View Full Version : preferred glue ?

08-25-2012, 06:14 PM
I am working on my fifth build and have been pleased with my results and the facinating mistakes i have made so far. I am wondering if there is a long term difference between tite bond 1 and tite bond II. I've been using TBII. Clearly, water proof should never need tested. I am not ready for HHG.

08-25-2012, 06:47 PM
im surprised you havent already. I use HHG to join my softwood tops, top braces and bridge patch.

08-25-2012, 06:59 PM
Titebond Original (red cap) seems to be preferred. The knock on the other is that it can creep over time. LMI white glue is also very good and is specifically made for instruments.

08-25-2012, 07:18 PM
This a list that Rick Turner posted awhile back. I'm only on my#7and 8th builds and was using Titebond but switched over to LMI white glue and really like it.

Rick Turner posted his preferences for glues.

Here it is, slightly updated from a few years ago:

Glues I use in lutherie, where I use them, and a bit about why.

Hot hide glue
Center seams for tops and backs
Gluing braces to tops and backs
Bridges on acoustic instruments
Kerfing for acoustic guitars and ukes
Tops to sides on acoustic guitars and ukes
Repair and restoration work where strong and nearly invisible glue lines are needed

Traditional, and still a favorite for many lutherie jobs. May have tonal benefits because of how hard it cures. Has better heat resistance than Titebond and other “carpenters’ glues”. Very low cold creep. Only good for well fit joints. Reversible with moist heat. New glue reconstitutes old so good in repairs of previous HHG glue work. Sands to powder, and thus not loading up of gunk on sanding belts

LMI white glue
Peghead scarf joint
Most assembly of semi-hollow guitar bodies

This glue (I believe it to be a polyvinyl acetate..PVA) has the convenience of Franklin Titebond and other “carpenters’ glues”, yet cures much harder and seems to have some of the favorable qualities of hot hide glue. It is known for low “cold creep”, a possible real factor with regard to tone and the need for neck resets on acoustic guitars.

WEST Epoxy
Laminating necks
Fingerboard joints

Developed initially for the purpose of making cold molded yachts by the Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique. Cures hard and very clear; great for bonding difficult to glue woods; does not introduce water into the glue line; joints can be taken apart with heat if need be.

Smith & Co. CPES ( Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer )
Primer for wood finishing…pre-sealer

Smith & Co. laminating and layup epoxy...a good alternative to WEST

Franklin Polyurethane
Center block to tops on semi hollow Renaissance guitars
Laminating layered “skate boards” for “back strap” peghead overlays

I generally do not use any water with the PU glue, and so it’s great for gluing the centerblocks onto cedar, spruce, or other wood tops as the glue line does not telegraph through very much. With peghead overlays, again, the lack of water makes for a stable layup without subsequent shrinkage as you’d get with the LMI white glue or HHG.

Thin Superglue
Inlay dots
Some polyester finish repair
Some binding work
Some quick repairs

Take care with accelerator as it can cause foaming of the glue. Works well with baking soda as a temporary nut slot filler when the slots are too deep.

Thick Superglue
Some binding work
Quick repairs
Making jigs and fixtures
Bonding carbon fiber to wood

Duco and other acetone based glues
Binding (plastic/celluloid)

08-25-2012, 10:34 PM
If you are using Titebond the only one should be the original red cap. Don't ever consider any of the others no matter what you may think of their marketing hype.

Rick's list is about as comprehensive as you are ever going to get. Tested over time by a very experienced luthier. You don't need to over think this.

Mine is not quite as comprehensive as his, and some of the products that are easily sourced in the USA are not available anywhere else, so mine would be slightly different given the type of work I do. But first and foremost is HHG, then Titebond Original, thin super glue and a locally made epoxy system made by Boat Coat.

Liam Ryan
08-25-2012, 11:55 PM
Using hot hide glue is a hell of a lot easier than building a ukulele. Otherwise, red cap's the go, although all the drawbacks keep me hooked on the HHG.

Rick Turner
08-26-2012, 02:53 AM
Titebond II is just about the worst glue you can use for anything in a musical instrument. Well, I guess rubber cement would be worse...

