Hide glue

used hide glue for the first time today. just for gluing down some felt in my machinist chest, but i think i’m going to try it on some other things now. the traditional way (melting a block of it) is something i was going to do originally, but instead i found a container of old brown glue from Woodcraft and it was a whole lot easier to use. just put the bottle in a pot of 140 degree water to warm it up, and squirt it out of the tip where you need it.

it’s strong enough it’s a traditional glue for making furniture, so i’m considering the idea of testing it on my next box make. has anyone else used it before?


I’ve always been told that PVA glue is the modern equivalent of hide glue. I’ve used hide on parchment to glue down gold leaf, but never on furniture. On parchment I found no real difference between it and PVA.


so, there are a couple of advantages for hide glue over PVA.

  1. it’s reversable. if you want to remove the glue, just some hot water and it’ll soften. when i took the old felt out of the drawers on my chest, i just poured hot water in them, swished it around, waited a minute, and then pulled them out. so if you have squeeze out that you miss when gluing up/clamping, it’s super easy to remove, unlike PVA. it also dries completely clear.
  2. when hide glue dries, it contracts, pulling your joint closer together.
  3. it sets up slower than PVA, so it gives you more time to get everything together.

now, if your product is going to get wet, then maybe hide glue is a bad choice.


Hide glue is the standard for wooden aircraft structures, never used it at the house. Perhaps I should add it to my 98 different adhesives?


Always learning from this crowd. Never heard of this. Interesting!


want me to make it more interesting? i found these videos when looking for techniques of applying hide glue on youtube.

Glue chipped glass.

Poor man version here on instructables.

Higher end/more complicated/more gear version from a british sign maker.


I participated in it once. Was very freaked out by the nature of hydrofluoric acid. Nitric, sulfuric, hydrochloric, even cyanic (and I have used all four) are not nearly as scary.

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