Hi all, I'm a newcomer round here, though I've been lurking around for a while.

I recently bought some Titebond Liquid Hide from eBay. However, when I unpacked it I noticed the expiry date was 2013. I got a refund, but am wondering if there's anything I can do with it? Would you fellas trust it for any jobs? Seems a shame to bin it.

-- Keith

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Dump the contents and re-purpose the container. Even fresh liquid hide glue is generally frowned upon by the instrument build/ repair community, it is not a good substitute for hot hide glue.

If you do grain raising when sanding wood like spruce, there's an old trick to add some very thin hide glue to the warm water, damp the cloth and use it t wetten the  wood. The grain will stand, held this way with a help of glue.

I'd dump it too, just to keep temptation out of the picture. Not to knock Demetry's comments but you can use good hide glue for the same purpose and you won't risk

finding that you ran out of good glue and are tempted use the old stuff "just this once". 

Seems the consensus is to dump it. I do like working with hot hide glue, but sometimes I'm just not quick enough!

There are HHG nazis out there who think that part of Lutherie purity.... is to use HHG where ever one can....  They often neglect to understand that the open time is so very short that if there are any sonic reasons to use HHG in certain applications that letting it jell because we are not quick enough is far worse than using a different glue with longer open time.  

HHG is great stuff but it also is very unforgiving of not having clamps in place quickly, 20 seconds or so.  You will learn creative ways to extend the open time such as preheating parts, working in a hot room like the violin folks do, and even messing with the viscosity of the glue can extend open time.  So too can how it's applied such as a bead from a bottle as opposed to thin layers brushed on.

I use HHG for all braces, bridge plates, bridges, and sometimes plate joining.  For linings, blocks, overlays, etc. Titebond original.  Fretboards can be HHG if you are quick enough and preheat or Titebond or even ep*xy.... although I'm no longer a fan of ep*xy for fret boards although I have done it and it worked fine.

Dump it and if you bought a fresh bottle dump that too - it's not the same stuff as hot hide glue....

As you can tell I'm no fan of the stuff....;)

I like Paul's answer, dump it and repurpose the container!

If long open time is what you are after lots of great guitars have been built by top tier builders out of Titebond original.

Just a quick comment.  Not trying to start any argument but I would like to point out there is at least one scientific study showing that liquid hide glue (LHG) in this case Old Brown Glue brand, was just as strong as freshly prepared hot hide glue (HHG). 

This was a test applied to several kinds of wood and the bond strength was measured with precision instrumentation and averages computed.  

Thus, one cannot say LHG and HHG are equivalent for every usage but in this carefully conducted test the LHG was equal (actually slightly exceeded  that of HHG

Glue Strength Test

As to the lifespan of LHG.   I have read that if you have a doubt you can put a drop on a surface and let it dry overnight.  If you have clear lite brown, crystalline ball the glue is still good.

Nice! Thanks for posting this, Bernie. Quite informative. 

I've played around with the liquid hide glue, and have nothing against it as of yet, but I do very much appreciate the strong initial tack of hot hide glue for certain situations like replacing a brace inside the guitar. Once it grabs I can get to my dowel and get it into place quickly without the brace falling off. But that's just my experience. 

(Hopefully) an interesting side note regarding hot hide glue: HHG, particularly rabbit skin glue, is the traditional sizing for an artist's canvas prior to applying the "oil ground" as it draws the canvas up like a drum when dry and protects the canvas from the oil of the paint. However, it's hygroscopic nature has led to many a cracked old master painting. New PVA sizes (basically wood glue, I think) are much better for the subsequent paint film, but are not as fun to paint on. They lack the response and subtle sympathetic bounce with the brush that I like with HHD. There is always a trade-off ....but I digress. ;-)

Have to wonder how they came up with rabbit hide glue --LOL!  Maybe that is what Loyd Loar used on the first F-5's!  Those artists are never satisfied -- they have to have HHG to glue their instruments and also to stretch their canvas!  What next?

You mentioned the tackiness of HHG - I  can't really speak to that as I use mostly fish glue (FG) for instruments.

But the comment leads me to mention  that FG also has those desirable initial tack characteristics.  It gets very stick in short order after you spread it on but still gives you quite a bit more time to slide things around before it sets. 

So with FG you can easily do big jobs like a fret board or gluing on a back board.  I think you have about 7 minutes or a bit more of working time with FG.   The one thing FG has going against it I think is cost (it is relatively expensive) and I guess it has a shelf life too.  I do not know what it is.  I keep my in the beer refrigerator in the basement (next to the shop of course) and my batch is two years old and still working great.  I always test it before any job.  Also if you keep it in the cold you have to give it several hours of warm up time before using it.


Sounds like you need a hybrid glue. Maybe Polyvinyl rabbit glue made from the "skin" of ToysRus stuffed rabbits? 

 Bernie, I've read about "Old Brown Glue" before and thought about trying it but I've still got about 5 pounds of hide glue granules to go through first.

I've heard pros and cons about FG which seem to boil down to what it's made from. Haven't actually ironed out any details... which appears to be the problem other people are having.

If you build my guitar with fish glue, will my cat go nuts every time I take it out of the case?  Just askin'...


Nah.  I've heard that story but I think it is an urban legend....


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