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Pearl/hide glue best practice - can I top up the pot?

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Blockplane

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Using pearl glue again for the first time in over 30 years, and could do with a quick bit of advice please.

Is it ok to top up the gluepot with extra (presoaked) glue, or should I dump what is left and start from fresh?

Many thanks in anticipation,

Rob
 

Sgian Dubh

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Depends on the age of the already cooked stuff. If it's been around for a long time and not been used for maybe a few weeks and gone all flaky and dry as a bone, it's best to start from new. Years ago - decades in fact, when I worked in a place that undertook lots of restoration and made traditional furniture in old mostly Georgian or thereabouts styles we almost exclusively used hide glue, and there were four or five pots of the stuff about in constant use. They were topped up as and when required at any time during the week, but we used a soft cake version of the glue rather than pearls. We simply cut a chunk off and threw it in the pot adding water when needed to keep viscosity right. Once a week, late on Friday afternoon, all the pots were emptied of glue, washed out, some fresh cake put in the pot, plus a bit of water, ready for the following Monday, or Saturday morning if we were doing overtime.

So, in answer to your question after the preamble above, start afresh if the glue in the pot is pretty ancient and nasty, but if you've got a pot that's running short of glue but has been in pretty constant use for a few days, then my experience tells me you can just go ahead and add a bit more of your softened (water soaked gloop) of glue pearls. Slainte.
 

profchris

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I use pearl glue for musical instruments and regularly top up the pot if needed.

But, as already said, it's important to switch to a fresh batch regularly - I might run a batch for 3 days. But if I have, say, week-old glue and something non-structural to glue up, I might still use it - if it has no mould and smells ok when warmed up, it will do the job.

For important structural gluing, like guitar bridges, I always make up a fresh batch.

Pearl glue costs pennies per batch, so if in doubt always make fresh.
 

bourbon

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Got me thinking this has, In our medieval group, our carpenters are thinking of introducing hide glue on the show, They want to get the smell apparently! The stuff would only be melted at weekends, so I think you are saying, make a fresh batch each weekend.
 

Droogs

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If you don't want to put people of visiting the display then yeah have a new batch every fortnight if just kept in the pot in a shed unless you keep it in the fridge in-between uses. When it goes off it is not a nice smell
 

bourbon

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Weirdly I think the horrible smell is what the woodworkers are after? I'm not bothered either way, I'm at the other end of the show casting Pewter, on the 'metal side' with the blacksmith.
 

profchris

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bourbon":2cco6ed7 said:
Weirdly I think the horrible smell is what the woodworkers are after? I'm not bothered either way, I'm at the other end of the show casting Pewter, on the 'metal side' with the blacksmith.
There is a simple answer!

The woodworker brews up a batch at home until the smell is just right, then freezes it.

Thawed and heated at the show, it should release the desired (!) aroma and produce the intended atmosphere.
 
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