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  1. #1

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    I always use titebond original it has never really failed me. I use it for peghead spits and neck cracks so why change? But after reading and the debate does hide glue bring a better repair in some situations? Titebond allows much longer working time and the titebond hide glue is supposed to give more working time. What do any of you use or thoughts?

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  3. #2

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    The only issue with using hide glue on guitars is that many instruments that are built with hide glue are meant to be taken apart. For example, violins are built using hide glue because they need to be taken apart when doing repairs, much more than an acoustic guitar would (Hide glue can come apart easily with heat and water). Along with this, hide glue becomes brittle and crumbles after many years, making it a poor choice for an instrument that is intended to remain in one piece for its lifetime, whereas, as mentioned before, instruments made with hide glue are meant to be taken apart and reglued.
    I generally use Titebond for my repairs and building because of its reliability and because it comes ready to use. I know several guitar repairmen who used to use hot hide glue for their repairs and building projects. All have since switched to Titebond as they all agree that it is a better glue for guitar building and repairs. I personally used to use hot hide glue but found that the mixing time along with its properties as a glue turned me away from using it on guitars.
    One glue that I recently discovered is fish glue, currently sold by StewMac. I have only used it on several occasions after a guitar building friend of mine recommended it to me. Based on his review, it apparently transfers tone quite well and has very similar properties to hide glue; however, I cannot give much of an opinion on it until I have tried it more extensively.
    Also, the hide glue that you mix is different from the hide glue that you can buy in a bottle. I would generally recommend that you avoid bottled, premixed hide glue.
    Titebond has never failed you, so why switch now? :)

  4. #3

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    There are some repairs where HHG may be a better choice than PVA. One of the most useful properties of HHG is that it shrinks as it cures. The shrinking of the glue can be used to pull a small crack together or pull a ill fitting joint together. Cleanup can also be a good reason to use HHG. Cleanup of PVA is more difficult as there is always a trace of the PVA left in some types of wood. Traces of PVA can effect dye from penetrating wood and any traces of excess glue will show up on a hand rubbed vignette. I have never heard of HHG crumbling and deteriorating with age. We have many examples of HHG lasting for centuries. Fish glue is similar to liquid hide glue. They are both animal based glues that form a bond with collagen. Collagen is what mother nature uses to hold us all together.

  5. #4
    Would be interested in what you use for your guitars Matt?

  6. #5

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    As someone who does repair as well as building, I think we all should think a little more about the ease of repairs down the road. No instrument will last forever, and certainly not without some repairs or modifications along the way. Hide glue lasts plenty long enough, and it's relatively easy to work with. I HHG for crack repairs, for braces, etc. as Matt mentioned, PVA glues tend to leave more behind. I build classical guitars, so only FP finishes. I don't have any issues with titebond, and I do use it with things that need lots of open time. I've begun using fish glue too over the past year. I like it so far. It's similar to HHG, but with a much longer open time.


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    Last edited by stringsalive; 03-28-2017 at 07:42 PM.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Would be interested in what you use for your guitars Matt?
    I use HHG for all of the body construction. For necks I use mostly epoxy. I laminate the neck pieces with Smiths all wood epoxy (renamed to Smiths Oak and Teak epoxy). I also use the Smiths for the fingerboard and headplate. I use Big Leaf maple for necks and the moisture from HHG can cause some movement in the wood. I can avoid moisture with the epoxy and finger boards are removable with heat and a pallet knife. For fiber binding I use the liquid hide glue. For plastic binding I use binding cement from LMII. In the past I have used PVA in place of HHG with good success.

  8. #7

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    HIDE GLUE... I'M ADDICTED TO THE AROMA! Actually, I asked a friend of mine, who recently put a new nut and neck set on my '36 Kalamazoo Tenor Guitar, about these older guitars having such a warmer, different sound than the newer ones, he replied about the woods (as we all know), aging so gracefully, but he also mentioned something I never thought about. Hide glue has the ability to move with the vibration of the wood, the newer glues on the market, basically turn to stone. While securing braces and the rest of the instrument, the modern glue also separates these components; hide glue connects them. How about that.... FOOD FOR THOUGH.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBRSam
    The only issue with using hide glue on guitars is that many instruments that are built with hide glue are meant to be taken apart. For example, violins are built using hide glue because they need to be taken apart when doing repairs, much more than an acoustic guitar would (Hide glue can come apart easily with heat and water). Along with this, hide glue becomes brittle and crumbles after many years, making it a poor choice for an instrument that is intended to remain in one piece for its lifetime, whereas, as mentioned before, instruments made with hide glue are meant to be taken apart and reglued.
    I generally use Titebond for my repairs and building because of its reliability and because it comes ready to use. I know several guitar repairmen who used to use hot hide glue for their repairs and building projects. All have since switched to Titebond as they all agree that it is a better glue for guitar building and repairs. I personally used to use hot hide glue but found that the mixing time along with its properties as a glue turned me away from using it on guitars.
    One glue that I recently discovered is fish glue, currently sold by StewMac. I have only used it on several occasions after a guitar building friend of mine recommended it to me. Based on his review, it apparently transfers tone quite well and has very similar properties to hide glue; however, I cannot give much of an opinion on it until I have tried it more extensively.
    Also, the hide glue that you mix is different from the hide glue that you can buy in a bottle. I would generally recommend that you avoid bottled, premixed hide glue.
    Titebond has never failed you, so why switch now?


