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using hide glue

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by MikeH, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. MikeH


    Jun 16, 2005
    This is my first time repairing a popped seam on my upright bass.

    I would prefer to use the granulated hide glue, because I understand it is stronger than the liquid kind.

    My question is whether I can just mix granulated hide glue with hot water in a glass or something and use it.

    At Stewart McDonald, they have an electric melting pot for hide glue that costs $115. This is way more than I want to spend, so I just want to make sure that I will be able to do this repair with just the glue and some bar clamps.

  2. Aroneng

    Aroneng Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    As you mentioned, you can mix the granules and water in a jar. If you have a hot water pot with a variable temp dial and thermometer you can set the pot to the desired temperature. You can do it on the stove if needed, it's more a matter of keeping the glue close to your work.
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You can use a hot plate and have the rig closer to your bass, or use your stovetop (electric) range. A little soup pot works fine; fill it 1/2 way with water. Put your little glass jar of hide glue and water in this hot-water bath. (The water level should be well below the lip of your glass jar.) You don't want the water boiling! Just warm enough to melt the glue and get the crystals dissolved.

    btw- it doesn't take much glue to close a seam. Don't put lots and lots of glue in this joint; it will just run down the linings and inside of the rib.
  4. How about one of those little baby-formula-bottle heaters? Small enough, simple, and does the job for much < $115…

    - Wil


    here you go… ;)
  5. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I've heard of people having good results from electric coffee cup warmers. I've used a little camping stove that burns methyl hydrate to heat a water bath for my little jar of glue. Works OK.

    Just get something that lets you get the temp to about 140 F and keep it there pretty steady.
  6. MikeH


    Jun 16, 2005
    Thanks everyone! All very helpful. Any advice on what to apply the glue with?
  7. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    I've been using a $13 slow-cooker I got at walmart, along with a thermometer. I use a small brush that you normally paint model planes with, though it's kinda small. I've been using the granular hide glue sold at Lee Valley. You should dissolve the glue flakes in cold water for maybe an hour, I use a 1-1.75 glue/water mix, you may want to use more water if you're gluing a crack.
  8. Peter Chandler suggests a simple wooden cradle to mount a clothes iron upside down for heating glue. I've used a baby bottle warmer, with a light switch dimmer to vary the temperature.
    I could be wrong (again) but I think you'll want to mix your glue thinner than 1:1.75 for gluing a seam, if it's a top or back seam that may need to be opened for future repairs. Wait till you get more informed advice from one of the pro's here.
  9. MikeH


    Jun 16, 2005
    It's a back seam.
  10. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    I use a potpourri pot that I got at Goodwill for $3. I put a small glass jar (an old yeast jar, actually, from when we still had time to bake bread...) in the pot, and fill the pot up near the top. Once you get the glue to the consistency you want, keep a lid on, or it will continue to evaporate.

    I use an artist's paint brush for an applicator, size varying with the job; for center seam joints I use a 1" brush, and work fast. Purfling, obviously, demands something smaller.
  11. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    I used an oral syringe to inject hide glue right into the purfling channel for my violin, worked amazingly well. :)
  12. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I'm not a luthier and I don't play one on the radio but correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't hide glue used in areas that you may want to be able to unglue easily for repairs? I don't see why hide glue would be used for purfling as you wouldn't need to remove the purfling to do a repair.

    Just an observation.
  13. What sort of glue would you use instead, and why?
    Synthetic glues are not easily removed like hide glue, they contaminate the wood so hide glue won't stick, and probably worst of all they don't allow intimate wood to wood contact at the joint, there's always a film of glue between the parts which allows the joint to 'creep'.
    If you were doing edge replacement (common resto job that should be done with hide glue), you would likely be gluing to the outside of the purfling. If the purfling was originally Elmer'ed in place, the job becomes more difficult and time consuming.
    I'm not a luthier either, but I've dabbled. Perhaps the most important thing for a dabbler is to do the homework first so you don't do something wrong that has to be undone later, and perhaps damage the instrument in the process. I'll bet any luthier can tell you horror stories about epoxies, superglues and white glues.
  14. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I don't know what kind of glue. As I said, I'm not a luthier. I just thought that hide glue was preferred for areas that would be required to be taken apart b/c it can easily be unglued.
  15. I think you'd find good luthiers rarely use anything but hide glue, or fish glue, in different strengths for different jobs.

    And speaking of good luthiers, M_A_T_T: I'm enjoying your violin making pictorial. You've obviously made a serious commitment and investment in tools and machines. Looks like you also have the skills. Kudos. Check it out, folks.
  16. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    Thankyou! :)

    I'm using hide glue exclusively with this project to be 'old school', I guess you could say. I'm also using scrapers as apposed to sandpaper. I just want to experience 'old timey' violin making as best I can. That's also why just last night I planed the surfaces of the spruce top with a hand plane, instead of using a jointer. :cool:

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