A Glue That Slides
I get asked a fair old bit, why do you use liquid hide glue?
People often follow up; so that it doesn’t feel like their asking a daft question, by answering it themselves.
Normally the most obvious answer is “so it’ll be easy to restore later on”.
The reason I use hide glue, is a good one. But it’s certainly not as obvious as you might think.
As a hand tool woodworker, it’s easy to romanticise. Easy to imagine building stuff that will last for generations to come. But the chances are… it won’t. I recon most of what I build won’t be around in 100 years, not due to poor build, or the glue I use, but for the simple fact of people.
The 60 something year old man that’s just commissioned a table from me will treasure it for the rest of his life. But his jumped up swine of a kid who likes skateboards won’t. And he’s next in line. (I know there are holes in that story, and the skateboard’s not real, but you get the gist.)
So I’m not necessarily picking reversible, restorable hide glue for Tommy Turd. I’m picking it for me.
(I like the taste.)
The Advantages Of Liquid Hide Glue
Why I really choose it?
Well, have you ever made a perfect fitting dovetail, or bridle or the like?
You know when it dry fits like a piston.
Then you smear your generic wood glue on, and need a super sledge to get it together?
Well liquid hide doesn’t do that.
Instead it acts like lube.
That’s the reason I find it the best glue for much of my joinery. It aids the fit of your well-fitting joints.
PVAs and the like swell your work, and fast.
Then when they dry, they shrink a bit. Which makes through joints somewhat more tricky to get visually perfect.
There are many more advantages and reasons that I love this type of glue, and reversibility is definitely high up there. And of course there are also things I don’t like about it, but it has a good balance.
Liquid hide glue is the variant that comes in a squeezy bottle, ready to use, so there’s no scientific maths to using it. Hot hide glues do offer the same benefit, but as it cools it starts to bite, which is something to be aware of.
Just as an update, for those that are interested, we’re now of Chapter Three of the Side Table Series, and we’ve just glued up our perfect bridles.
There’s a bit of a sample video below.
If you’d like to see a sample of the previous chapter where we make the guides, it’s been added to the ‘What You’ll Learn’ section of this page.