Ground Hide Glue

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Dan Erlewine shows how to mix up a batch of his favorite glue.

Video Transcription

Dan Erlewine: Of all the glues I use in my guitar shop, hot Hide Glue is high on my list of favorites. It's the traditional glue for lutherie [on-screen text reads: Dan Erlewine - Stewart-MacDonald] and it's what all your old Gibsons and Martins are held together with. When it hardens it's like crystal so it transfers tone really well. So if you haven't tried it, it might be because you're not used to mixing up a batch of glue. So I'll show you how to do it.

How to mix hot hide glue

I mix a small amount, one ounce of glue in a mixing cup into a clean jar and two ounces of water. That's a two to one ratio. This isn't more than what I'm going to use in two or three weeks. Stir it up and close the lid tight and then let it sit for a few hours until the granules absorb all the water. When it looks like this, like tapioca or fish eggs, cap it up and put it in the glue pot for a few hours.

After a few hours it'll melt and look like this. You can use it right now but it's better if you wait till the next day. Turn off the pot [on-screen text reads: Get a glue pot for hide glue - Electric Glue Pot from StewMac] and just let the glue sit and the molecules will meld. No matter how you heat the glue, 145 to 165 degrees is the right temperature and that's what the glue pot's set for.

Applying and cleaning off hot hide glue

So I let this glue sit overnight and now I've heated it up and I'm using it to put the fretboard on this old baritone uke. It was built with hide glue and any glue that remains in the wood will rejuvenate because it melts into itself.

Now as I'm going along and wrapping this with the rubber band [on-screen text reads: Bands are handy in the shop - StewMac Rubber Clamping Bands] I'm getting a lot of squeeze out. I clean as much as I can today, just a hot rag and water, and anything I don't get today is going to be dry tomorrow, I'll just chip it off and I can still clean it up with hot water.

There you have it. That's how to mix hot hide glue. And always keep that lid on tight and you can heat it and cool it and heat it and cool it and it'll last you for weeks and you'll learn to love it just like I do.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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