    With all respect and without wishing to deepen this discussion... I have to react to some points here.

    "The only issue with using hide glue on guitars is that many instruments that are built with hide glue are meant to be taken apart. For example, violins are built using hide glue because they need to be taken apart when doing repairs, much more than an acoustic guitar would."

    There's no constructive or any other intrinsic reason at all that instruments of the violin family need more frequently, or to more extent, to be taken apart when doing repairs, compared to plucked instruments. The only factual reason is that many of the fine and valuable bowed instruments (plus Stradivari's guitars, just to drop one name) are already two or three centuries old. Let's see what happens to the relatively few valuable 'modern' guitars surviving after such a time. Fact is that the population of guitars that are valuable enough to justify very high quality repair work is a lot smaller than in the violin world.


    "Along with this, hide glue becomes brittle and crumbles after many years, making it a poor choice for an instrument that is intended to remain in one piece for its lifetime... "

    The opposite applies. Hide glues (and their adhesions) have proven to outlast almost unchanged for centuries. It's more than doubtful if PVA will ever come close.
    Under long-standing very moist conditions it is known that HHG - like all organic materials - can develop mold. This infected HHG must be completely removed. In all other cases, even centuries-old HHG is reactivated by heat and some moisture, or can be mixed trouble-free with new HHG. It does not have to be completely removed - in stark contrast to all other adhesives - during repairs, which allows much more gentle techniques.
    Indeed, lege artis adhesions with HHG are said to be harder and stronger than those of aliphatic resins. The 'cold creeping' of Titebond is well documented; of course it depends on the frequency and amplitude of both humidity and temperature swings, and the static stress level which, btw. is about the same for the cello and the archtop guitar. A common name for the latter in Europe was 'cello guitar'.
    Guitar repair at the high end may be different from violin work conceptually (well, de facto not so different when only archtop guitars are concerned), but it shares a lot of cross over in tool skills.


    Like Matt correctly pointed out "the cleanup of PVA is more difficult as there is always a trace of the PVA left in some types of wood. Traces of PVA can effect dye from penetrating wood and any traces of excess glue will show up on a hand rubbed vignette."
    Well, fine violin makers are even troubled by small traces of HHG on the wood surface, which can result in what they call "glue ghosts". Something that many guitar makers would never notice, especially if they apply the common finishing techniques derived from the industrial automotive and furniture production.
    However, it's more than arguable that HHG can "pull a ill fitting joint together". For me it is almost a quality seal of experienced HHG users that these are capable to produce very precise ("sucking") wood connections, and this fast.


    Fish glue (FG) with its much longer working time is generally similar to HHG. However, FG:
    - is more sensitive to high humidity environments in stressed joints and to clamping pressure and duration
    - is a bit hygroscopic
    - line is more visible
    - can stain open end grain edges to a higher extent
    - has a tougher clean-up
    - takes about 24h to attain full strength
    - tacks more slowly (no 'rubber jointing' possible)
    - has a bit higher temperature release when repairing


    Each adhesive, including the more modern ones, such as epoxy and CA, has its specific advantages in the construction and repair of guitars, and should be used accordingly.

    Let me conclude with the words of an American luthier on this topic. I do not share his drastic diction, but share the content:
    Only the idiots use PVA glue for everything. The rest of us use hide glue and fish glue. If you want to know if a guitar repairer is worth talking to, just ask them first which glue they use. If they say PVA only then they don't know a shit. PVA works in some conditions, but abuse of it gives the rest of us a bad name. Any real repairer of guitars uses hide glue. It peeves me that guitar repair gets a bad reputation, there are lots of hacks because there are lots of cheap instruments [even if the market currently may evaluate this differently]. There are also restoration & conservation people working on guitars who are fantastic craftspeople.
    Last edited by Ol' Fret; 03-30-2017 at 06:27 AM.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    There's no constructive or any other intrinsic reason at all that instruments of the violin family need more frequently, or to more extent, to be taken apart when doing repairs, compared to plucked instruments.
    With all respect, sure there is.

    Flat-tops and classicals can be repaired through the big circular hole chopped in the middle of the top. Violins can't.

    Most archtop guitars have wide enough f-holes to do a lot of repair. Violins don't.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    With all respect, sure there is.

    Flat-tops and classicals can be repaired through the big circular hole chopped in the middle of the top. Violins can't.

    Most archtop guitars have wide enough f-holes to do a lot of repair. Violins don't.

