Introduction: Home Made Hide Glue

About: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house with no space for a full shop so I decided to take up all hand tool wood working. That start…

How to make hide glue. Hide glue can be an easy to use glue as it is transparent to finishes and it holds very well. In addition, hide glue is traditional and a lot of fun to use. In this video, we discuss how to make hide glue from rawhide chew toys. For thousands of years, hide glue was the main glue for all woodworking as it was easy to make and reliable to use. When restoring a piece, it is also fairly easy to take apart as you can heat up the hide glue and it will release allowing you to restore the piece without breaking it.

Tools used:

crock pot -

dehydrator -

9” x 13” pan -

mason jar -

Wax Pot -

Supplies used:

rawhide -

cheesecloth -

Step 1: Soak the Rawhide

First, I like to soak the rawhide so that it is soft and pliable. If you want to cut it before making it softer, this would be a good time to cut it, however, I find it far easier to cut the rawhide after it has soaked for about 30 minutes. To start, I put the rawhide in a crock pot on medium heat for about 30 minutes or until it becomes flexible. Next, I cut the rawhide into pieces roughly the size of a quarter. I find it is easiest to do it with a pair of scissors, but a good sharp kitchen knife can work.

Step 2: Soak Down the Rawhide

In this step, we want to pull off the protein from the rawhide and let it dissolve in water. We can do this by heating the rawhide to just short of a boil. In the crockpot, I just turn it on high and leave it for about 6 hours. Make sure that it does not boil. I will mix the crockpot about once every hour or two making sure that there is an even heat and all of the rawhide stays submerged. Eventually, you will find that the liquid becomes very sticky and the sticks that you use to mix it with will begin to have a skin of gel on the end when you pull it out of the water.

Step 3: Strain the Hide Glue.

At this point you have hide glue. The liquid in the solution is just warm hide glue. You will want to strain off all of the excess rawhide. You can do this with a cheesecloth over a bowl or in my case a loosely-knit towel that will allow the water to flow through it but keep out the chunks of rawhide. I then put this fluid that has been strained out into a dish and let it turn into a gelatin. Some people like to put it into several shallow dishes so that it is no more than 1/4 inch thick, but I do not see a need for that and I have no problem with it getting as deep as 1 in. Then set a fan on it and let it sit overnight and cool.

Step 4: Dry the Glue.

At this point the hide glue is ready to use. You can take the gelatin and put it into a double boiler and use it just like any other hide glue. In the gelatin state it can sit for a couple weeks before it goes bad and even longer if you keep it in the refrigerator. To keep it longer you just need to dry it out. To do this I break the gelatin into pea-sized bits and dry them in a dehydrator. Some people will just set them in front of a fan for a day or so and roll them around so they will dry out. Be careful not to heat them up too much as they will melt until they are dry. Once all of these small bits of glue are dry, you can grind them into a fine powder. You can keep this fine powder in a jar or other airtight bag until use. In this state, you can keep the glue ready to use for years to come.

Step 5: Use the Glue

Anytime you want to use the hide glue just pull out the powder, mix it with some water, and heat it up. If you want the glue to be runny and liquid into tight places you can add more water and if you want it to be stickier and fill gaps then you can add less water or let it dry out a little bit.