08-26-2012, 04:41 AM
I didn't think I was ready for HHG either but these guys convinced me to try it and the stuff is wonderful. It's just really not that hard to do. LMI has it for $11.25 plus ship and that is for 15 oz which will make a lot of glue. You need to mix it with the proper amount of distilled water. I think it's 1 glue to 1.8 part water and I use a grain scale to measure. I mixed up my first small batch and just practice gluing some scraps together and then went, I can do this. And you can too!

08-26-2012, 09:49 AM
To all who replied, thank you for the answers. That is the best bunch of tips ever. If i were not just ready to put a bookmatch back together, i would wait for the HHG, make a heating tank, learn the technique, etc. As a certified geezer, patience is not my strong suit. The local hardware stocks TB Red cap. This group is so great and the info so helpful, I sometimes get emotional when I log in for my daily read.

I dont know how to post the youtube link directly but the search phrase is: travel 8 string uke

If you need a sound sample of number 4

08-26-2012, 09:58 AM
... i would wait for the HHG, make a heating tank, learn the technique, etc.

You don't need a heating tank. A baby-bottle warmer works fine.

08-26-2012, 10:23 AM
One of the fellows on the ANZLF has been a pro luthier for nearly 40 years now and has been using an old cloths iron turned upside down and set in a little wooden cradle to hold it steady. Puts a small alloy pot filled with water on the iron and turns it on low. Cheap as and works a treat.

08-26-2012, 10:58 AM
I got a little heater that looks like a cross between a coffee pot and a crock pot, made by Revel I believe. It was like $3.00 at the thrift store in town. I got a thermometer from the hardware that has an adjustment for calibration. I think it's a meat thermometer but it is small and accurate against my digital thermometer.

08-26-2012, 03:07 PM
Perhaps a fondu pot then? My wife has one of those stashed somewhere in the kitchen. Last time we had fondu was 10 years ago. I don't think she will miss it. Will I be able to get the Hhg taste out of it?

Rick Turner
08-26-2012, 03:26 PM
If you're using an alternative method for heating, make sure you can keep the glue at 140 F. And HHG is basically edible unless contaminated. You can get the taste and smell out of any ceramic or glass container if you want to.

08-26-2012, 05:38 PM
You don't need a heating tank. A baby-bottle warmer works fine.

+1 on a bottle warmer. Get one with an adjustable heat level (hint...go to a baby consignment shop for a good deal) and put a small amount of water in it. Then mix your HG and water in a small plastic squirt bottle and heat it up for 10 minutes or so in the hot water bath. When finished, put the bottle with the remaining HG in the freezer and you're good to go for the next session.

Liam Ryan
08-26-2012, 09:44 PM
Here's a hot tip for those who might be interested. You don't really need a thermometer. Mine died years ago. To check the temperature is right, put a dab on the tips of your thumb and forefinger. If it burns, it's too hot, you should know its there though. Rub the finger and thumb together. It should be slippery for a couple of seconds then start to get sticky. Then you can wipe the glue on your clothes because it comes out in the wash. Easy as.

08-27-2012, 06:50 PM
Just a note about the LMI glue. I believe its a PVA glue. Gorrilla Glue now has a white glue that is PVA and is available just about everywhere for a reasonable price. I t does set up pretty quick, muc quicker than Titebond I. And I promise to breakdown and try HHG on the next instrument....

Liam Ryan
08-27-2012, 09:53 PM
Nobody who builds instruments should count fast set as the number one characteristic of the glue they are or are considering using.

08-28-2012, 02:08 AM
That was more of a warning than a benifit. And fast set is all relative...enough coffee and fast set becomes an eternity...

08-28-2012, 06:14 AM
I use hot hide glue because it is more fun to use than any other glue. One hundred percent of the time, one hundred percent more fun. Baby bottle warmer, hot plate, heck I used my mom's glass top electric range back in the day. It worked perfect and would hold at 145 forever and amen.

08-28-2012, 07:52 AM
Tarhead mentioned putting HG in the freezer. How long can it be stored frozen and still be good? I've Googled this and haven't found the answer yet.

