Why is Hide Glue on the Tool List?

You may be asking, why is hide glue on the tool list?  Is glue really a tool? And why is it on the first tool list?  Why can’t I just use some Elmer’s wood glue. A couple of reasons really.

First, we’re using hide glue because it is extremely workable, much more so than PVA glue. It takes a while to set up but if you don’t like the results of your glue up, you can take it apart with steam.  If you end up with glue all over your work, you can wipe it away with hot water.  When the bond is dry, the glue filters in to the fibers of the wood and you can’t break it with a hammer.  The bond it makes is ridiculously strong but, of course, the stuff has its drawbacks.

Let’s say you live in Florida or Louisiana and against all evolutionary sense, you hate climate control.  Hide glue will melt if the ambient temperature and humidity are high enough.  The British had trouble with their furniture in Africa and India during the colonial period for just this reason.

I put it on the list, because I make a lot of mistakes.  A LOT.  And its my go-to for fixing tear-out and splits in work that will be visible.

Case in point.  If you do this:


You can probably salvage your work like this:


Take that Rob Cosman!

Is glue a tool? Probably.  I mean, you can find it at the hardware store, which is good enough for me. And if banging jagged rocks around counts as using tools, I don’t see why using glue on wood wouldn’t be considered tool use.

Back to work!


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