No love for HHG anymore?


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Recently I read a few articles and blog posts about hot hide glue. Being new and not "set in my ways" yet, I decided to give it a try. This stuff is great! It took a while to adjust to as it is a completely different process than using a PVA glue, but it solved almost every problem with glue-ups I have ever had. For complex glue ups that I need a long open time for, or for stuff that will see a lot of water (cutting boards) I still use PVA II glues. HHG bonds REALLY strong, even with minimal clamping pressure, is completely unaffected by finishes, and reversible for that board you accidentally glued up upside down. There is also no mess to scrape off or sand out, and no squeeze out to deal with. Aside from having to maintain a glue pot, is there a reason this stuff is barely ever used?

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I'm gonna guess convenience. Where it shines is for rub joints and decorative veneering. Certainly easier for me to reach for a bottle of glue than warming up a batch I mixed the day before.

Oh, yeah, glad you aren't "set in your ways". That's the road to annoying...

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It is what I use 99% of the time. The key for me is getting a good glue warmer that maintains its temperature. If I know I will be needing glue during a shop session I will just plug in the warmer and leave it. There is more to it however as the more the glue it heated and cooled the more it breaks down. I have no science to back this up and cite loss of strength so I hesitate to even bring it up. I have found the best solution with liquid hide glue is to buy a small bottle and only heat that. I refill that little bottle from a larger one when needed. The larger bottle never gets heated. For the non liquid stuff, I only make what I will need and this is where I can see the inconvenience when comparing modern glues. Mixing and getting that balance right, then heating can derail the woodworking sometimes.

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Use HHG for moldings, miters, etc. It sets REALLY fast and is soooo easy on cleanup. Also use it on dovetailed drawers.

For me, PVA is for quick stuff where squeeze-out/cleanup is not as critical issue. Edge gluing, table-tops, etc.

For long pot life, mismatched grains, etc -- it's 206.

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I've taken a lot of tips from people that have been using this stuff for years and have found reheating not to be an issue so far. As I said I am still learning though. I have a mini-fridge in the shop. When I turn the lights off for the day, the HHG goes in the fridge. When I start the next day, the first thing I do is plug in the glue pot. I have a ritual of making a single hand cut dovetail every day before I start working. By the time I am done with that the pot is pretty much ready to go.

Interesting about the 206g. I have had good luck with 192 so far but I may give that a shot for the next batch. I have not tired liquid hide glue at all yet

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I've read that HHG is "self-clamping"; is this true? That'd be kindof neat; I can see why it's used for veneers if that is the case. I've also heard it's easier to unglue joints than PVA, which is why I'm thinking of using it for any serious furniture projects (being able to, say, take a drawer apart to replace a gouged front sounds quite useful, I'm thinking of doing that for a sideboard my parents own).

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