Hot Hide Glue Experimentation #2: First Project with Hot Hide Glue

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Blog entry by Lazyman posted 11-08-2016 03:03 PM 2393 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Prep and First Try Part 2 of Hot Hide Glue Experimentation series Part 3: Hammering Veneer »

So after getting setup with a hot plate and an antique glue pot, I decide to try making an entire project with HHG. The reason that I decided to explore HHG in the first place was to use it to apply some veneer to a shadow box mirror frame so I decide to use it for the assemply as well. The shadow box will be square (40”x40”) about 4” deep with a 31” round mirror. I decided to use some 1/2” plywood instead of 3/4 to keep the weight down. The back is recessed 1/2” to accept a french cleat for hanging on the wall and its in a 1/4” deep groove. Because I was not sure what to expect with the hide glue, especially with the end/side grain of the plywood, I decided to reinforce the corners with cleats for better glue surfaces that I also put some screws into. In hind sight, the screws were probably not necessary. To form the “porthole” for the mirror, I used curved 3/4” plywood strips to build up the ring. Instead of clamps, I decided to use a brad nailer to hold the strips in place. This saved clamping time and kept the pieces from sliding around as I moved around the ring

After the ring was built up. I attached 1/4” (well, 3/16”) plywood for the face to close the box. The glue up for this required a little speed since I had to apply HHG around the ring and sides before the glue started to gel. I used all of the small clamps I had to go around the outside and placed a big log on the center to hold down the center because I didn’t cut the center hole until after the front was glued into place. I decided to use a pin nailer to fill in where I didn’t have any clamps around the outside square and and insided ring to ensure a tight bond. I then used a flush trim bit with my router to cut the outside flush with the square and to cut out the round hole in the middle.

Next step is to glue on the walnut veneer. I bought some very thin veneer from Rockler and have started cutting it to form the pattern I have in mind. Of course I didn’t make it easy on myself. There are no right angles in my layout. I have not decided exactly how I want to orient the grain on the sides. It would be much easier to just run the grain along the sides but it would probably look better if I make the grain waterfalls off the edges but that is obviously much more ambitious with even more difficult angles to worry about.

I am a little worried about how thin this veneer is when the time comes to hammer it down, especially when it comes to cleaning the surface glue off. As thin as it is, I will not be able to sand or scrape much and I am also worried that using water to clean it off could loosen the bond. I am also concerned with how well the veneer will stick to the plywood edges that form the inner ring.

I am liking this hide glue. I am sold that it will become a permanent tool in the shop.

More to come as I start hammering…

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

2 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8733 posts in 3952 days

#1 posted 11-08-2016 05:35 PM

You should be able to clean the top of the veneer after it dries with cold water and a Scotchbrite pad. It take both heat and moisture to reverse the bond (unless you really soak it). Scrub a little, wipe it off and look at the surface with light glancing off it. Look for shiny spots. That is glue you haven’t got yet. Scrub those spots a little and check again. You can use a fair amount of water, just don’t let it soak.
You should have no problems with the plywood edges either as long as they are flush.
Good luck with the hammering. Do some practicing first though.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Lazyman's profile


7390 posts in 2541 days

#2 posted 11-08-2016 08:56 PM

Thanks for the advice. I have practiced on some smaller pieces.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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