    There's a reason why the circular centered hole had to disappear on the instruments of the violin family - and most archtop guitars. It doesn't make sense to stiffen the body construction by an elaborate arching of the plates (that allows to get a bit more energy in and out, as efficiency is low on guitars anyway) and at the same time to chop a hole exactly in the area of the top where the highest (longitudinal) stress is transfered. The existence of oval-hole or nylon-string archtops doesn't prove the opposite.

    So, in the violin world it is convenient to quickly remove the top (or back) for repair work. The work gets a lot easier this way, but overhanging plates/lips are never a necessary constructive must. Some guitar builders like Ken Parker, and others, start to realize the advantage of the violin style plates on guitars.

    I have a lot to do with 1940/50's archtops which feature really tight f sound holes. Internal clamping through the holes would be a hassle, and the repairers would be glad if the plates could easily be removed like in the violin world.
    On the other hand, today, what specific work has to be done on f-hole guitars where you would be forced to remove the top or back? A loose tone-bar or gluing some cleats after a crack repair? Certainly not, there are excellent newer methods to fix such problems without having to put a clamp through the f-holes, though these methods may not yet be widespread. The only issue I could think of, where the plate has to be removed, is the total replacing of tone-bars or bracings, and completely loose or splitted neck or end blocks, i.e., a larger repair on already more destroyed guitars.

    Guitars, especially electric guitars, are often overbuilt in order to avoid later warranty issues by the manufacturers, while instruments of the violin family - and a few top end archtop guitars - are optimized for sheer acoustic properties. This may explain why guitars may be considered by some to be more sturdy or remain in one piece for a lifetime. For a lifetime of the instrument? That would be an illusion.
    Apart from that, no, I can't really see any constructive or other intrinsic reason why instruments of the violin family would need more frequently, or to more extent, to be taken apart when doing repairs, compared to guitars. However, since violins can easily and generally safely be opened, it is done for convenience, and I certainly wish, more archtop guitars would be built in the violin style, for the future, not selfishly for our own remaining life span: the first 40-50 years the most better built guitars survive without major structural problems.

  12. #11
    Bill Barker said over 30 years ago when the trend was trying to make or equate carved top guitars with violins. Big mistake violins have sound post made on a completely different principle. Archtop guitars are designed to have sound bounce off the back. Also I remember Jimmy Foster an I were talking about removing necks for resetting and he said my necks are designed to not really ever come off, but if I ever need to take one off I will saw it off.

  13. #12
    Very educational post. I don't have the experience you folks had but recently came across a Gibson engineer talking about Hide Glue, custom tops. etc.


  14. #13

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    I don't really have a dog in this fight, but a couple of things to throw into the mix (chum the waters?):

    1. In the "X did it so it must be cool" department, I read an interview with Jimmy D'Aquisto where he said that although he has used hide glue in the past, he had (at the time of the interview) changed completely over to yellow glue for guitar building. I believe Benedetto has also always used Titebond.

    2. In all of the joints I have glued (and there have been many, guitar and non-guitar), I have never experienced creep with Titebond, cold or otherwise.* I suspect the Titebond creep to be more theoretical than actual.
    *Apart from the little dude that lives under my bench. He's kind of creepy.

    3. It's probably a good idea to use something like hide glue for parts that are more likely than others to need to be taken apart or adjusted at some point. The neck joint is a good candidate. Braces and neckblocks maybe not so much.

    4. My day job is as an experimental psychology researcher, and I think that if you can hear the difference between hide glue and something else you're freakin' nutso.

    5. I am some dink on the Internet who has had the same guitar on his bench for over a year, so caveat emptor.
    Last edited by Jehu; 03-31-2017 at 03:14 AM.

  15. #14

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    Oh, and...

    6. Post #12 was quite possibly the single best post in the history of this forum. Tough act to follow!

  16. #15

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    I don't speak Spanish but I am pretty sure post #12 has nothing to do with hide glue or Gibson.

  17. #16

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    If you don't speak the language, how can you be sure? It's all in your mind, anyway.

  18. #17

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    I just thought everyone should know that post # 12 is not about hide glue or Gibson. The post is very misleading.

  19. #18

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    If you read this forum without a sense of humor, you're eventually going to be very disappointed.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    If you read this forum without a sense of humor, you're eventually going to be very disappointed.
    I am rarely if ever disappointed with the forum. I thought the video was loud and obnoxious and a poor effort at Gibson bashing. I missed the humor in this and thought it should be pointed out it was only a concocted joke. I hoped that would make it more fair to everyone.

  21. #20

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    OK, I think everyone now knows the video is not really about Gibson. Your job here is done, masked man.

  22. #21

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    sgosnell , I think you are the masked man as you are the one chooses to hide behind a mask of anonymity. I take little stock in statements made by nameless self appointed experts such as yourself. This was a serious thread that was derailed by a nasty video aimed at Gibson fans and luthiers who use hide glue. I plan on adding you to my ignore list. I have read many of your posts that I thought were rude and dismissive. Have fun I am outa here .

  23. #22

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