Rick Turner
08-28-2012, 08:31 AM
Ours usually gets used up in a couple of weeks and no problem. The life could be indefinite or nearly so. But why take a chance? Mix up a bit more than you need, freeze the rest, and use that soon, too.

08-28-2012, 08:33 AM
Tarhead mentioned putting HG in the freezer. How long can it be stored frozen and still be good? I've Googled this and haven't found the answer yet.

Go to frets.com Frank Ford has "everything I know about HHG" in a thread and there's a couple more bits of wisdom straggling in a couple of other threads on his forum.





08-28-2012, 10:08 AM
Thanks Rick, but you build more instruments before lunch than I do in a year. So if I could freeze it after use for a couple of months it would be a good thing for me.

08-28-2012, 11:02 AM
I read (maybe Frank Ford) using distilled water helps to make hhg stay good longer. I don't even freeze it but put it in the bottom of the fridge. I usually don't mix up more than I'll use in a couple weeks and it's cheap. If you're even worried at all, just can it and start a new batch.

David Newton
08-28-2012, 03:35 PM
Oudin:I use hot hide glue because it is more fun to use than any other glue. One hundred percent of the time, one hundred percent more fun.

Listen to this guy! If it isn't fun, all the time, switch over to making boats, or something else fun!

08-28-2012, 07:59 PM
I am not ready for HHG.

If you don't feel you are ready for HHG, then don't use it.
I use HHG all the time, but I don't enjoy it. It has a short "open time", you have to heat it, you have to mix it, it smells, and I find it to be messy......high maintenance.
Despite everyone's praise, it is more difficult to use. My favorite substitute is LMI white glue. It dries very hard, and has a very low "cold creep".

08-29-2012, 11:30 AM
I've used HHG that has been frozen for a few months but not longer. It's probably OK indefinitely but it's not worth worrying about. I prepare mine in a small plastic squeeze bottle and try to make just enough for the job at hand. I've never tossed more than a few teaspoons. It's much less mess and drama if you dispense from a bottle with a narrow spout and use a scrap to spread if needed. It justifies all the extra hassle when it comes to squeeze out clean up. You can be fairly liberal with it.

No one has mentioned Fish glue. It is much less hassle. No temperature issues, quick tack and long open time. It forms a hard, non creep joint. I use it on top and back glue ups.

08-31-2012, 06:35 AM
Has anyone had any experience with Titebond hide glue? It's used at room temp so does away with the heated pot. Twelve reviews on Amazon endorse it; some for use on stringed instruments. I might just try it out on my 1st Stu-mac tenor kit build.

08-31-2012, 07:04 AM
pre-bottled hide glue can be good but it tends to go bad quickly, often resulting in bad glue joints that don't turn up till its too late. I would feel more confident buying the Old Brown Glue from lee valley. There are about a hundred thousand dozen different ways of making hide glue usable at room temp. I have been happier with my home cooked varieties. Generally the recipe looks like hide glue, a touch of glycerin, and an acid. Usually uric but i've had great success with nitric as well. If you are looking for a longer open time, try working in a warm environment. When I'm in Texas in the summer my hot hide glue as an open time of easily ten to fifteen minutes. 98 degrees is not a comfortable temp to work in, but its so close to the gel temp of 192 gram glue that I can take my pretty time.

And then there is fish glue. I now prefer bottled fish glue over bottled hide glue any day. It is suseptible to moisture, but shellac takes care of that problem. Check out http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?cat=1,110,42965&p=20019

Side note: does yall's (bienvenidos a tejas) hide glue really stink? The only glue I've used that has any discernable smell is the lower grade pearl hide glue. The standard 192 gram stuff has less smell than Knox jello. Of course my doberman disagrees. He can smell that stuff from a mile away.

Koa Soprano
02-04-2013, 03:40 PM
That bottled hige glue is garbage, I'll never touch it again nor will I recommend it to someone.

When I made a few violins I exclusively used HHG and got very used to it, though on my last instrument, a uke, I only used red cap titebond. I may go back to HHG for my next as it's really not that difficult to use.

This is the heater I use for it, from ebay:


And here is the insert I made to hold my glue jar: