Pure Hide Glue
Pure Hide Glue
This traditional glue is made by hand in small batches. Fresh Cattle skin is processed with lime made on site by burning seashells with wood. The skin is soaked in a lime solution to cleanse it and loosen the hair. It is then rinsed and scraped repeatedly to remove lime and unwanted substances from inside and outside the skin, leaving only the collagen rich fiber network. The clean skin is dried and then cooked gently in spring water to dissolve the collagen. The resulting liquid is filtered and cooled in flat sheets to form a thick gel. Once cooled, it is cut into small pieces and dried when it is ready to be reconstituted and used.
Hide glue is very strong and is still used by many traditional craftsmen to make instruments and fine furniture in preference to synthetic glues. Because it is water soluble, objects made with hide glue can be more easily taken apart and put back together when needed. Hide glue, or similar glue in some form, has probably been around since people started making things. If kept dry, it lasts longer than we live.
My glue is not tested for gram strength as some commercially available hide glues are. It is soaked in water and dissolved by heat before use. Only the most basic instructions for use are provided, but there are many good resources for using hide glue online. Here is one interesting video on using hide glue in woodworking.