Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 134, October 2016 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Finishing: Hide Glue Putty
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Animal Glue or "Hide" Glue use in furniture goes back to the ancient Egyptians some four thousand years ago and there is evidence the Neanderthals also used hide glue to strengthen their paints and to guard against moisture. Today, we have "liquid" hide glues, Titebond Liquid Hide Glue and Old Brown Glue , that are designed to be used at room temperature which allows for much more open time when in use. We use this type of glue to make putty for antique restoration and for new work as well.

Here are some tips for use:

  1. To get started collect some sanding dust from the project you're working on. The finer the better.

  2. Sift the dust to remove any larger particles.

  3. Now add a couple of drops of water to check the color.

  4. In new work, this is where we add water based dye to achieve a color match if needed.

  5. If there is to be no sanding involved on the antique, use some scrap of the same species to sand and collect the dust from.

  6. On a flat surface (I use glass), mix the dust and glue together to the consistancy of putty and apply with the tool of your choice. Using fingers can get messy!

  7. Unlike yellow and white PVA glues, the best part of this type of putty is that the hide glue will accept dye colorants so it's very easy to make the fill match the surrounding area.

  8. After the fill has completely dried, on a polished finished surface sand the putty with very fine sandpaper. Start with 2000 wet/dry using mineral spirits as a lubricant then move on to 2500.

  9. Any quality polishing compound will increase the sheen to match the surrounding finish.

  10. Remember, mineral spirits will not reactivate the hide glue mixture, water however will.

  11. As always, practice on scrap first.

Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net .

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

Oct 8, 2016  Spray Finishing
Oct 12, 2016  Finishing the Finish
Oct 22-23, 2016  Antique Restoration
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