Hide Glue Primer #2: A Bigger Glue-up

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If any of you are interested in trying hide glue but think it is messy or inconvenient / slow to apply on larger glue-ups. I can tell you about it all day but maybe a video will be worth a few hundred words.

A couple of years ago I put a workbench together using lapped layers of plywood to give me the effect of finger jointed 4 1/2” x 3 3/4” material for the trestle legs. With hide glue, the lack of need for clamping makes this a very easy lay-up to fire together with a stapler. These joints will be extremely strong and rigid and will never work loose.

I hope I made that look as easy as it is. It is as quick or even maybe quicker than pva and I didn’t get cramps in my hands from squeezing the glue bottle. The round bristle brush I’m using comes in a set of ten (two each of five different sizes) at Michaels for cheap and with the circular motion I’m using here is about the best way to apply the glue quickly and evenly.

Edit: I now use some really nice round bristle brushes made specifically for HHG available at Tools For Working Wood.
They work better and last longer but I still use the smaller Michaels ones for accurate application on small jobs.
I would like to think that I can lure some of you over to the ….. no, back to the light side with this.

Thanks for looking in.


-- The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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Highland Woodworking and Old Brown Glue both sell Milligan and Higgins 192 gm granulated HHG. It is generally accepted as the best all purpose strength for most woodworking. The higher strengths are used a lot by luthiers who need the strength and are usually working on relatively small glue ups.
The commercial pots like Hold Heet aren’t double boilers but are a bit expensive. It’s a good idea to start out with a kettle or crock pot and get used to the glue first. If you decide it is for you, then you can spend the money. The pots are certainly worth the money but only if you become a full time HHG user,
…….. And you will. :-)

-- The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Now I am 100% convinced that HHG will be in my shop right after my break.
amazon has the behlen b940-00255 it looks like it is 256g strength I also read it gels quickly so not ideal for larger glue up.
for my box project gel quickly is good.

would I be better off with a lower gram strength?

The double boiler is expensive ($130). I am planning to use either a water hot pot with temperature control or a Chinese electric slow cooker. That will allow me to start and get a good feel for it before I purchase the boiler

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

I took a lot of info from Paul a year or so ago about HHG. I use it almost exclusively. You’ll never understand how bug of a headache PVA glues are until you get comfortable with HHG.

I feel like PVA solved a problem that didn’t exist, and then created a few more.

With HHG, you don’t need a million clamps. A sprung edge joint and a single bar clamp is all you need for a lamination. Rub joints are effective also (I can’t remember the last time I clamped a miter).

Also no need to spend hours sanding and scraping off squeeze out. A rag with cold water gets the bulk of it, and who cares about the rest. It has no effect on finishes at all.

I audibly sigh now when I am forced to reach for the titebond III

Seems pretty easy! I just don’t think I could convince my wife to let me keep it in the fridge! LOL. Thanks for sharing though. Your blogs are my first real view of HHG. I knew of it before, but never really researched it. Have a good one!

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