I'm almost ready with my shop to have to do the first glue applications.

I was wondering what you guys favor, hot hide glue or cold glues? I for sure want to try the hot glue, sounds like fun and something a luthier has to master. I also understand it's much easier for later repairs, and the way it sinks on the wood and combines the workpieces is supposed to be better for transmitting vibrations.

How about using different glues on one guitar? Let's say I have a 3 piece body, maybe I want to glue that with cold glue, and when I set the neck I use hot glue so I can have the advantage of removing the neck with heat later for repairs?

What brands of glue (hot and cold) are you using?

Tags: glue, hide, neck, set

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I am building electrics, by the way - Les Paul style...


Use the "search" function located in the top right hand corner - also review "subjects for luthiers", come back when you have read all that. 


A search on this forum should also turn up some hits since this is a subject that's been discussed more than once before.

got it!

Alright, I read up and it looks like hot hide glue all the way. Fun!

Frank is writing about Milligan & Higgins hide glue, so I have been researching where to get it. Unless yo buy 50lbs they don't sell it to you directly, and the list of resellers they gave me was not really up to date.

However, I found a reseller that sells the 192 Gram strenght online, about $10 a pound:

Just FYI, I hope I didn't miss that while reading the FAQ's and it's old news for you guys ;-)

Micha I believe that LMI also sells HHG from Milligan and Higgins repackaged in much smaller quantities.

Now that you have read up on glues from reading the archives it's way easier to have a conversation with you about glues... ;)

There is no need to view HHG as "all the way" unless, of course, you are hell-bent on only using HHG.  Most of us who use HHG for building and especially repair work will not limit ourselves to only HHG.  Instead different glues have of course different qualities, benefits, and requirements for their use.

As such it's not uncommon for builders and repair folks to use a plurality of different glues in an attempt to properly exploit their individual qualities while still keeping in mind their limitations as well.

For example IMHO HHG is the champion when it comes to thin glue lines, no cold creep, and drying to a crystalline, very hard state that is likely far less dampening than other glues such as epoxy.

A down side with HHG is that you don't want to overheat it, underheat it, and you need to be sure to have the dry runs (not in the gastrointestinal sense but in the practice clamping sense) down since working time with HHG is very short.

There are many applications on a guitar that will not necessarily benefit from the qualities of HHG.  An example would be bindings, be they wood or plastic or nitrocellulose other glues may get you where you want to go as well and with less fuss.

In a typical guitar that I would build I'll use HHG for all bracing, bridge plates, bridges, etc.  But I also may use Titebond original for bindings, head plates, neck and tail blocks, etc.  Fish glue may make it into my bag of glue tricks too for things such as bindings but I am not keen to use fish for structural stuff.  Even epoxy may get in the game for fret boards and CA as well for fretting, securing the nut, etc.

It's nice to have choices.

In any event beware of the Franklin bottled hide glue, it's not the same stuff and basically sucks in my view....  And be sure to do practice runs when using any glue, especially HHG glue.  Pre-heating parts is also your friend with HHG and will extend the open-time a bit making it more user friendly.

Also, not sure where you are located but in Europe "pearl glue" is at times sold as HHG and it's not the same stuff and instead made from other parts of the beast such as bone.... etc. and it also can really stink pretty badly as well.

One last interesting (at least to me) notion to consider is that back in the day many of the now iconic guitars were seemingly built entirely with HHG.  Was this because HHG is the end all to be all and the producers of these now iconic instruments had arrested development when it comes to only using sonically superior materials OR was it because it was all that they had?  Perhaps some of both as well?

To me HHG would be a great thing to use for an entire instrument provided that.... the chops required to properly observe limited open times for HHG could be completely satisfied in my building methods.  If a glue joint may be compromised because I'm not fast enough to use HHG for say the kerfed linings I would use Titebond original instead preferring to be sure that I am producing decent glue joints regardless of which glue that I prefer to use.

In any event these days we have more choices and this is a good thing.  As such the various glues that we might use all have up sides and down sides but a smart Luthier will become well versed in all of them and seek to exploit the individual qualities and minimize the shortcomings by choosing our prospective and respective applications carefully.


Hesh offers a good breakdown of the glue considerations and choices that are faced by all acoustic and boutique builders    However, as you are just starting out and building a Les Paul style electric I suppose I would recommend  (as a production builder of electrics) that you make life easy for yourself and use the same glue as Gibson use for their Les Pauls and we use for our stuff which is Titebond Original (production glue).  

Gibsons don't fall apart in hot or humid weather and a lot of them get left in cars and vans on hot days to cook a bit. HHG is fine if the instrument is to be cared for and looked after but it's not always the way with guitars subject to tough lives.   Use the system that best suits the purpose and end user.


Ha, thanks for that! Also thanks for reading my initial post so we are talking abut the same thing here :-)

I'll use the HHG though, since I am very curious, not in a hurry and I can take all the time I want to practice my clamps and to practice on scrap pieces... this is all about the fun for me and I appreciate the great feedback in this forum a lot.

Thanks Hesh,

that was a great and detailed answer! I was mostly looking for advice how to do wood on wood gluing, of course no HHG for binding and frets etc...

LMI is selling HHG but I couldn't figure out the brand, I was making it a fun game for me to track down the M&H reseller that's the most convenient...

I use HHG on instruments that are old enough to have been built with that glue. I like it a lot but I also have no problem with original Titebond on other instruments. I like HHG on bridges and smaller repairs but I have trouble getting it on and things clamped up properly if the area of coverage is very large. It starts to gel very quickly and it completely possible to have one area already starting to gel before you have glue on everything.  I'm not sure that anyone's ear is good enough to hear the difference between Titebond and HHG on an electric guitar build so I'd go with Rusty's recommendation and use the one with longer working time, in fact, that's exactly what I'll do if I ever get around to trying my hand at build an electric. 

If you scroll down this blog post of mine, I have notes on how to make a really cheap glue pot.

Glue pot

The idea came from a piano repair blog that has since disappeared, so I put it up myself.


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