I like using animal glue. It’s perfect for the job but I have to admit can be a little faffy having to do all the alchemy thing. I’ve given the liquid hide glues a go, but even these, at least in my workshop need heating, taking almost as long as the pearls at bad times of the year.
It wasn’t until I started building lots of laminated workbench tops that I realised what the real bond of a glue is all about; it’s creating a bond of trust with a close friend. Producing workbenches brought about a whole different exploration of glues for me over furniture and I found this a real mental hardship. If I built an item of furniture which couldn’t hold itself together mechanically without glue then I’d done something wrong with the joints, or it needed another nail in it, the glue was generally just for good measure. Laminating bench tops really was something else, putting trust in glue. If I can’t physically see how it holds then I have an issue with it.
But modern glues are brilliant. Of late we’ve started using West System for bench tops and nothing holds laminations like that stuff. Polyurethanes are not for me, I can’t be doing with all that putting a little bit on, 10 minutes later you‘re pinned against the workshop wall as it‘s done its foaming up thing.
Titebond Original and Extend have had a space in my workshop for a while now since needing bulk quantities of stuff for the benches, and before that it was just the white glues found on the builder’s merchant ‘s shelf that I’d keep to hand as a nice simple, dependable solution.
Titebond is what I’ve used for laminating my wooden plane bodies, it’s nice and quick and I’ve come to trust it. When it came to gluing in the handle for my jointer though I wanted to ensure reversibility for repairs, and as it took longer than the bloody plane to make I might want to put it into another plane later.
So it’s been back to animal glue for this and for me these really are the only glues that feel like glue should – sticky and messy. The smell gives me good memories as well, I know a lot dislike it but I find it always takes me back. it always feels like a very natural choice of glue in the winter when you’ve got the stove going, just sit it next to your pot of tea, glue in the tea, tea in the glue, its all part of the fun. and now I have an induction hob in the workshop, there‘s no problem this time of year either.
What glues do you trust for holding it all together?