I read Shipwright’s 3 part blog on hot hide glue here for beginners. Here is a paraphrased summary of what he said:
WILD CLAIM NO.1
Hide glue is easy to use and not messy
WILD CLAIM NO.2
Hide glue bonds are stronger that the wood.
Ok, there was a lot more info than this in Shipwright’s blog, but if you want to, after reading this blog, then go ahead and read it. Based on Shipwright’s advice, I bought dry hide glue granules, 4 kilos to be exact. I reckoned that based on the time it takes me to finish a project these days that this amount would last me the rest of my life, and a fair amount would still be inherited by my grandkids.
TESTING WILD CLAIM NO.1
I decided to give it a try today just to test out all of those wild claims. I won’t go through the brushing it on and so forth, but here are the glued up pieces:
I did three things with the glue:
1. I edge glued two pieces of pine together
2. I made an ‘L’ shaped joint from two other pieces
3. I hammer veneered one face and one edge onto some MDF (I was too lazy to tooth solid wood).
The photos show the glue-ups with my hand for scale. Yes, I was too cheap to go big with these tests. I have to reluctantly admit that there was no messiness encountered. I did drop a little hot glue on my pants, but after it gelled I just plucked it off and nothing stuck. This of course made me even more suspicious of the strength of this watery thin liquidy stuff. The hammer veneer went great too. I used two thin pieces on top and cut a seam and removed the cut strips to make a tight joint between just to try out that technique too. It turned out very well, but the joint shows a bit, probably due to not being careful to match the grain. It is otherwise flat and tight.
My next step concerned the strength of the joints. I was pretty sure that this flimsy watery looking glue couldn’t possibly be as strong as Shipwright claimed. Only a fool would believe that, right? I did the glue-ups just before lunch and took them with me to show the wife. Not surprisingly she was totally indifferent to the whole thing. After lunch, a cup of tea, and trying to find a torque wrench for my sons obsessional bicycle project and then resting in my Lazy Boy chair a little after all that effort (about two hours after glue-up), I took the glued up pieces back out to the shop for some DESTRUCTIVE TESTING. I was looking forward to this part because I’m pretty good at destroying wood, as you all all know.
THE DESTRUCTIVE TEST METHOD
First I tried to break the glue bond with my hands. I really tried hard, but couldn’t budge them. Then I put the pieces in my tail vise with the the glue joints above the vise jaws and whacked them with a hammer. Here are the after photos:
Well, this is a little embarrassing! Either my testing was incorrectly done or Shipwright was right on all counts. I will let you decide.
Thanks for reading and I hoped you enjoyed my seriously scientific approach to the subject.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.