Hello everyone. I'm new here and somewhat new to guitar/bass repair work. I'm working on some cheap old junkers to cut my teeth while absorbing like a sponge, every scrap of info I can I will probably have a few questions from time to time when I cannot flush out an answer from my books, etc. I'm getting into this work as a result of a love for instruments, music and tinkering with wooden anything. I built my own electric some years back and was hooked. My main focus has always been fine art painting, but money is slow to come with that gig, and I'm looking to supplement my income. Why not do something I also enjoy? So here I am.

As an oil painter, I of course have a large bag of rabbit skin glue sitting around. I have since switched to using PVA or Polyvinylacitate to size my canvas for several reasons. So I'm wondering how appropriate rabbit skin glue would be for luthiery. Is it strong enough, have the correct working properties, etc.???? I hate to see it go to waste and if I can save a few bucks and use what I've got, all the better. If bovine hide glue is better, no problem, I'll get some....just curious.


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The cost of hide glue is low enough, I think I'd go with the regular beefy kind. As I looked for info about rabbit glue, I noticed that one site listed it as having a gel strength of 350 grams. That's pretty high for wood working - we usually look for more like 200. The higher the gel strength, the more water is used in preparing it for use, and since that water evaporates from the joint, the result is a lower strength joint because there isn't as much glue left in there.

Now, that may be splitting hairs, but it does have some significance. In gesso and other art work, the high gram strength works quite well because the glue isn't squeezed under high pressure.

For more on the subject:
Thanks! I'll take your advice and get 'mooing' with my next purchase from LMI, what to do with the bunny kind. I'm reminded of something my old professor used to say to the those bothered by the idea of using rabbit skin glue for their canvas: "don't worry, they don't hurt the bunnies, they just squeeze them a little and let the go."

Thanks Mr. Ford for your reply and your fine website, I've learned a lot from it already.

Rabbit skin glue, now what have we got hare? ....Frank wrote ....."Now that may be splitting hairs" ....if that was intentional - well done!
Hey John, Check out "Hide Glue, Historical and Practical Applications" is a very detailed book about the hide glues in general (says that your rabbit glue would be good for gold leaf/gilding applications). You can get it along with various types of hide glues at Tools For Working . Neat biz they have there.
Very good to know, thank you!


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