I'm within a day or so of being ready to glue a front back on a guitar. I want to use hot hide glue and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to proceed. My main worry is how do I keep the temperature high enough throughout the operation. Somewhere, I think on, I read about a front being glued on a bit at a time but no details of exactly how this was done this were given. How much is done in one go? and how does one ensure there ane no missed bits? Any help will be appreciated.

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I have an upright bass with the top off for repairs.  When ready, I will apply hot hide glue the headblock, lay the top on and clamp.  I then dip my glue applicator into the glue pot and isert it between top & sides a little at a time, clamping around as I go.  The applicator is an artist's pallet knife that has about 6 small holes drilled into it.  The holes help hold the glue so enough gets into the seam.  My shop stays warm which helps.  I have heard of people using a hair dryer to heat the instrument but have not tryed it and wonder if it really works that well.

This is the main reason, IMHO, to favour Titebond over HHG for doing a complicated and lengthy glue job like a top.  I did one with Titebond today and it gives you enough time to do the whole thing in one go with no stress. 


Thanks for your replies. I will probably follow harrison phipps procedure. I will need to find a way to keep the glue at a constant temperature as so far I've used frank fords microwave method of preparing small amounts of glue. I'll probably set up something using a small camping stove and water bath. Cheers.

You could try this method used by some  violin makers:

Brush the HHG on the side/linings and also on the underside of the top where it will make contact. You don't need to hurry the next stage as you can allow the glue to cool. The neat thing with HHG is that when newly applied, it can be re-heated for re-positioning and will still have a good grab. 

Place the top in position. Have ready some heated knives in near-boiling water. Use them to re-melt the glue working a small portion at a time and clamping down with spool clamps immediately. Works a treat and you can take your time, provided you have previously opened up your spool clamps to near enough the right width!


I thought I'd share an idea I plan to try out soon.  To have the spool clamps open to the right size and ready to clamp, cut lengths of rubber tubing to the size of the opening wanted and put them on the bolts running through the spools.  The tubing will hold the clamp open until you're ready, and once the clamp is in place, it will keep the threads of the bolt away from the wood surface.


My $0.02

If you have a go bar deck and a caul shaped like the guitar or a piece of plywood you can glue it up all in one shot



i use an old water bed heater for keeping parts warm, its wide enough to set a rim on and has temp control,
Freakin' brilliant.  I'm hitting a few moving sales and then I'll be "borrowing" your idea.  ;-)
Some great replies here. Thank you again. How many spool clamps would you recommend for an OM size guitar?
I'm planning to build a J-185 style guitar, and figure I'll need to make about 30 spool clamps.  For an OM I'd think at least two dozen.

build a go bar deck you will like it better i think, i started out with spool clamps and only used them for my first guitar,only use them for an occasional repair now.

cheers Mark,  ( warning guitar building is more addicting than heroin!)

Well I glued on my front today. I started with the technique described by Harrison Phipps trying to use a small brush instead of the pierced blade. It didn't go well so I unclamped and followed the technique suggested by Dave Yelverton.. This went well. I used 31 spool clamps and wished I had another 10. Tomorrow I'll give it a severe looking at and if there are any gaps I'll try a hot wet knife and re clamping. Thanks again for all your advice.


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