I bought a container of hide glue in 1997.I put it away in a cabinet,unopened and kept dry.My question is there a shelf life for hide glue?I have never used it before,always used aliphetic resin.Would appreciate any help you could give me on mixing,etc.

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 You can get most cabinet grade glues apart too if you have some patience and apply moisture and heat. One of the reasons that a lot of luthiers still use HHG is that it doesn't stay elastic like most of the cabinet glues available. That said, there are plenty of very good instruments in existance that were built using the original formula of Tight bond and there are some of us here that use different types of adhesives for different parts of the instruments.  

I tend to use HHG simply because I'm working with older instrument that were originally built using it. I've become fairly comfortable with too but I wouldn't hesitate to use Tight Bond for some of the things I end up doing.

For instance, I have a cheap, no name, mandolin that needs to have the tonebar/bracing replaced . I haven't disassembled it yet but I will probably use tight bond to re-glue things. The chances are pretty good that the glue used to make it is a modern glue so authenticity isn't an issue and Tight Bound will work just fine for this application. I'm probably going to end up giving it away to one of the kids I know anyway so I doubt if anyone else will ever be stupid or crazy enough to want to take it apart again but if they do, it can be disassembled again with heat and some moisture.

On the other end is an old parlor guitar that I'm rebuilding that was originally made with HHG. I will use it exclusively on this instrument just because it is original even though I have removed what was left of the original ladder bracing and replaced it with a new X brace. I doubt if the guitar will be worth all that much when I finish but if, for some reason, someone else wishes to work on it, it would be a reasonable assumption on their part that HHG was the glue used on the guitar and they will not have any surprises in that department waiting for them.

Hi Lonnie. I would offer that perhaps your friend who was talking about the open time perhaps had liquid hide glue in mind? That form does have an open time similar to Titebond, etc.

I have two archtops built 5 years ago that have held together well that were assembled with Franklin's (FRESH)

liquid hide glue. Now the question is, how fresh is it? Franklin, since at least 2009, has printed an expiration date

on the bottle, bless their little hearts. Over the years I have used it to build many furniture pieces, including chairs

and Queen Anne pieces, and they're still together. Again, let me stress "fresh." Don't take a chance on expired stuff.

So if you want to try it, there it is. I believe granular and liquid both have their places. Cheers.


Glad to hear that you have had good luck with the Franklin liquid hide glue.  On a number of the guitar building forums that I participate with this glue has NOT been well received...

Users report that bond strength is substandard on test pieces and/or inconsistant and as such they aborted any attempt to use the stuff.  One very well known builder found that he can use it to lubricate the fret slots while pressing his frets home - beyond this he also thinks that the stuff is not a good fit with guitar building....

My beef is two fold.  I am not a brave enough sort to want to blaze the rugged individualist path with something as key to the success of my own building/repairing and/or the success and enjoyment of my customers as the glue that we use.  And.... the second reason why I am not keen to use this stuff, bottled off-the-shelf hide glue, is that we have so very many great choices available to us anyway such as hot hide glue, fish, Titebond original, LMI white, that risking my builds and repairs to a glue that may not pan out in time is to me a long walk on a short pier....

If I can't know by having some history what will result from using a product say ten years from now it's not for me and not likely something that I would be comfortable recommending to others either.

I sincerely hope that it continues to work well for you but before I ever take a second look at the stuff I would need to know that others have used it successfully for a LONG time AND that the resulting instruments were subjected to all the horrors that many guitar owners subject their instruments to including drying out in cold winters to that 140 degree trunk in a black car parked at LAX for a week..... or the near 100% RH of some southern locations.

Lastly - if the longer open time is the attraction why not consider fish glue?  It's been around for a very long time, is also reversible like hide, has a very long open time, and dries very crystalline and hard like HHG.  It's a bit harder to clean up than HHG but not so bad when you get used to it.

Best advice I could give regarding HHG......BE PREPARED!!!!!! Have all your clamps (you DO do a "dry run" first don't you?!) ready, inplace..... wet rags (warmed up) to wipe any excess up, etc.

Thanks fellas;with you guys keeping an eye on me I feel confident I'll succeed with my projects.At the present I'm kinda out of comish.(sprained ankle).When I recover I'll be raring to go.Thanks again for your input.Being new to this forum you've made me feel right at home.

Recently I did replace a fretboard on a Soprano Ukelele.I used Elmers to attach it to the instrument.I used super glue on the ends of the frets to keep  them from coming up.It is a successful job so far I did this about two months ago and it hasn't fallen apart yet.


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