, it looked like it was pretty darned clean.
     
  4. Actually, new hide glue will stick to old hide glue. The problem may be that the instrument wasn't put together with hide glue in the first place or someone has previously used a non-hide glue while repairing it. What kind of bass are we talking about here?
     
  5. SirFunk

    SirFunk

    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    It's a new romanian bass (calvin voltour) i'm pretty sure it was put together with hide glue, but i'm not positive.
     
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Most Romanians I've worked on were made using white glue--a very powdery version. You'll need to wash out the seam with hot water, and then when it's dried, abrade the seam lightly with an artist's knife wrapped in sandpaper or Mom's emery board--anything to get down to bare wood. Make sure you've cooked your glue for about an hour. If it goes through a syringe, it may be too thin (I don't know what needle size you have). You'd be better off working it in with the artist's knife. Make sure you put the clamps on within 30 seconds after inserting the glue. Once hide glue gels, it is no longer glue. Clean the excess (after clamping) with a small brush dampened in hot water. One caveat--you may take some varnish off the plate where it overhangs the seam. This is common with seam repairs, and may require a little touch-up. BTW, 6 hours should be plenty for clamping a seam glue-up.
     
  7. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    My Romanian (carved) bass arrived at my lutheir's with a split in the top. He removed the top, the split closed, he repaired the split and touched it up and I got a great deal on the bass.

    Which brings me to my actual question for the lutheirs: Is it possible that SirFunk's bass has some stresses that are repeatedly popping it open, and that he may have to remove the top or back to get everything in equilibrium?
     
  8. SirFunk

    SirFunk

    May 24, 2001
    Lincoln, NE
    I realllly hope not, actually i have a crack to accompany the seams... there's a crack maybe 1 1/2 inches long, running with the grain above the tail piece.. i guess that's a big stress point for the instrument.. it was probably caused due to moving around into places with different humidities (my room is humidified, but gigs arn't) The crack isn't traveling though, so i figre i may wait it out (it's not split apart much really.. just a hairline crack) and i may try to inject hide glue into that (since t's not split apart the hide glue may hold)

    I really hope i can fix the seams myself though.. you guys dont' see anything wrong in my method of glueing? I wonder what the problem is then.
     
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    If your top crack starts at the edge of the saddle, the saddle may be too tight. There should be a little space between the ends of the saddle and the top, to allow a little seasonal movement. Many luthiers will actually open up that joint a little with a small backsaw.