Hide Glue #1: Make Your Own (Non-Metallic) Hide Glue Brush!

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Blog entry by David posted 01-27-2009 08:28 AM 5875 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Hide Glue series Part 2: Hide Glue Primer »

I have been gearing up for a particular project. In preparation I have been doing a bit of research on using hide glue. For the purist, it is best to use a glue brush without a metal ferrule. The reasoning behind this is the metal ferrule can potentially cause a black stain. There are brushes available for hide glue but there are rather expensive. For the time being, I am spending shop funds on materials and tools.

The focus of this blog is to show an inexpensive alternative to an expensive glue brush. Perhaps just enough to experiment before making a decision to purchase a brush or continue to make your own.

To make your own hide glue brush, all you need is an inexpensive chip brush, a sail needle, and some waxed sail cord. Start by removing the metal ferrule and drilling 3/16 holes in the indentations left by the ferrule. Next, sand the bristle bundle flat so it will mate up with the end of the brush handle.

The following photos show how to stitch the bristle bundle on to the end of the brush handle. It is pretty easy to do with a sail needle . . . just take your time and keep everything snug.

The next step is a bit more complicated. However, if you have the courage to remove the metal ferrule and sand a bristle bundle flat than you are up for whipping the handle end! Whipping is a type of knot that secures the end of a rope and is perfect for finishing your glue brush. For the sailors and Boy Scouts in the crowd this will be a snap!

This is the result when you are done . . . a perfect brush for use with hide glue. Now all you need is some hide glue and a glue pot!

Good sources for additional information can be found on luthier websites and library / archiving websites.

The Folding Rule Blog

Some Interesting Glue Brush Links

Solo Horton Brushes

Tools For Working Wood - Glue Brushes


Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department


6 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4610 days

#1 posted 01-27-2009 12:41 PM

This technical information is great Dave, thanks for sharing the research.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4419 days

#2 posted 01-27-2009 01:30 PM

Way cool David. Obviously, the college class you took in basket weaving paid off.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4490 days

#3 posted 01-27-2009 05:45 PM

Hi David,

What a great idea. Also very neatly done. Is that a skill learned from sewing up cuts?

I’ve had stitches that started out in the same fashion. LOL


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4610 days

#4 posted 01-27-2009 08:22 PM

Dave Pruett, Curator

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4649 days

#5 posted 01-27-2009 10:56 PM

Thanks guys!

Lee, I do hope my sutures look better and are smaller!


View Karson's profile


35202 posts in 4911 days

#6 posted 01-28-2009 02:53 AM

Nice David.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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