Full Chisel Blog

February 8, 2012

Ten Real Reasons even Liquid Hide Glue is better for furniture than modern glues.

Filed under: Alchemy,Hide Glue,Historical Material,Of Interest,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:37 pm

1.  It is all natural and not made from petroleum derivatives, safe to use around children and on toys.

2. It is Reversible, so if you make a mistake you can heat up the joint to 145° [F], introduce water and vinegar to soften or apply alcohol to desiccate the glue allowing the joint to be taken apart.

3. Makes further repairs much easier, no need to clean old hide glue from joints as the introduction of fresh glue will reconstitute the old hide glue.

4. It is transparent to stains and finishes, can be made flexible with glycerin and waterproof with alum.

5. It can be cleaned up immediately with a wet rag, or in a couple of hours after the glue has gelled, or next week or next year.

6. It washes out of clothes, rags, glue brushes, etc., even when dry.

7. Does not clog sandpaper with swarf.

8. Doesn’t dull tools like modern glues.

9. Both wood and hide glue are hydroscopic and adjust together to changes in temperature, and humidity.

10. Liquid Hide Glue shrinks when it dries and doesn’t suffer from ‘Creep’.



  1. This list is better by far than Chris’s

    Comment by Dave Buss — February 8, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  2. I’m curious your opinions on titebonds hide glue. thanks…


    Comment by tyler — February 8, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  3. Dave,



    Liquid Hide Glue is the best glue Titebond makes. Patrick Edwards Old Brown Glue from Tools For Working Wood is excellent as is Lee Valley’s Fish Glue, which are all better than modern glues.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — February 10, 2012 @ 6:54 am

  4. A great list. Are there any downsides? The heat I could see being a downside in some places in very warm climates (Phoenix), where it might not get to 145F outside, but inside next to a window (or horrors in a car) is possible. Are there any additions one can make to increase this temp?

    Slower set time for the liquid hide glue maybe? I guess if you are using traditional joinery (pegged M&T for example) that wouldn’t be much concern, and on a big case piece might be a something to add to the plus column.

    Shelf life is probably the biggest downside of the liquid products. I’ve mistakenly used old liquid hide glue and had glue failures on panel glue-ups. That was before I knew they had expiration dates. Hmm, 2 years past expiration. Note to self: buy your hide glue where other people also buy their hide glue and not at the local hardware store. And check the expiration date.

    Comment by Joe Cunningham — February 10, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  5. I’m afraid I dragged you into this fray by linking to your excellent material on hide glue.

    Your list is much more comprehensive than my attempt on Chris’s blog, but I guess that’s why you wrote the book on hide glue, isn’t it?

    Thanks for all you do!


    Comment by Brian O. — February 10, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  6. Joe,
    I don’t think there are any downsides to liquid hide glue other than it isn’t as strong as hot hide glue, it still works better than modern glues. Modern glues also have a shelf life. You can extend the shelf life of liquid hide glue by storing it in a cold place. Do the freshness test on suspected old glue.

    Glad you did, thank you.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — February 14, 2012 @ 11:28 am

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