Hide Glue for Beginners #7: Another Inexpensive Hide Glue Heater

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 05-04-2016 12:46 AM 3138 reads 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Perfect Splined Mitre Joints in Five Minutes Without Clamps Part 7 of Hide Glue for Beginners series Part 8: Reversible is Good »

I already have an electric glue pot (HoldHeet) for heating my glue and an electric kettle with a glass jar for backup but for the school I want to be able to show as many options as I can so …..... I started cruising eBay last winter and was fortunate enough to win an auction for a fine old traditional cast iron glue pot for the princely sum of $17.
The problem arose when I tried it out on the hotplate I use for my sand shading. Even at the lowest setting, the glue would reach in excess of 170 F which is too hot and on the verge of burning it.

After rolling the problem around in my head for a while I came up with the following solution. It has a couple of quirks but also a few unforeseen pluses.

First of all, and the feature that attracted me most right off the top is the cost. With the advent of the coffee pod these things are available very cheaply at any second hand store. Most of you probably have one in the basement that was replaced when it’s carafe broke…... right? I didn’t so I had to pay $5 for this one.

The second plus is that it holds a temperature in the pot of …... 140 F!

The third plus (and I never thought of this until I was messing with it) is that you can put cold water in the tank and it will fill your outer glue pot with 200 degree water in a couple of minutes. Then you add the inner pot with the glue in it and it takes over and holds a perfect 140 F.

Now the quirks,

1) The heating element times out after two hours. I’m sure I can bypass that but if you turn it off and back on now and then it works just fine.
2) These machines have a raised ring around the heating plate that is smaller than the bottom of this glue pot. It is there to keep the carafe in place but in my use it prevents the pot from touching the heating plate and that just doesn’t work at all.

The element heats to about 200 F…..

... but even after I added a 1/4” aluminium disc to make contact with the pot, all I could get was about 125 degrees.
Then I noticed that it was a little tippy and I could rock it a bit on its bottom. That was the last piece in the puzzle. I hit the bottom of the cast iron pot with the belt sander until it was flat and everything fell into place. It now perks along at almost exactly 140 with the water in the big pot at about 170.

I was considering cutting the top part away for better access but I kind of like the water heating feature and after using it all afternoon today, I find it isn’t hard to get the brush in and out as-is so for now it will stay intact.

Total cost ...

Glue pot. $17
Coffee maker. $ 5
Aluminium scrap. $5

Not a bad deal as it is considerably more temperature stable than my kettle/jar model.

Thanks for looking in.


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

24 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23740 posts in 3709 days

#1 posted 05-04-2016 01:27 AM

That is a nice piece of problem solving, professor. Nice going, Paul!!
When I was reading the part where the bottom did not touching the element, I was going to suggest an aluminum disc. I made an aluminum basket for my grill to grill vegetables in and it transfers heat really well.
You figured it out very will with that flattening to make positive contact!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View dclark1943's profile


270 posts in 2791 days

#2 posted 05-04-2016 01:31 AM

Looks to me like you could give McGiver a run for his money : )

-- Dave, Kansas City

View a1Jim's profile


117905 posts in 4180 days

#3 posted 05-04-2016 02:29 AM

View Jerry's profile


3310 posts in 2251 days

#4 posted 05-04-2016 02:35 AM

That’s usin’ your noggin!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3217 days

#5 posted 05-04-2016 03:18 AM

very cleaver ,Paul ,thanks

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Druid's profile


2161 posts in 3399 days

#6 posted 05-04-2016 03:23 AM

Great job of recycling Paul, and economical too.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2277 days

#7 posted 05-04-2016 04:33 AM

Cheers Paul, always good to know a new way to … “remove skin from squirrel”, Boris Badenov.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18783 posts in 4279 days

#8 posted 05-04-2016 05:19 AM

Paul, If you decide you want to try the hotplate, an incandescent dimmer rated high enough to carry the load should regulate the hot plate down further from its lowest setting. 2000 watt would probably be best.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View madburg's profile


248 posts in 1446 days

#9 posted 05-04-2016 05:51 AM

Yet another cheap and cheerful version – great idea. I looked at the Heat Hold and thought there has to be something cheaper to boil water in!!! So I bought a new Rice cooker for $14 Australian, put a tin can for the glue in the internal bowl that normally holds the rice/water. I made an internal lid out of a plastic plate, cut down to form and inner lid on the rice pot with a hole in it for the tin can glue pot.

So a bit cheaper than yours Paul!!! Having said that I’ve not tried it yet, so it might be a failure!!!!!!

-- Madburg WA

View shipwright's profile


8452 posts in 3401 days

#10 posted 05-04-2016 06:01 AM

Thanks all,

Thanks Bob, I figured I could do that but I wanted to try this and it has a smaller footprint than my hotplate.

Martin, my kettle/jar is about that price too but I was looking for something to heat the traditional pot this time.
I hope the cooker works for you. If it has a thermostat you should be good.

BTW, the HoldHeet doesn’t involve water. I really like them because they are deadly steady on temperature and low maintenance. I just plug it in and forget it. This one seems almost as good though.

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

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3764 days

#11 posted 05-04-2016 06:59 AM

Nice work Paul. I like repurposing like this. Having said that though, if I were a student, then it’d really aggrivate me to have to try to get the brush in and under that overhang. It may not bother you, but others may not be so flexible. Just a thought. :)

And for future reference, sand might be a reasonable conductor in place of that aluminum disc.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View shipwright's profile


8452 posts in 3401 days

#12 posted 05-04-2016 08:31 AM

I’m sure you are right Rance and I will eventually end up cutting the top off but for now the novelty is kind if fun. The students won’t have to use it either. It’s just to show another option.
I did think of sand and agree it would likely work but I was afraid it would end up all over the place. :-(

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

View Kiwib0y's profile


89 posts in 1626 days

#13 posted 05-04-2016 08:45 AM

Thanks for sharing your experience with a new heating method. I am sure some manufactures must get a surprise sometimes to find out how their produces are been used

-- "It is only a silly question if it is not asked" Don,New Zealand

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1102 posts in 2916 days

#14 posted 05-04-2016 02:25 PM

Here’s another cheap option for preparing HHG.
In addition to using a traditional pot and hot water I have also used this gadget which costs about £10 and was originally intended for melting waxes used in beauty treatments. It has a thermostat and does what it says it will do on the label.

Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to post these pictures in the correct orientation even though I have rotated the originals several times.! Apologies for that.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View kiefer's profile


5713 posts in 3270 days

#15 posted 05-04-2016 02:52 PM

Good and inexpensive option and like Rance mentioned the sand is a workable idea .
I got an old coffee maker and may give this a shot .


-- Kiefer

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