How To Use Animal Hide Glue
For Primitive Crafts and Traditional Weaponry
Using Natural Animal Hide Glue for primitive weaponry projects:
Always use a premium quality Natural Animal Hide Glue formulated to be water soluble and usable at different thicknesses. This type of hide glue is available in our Glues, Hafting, and Pigments product category.
Prepare a double boiler or pan that is clean and can take some heat.
Mix approximately 50% by volume glue and water. Allow the glue to absorb the water completely.
Apply heat to thoroughly dissolve and liquefy the mixture. Add more water as needed to bring the glue to the proper consistency. Most people tend to try to use a glue mixture that is too thick. If you add too much water, you can either add more glue or cook the extra water out of the mix. It is fairly easy to get the consistency of the glue correct for your project with some time.
Be sure to not scorch or boil the glue mix, as this can hurt the properties of the glue and cause objectionable odors.
Keep the work piece clean and free of excess glue by careful application and quickly wiping spills with a wet cloth if you have a free hand. Very warm water cleans up glue overruns easier than room temperature water.
Cement in a blade or point by coating the two pieces being attached liberally with a warm thick glue mixture. Place the point/blade in the groove of the shaft/handle, and be sure that it is exactly where you want it. Hold for a minute or two to allow the hide glue to cool and begin to set. Excess glue can be removed after the piece has set long enough to stay in place.
To haft (wrap) a project after the blade is attached, moisten hafting, sinew or rawhide first with water then with a thin glue mix and squeeze out any excess before wrapping the item.
Hide glue is liquid when hot or very warm and will gel or thicken if allowed to become cold. Do not hesitate to add more water or change the temperature of the glue to make it more usable. After the final application layer, use a warm, wet finger to smooth the surface of the glue and even out lumps or thin spots. A toothbrush wet with warm water will allow you to clean your work piece.
If you are wanting an antique look, throw some dry dust onto the moist surface of the hide glue as it dries.
Set piece aside and allow 24-48 hours for glue to dry completely before waxing or using.
Natural hide glue will become sticky if exposed to excessive moisture, but must be soaked for hours before it will soften enough to lose its grip. Paste wax is recommended for all applications that will see use. To antique use a dirty or pigmented paste wax.
Hide glue can potentially be sanded smooth after drying, but pains should be taken to do the best job possible during the wet stages.
Natural hide glue is compatible with natural sinews, gut hafting material, rawhide and leather. It will adhere to these materials and make a very strong, fiber reinforced bond. It is not compatible with waxed artificial sinew, nylon or other plastic or water resistant materials.
To make your hide glue look less refined you can add ochre pigments or a little dry dust. A touch of dull yellow and black iron oxide will make a nice brownish green that matches burned wood, the patina on some stones, and patinaed bone handle materials.
Copyright 2020 Elliot Collins