How To Remove Hide Glue From Wood: Easy Tips For Carpenter’s

Hide glue is an essential adhesive to use for woodwork. It has potent adhesive formulations and long durability. Due to its finest quality, this adhesive has become very popular with furniture makers for many years. The glues which are easy to remove are preferable to the instrument makers. If you are a furniture maker, you need to know how to remove hidden glue from wood quickly and perfectly. 

Where Can You Use Hide Glue? 

There is no doubt that wood glue works better than hide glue when the topic is about glue’s strength. However, some properties make them longer and better suited than some wood glues. 

It is always better to choose to hide glues over wood glues for certain woodwork. Let’s get into the discussion on the woodwork that requires hide glues over wood glues. 

Antique Furniture: 

Hide glues perform better than wood glues in the woodwork of many antique furniture. If you want better-looking furniture, choose hide glues. It would help if you used hide glues to repair and restore your antique furniture. It is easy to separate antique furniture pieces without damaging wooden fibers because they are sealed with hidden glue. 

Take some hot water or steam to soften the joints. Then, you will be able to separate the hide glue easily. You can’t remove the wood glues using this process because wood glues’ formulations are designed so that they can’t be separated without destroying the wood fibers.

Musical Instruments:

Hide glues are the favorites of musical instrument makers, especially those who make violins and guitars. These two musical instruments need removal for repairs, refurbishment, and replacement. Both hot hide glue and bottled hide glue work perfectly on musical instruments. It is an easy task to remove the hidden glue from the parts of the instruments effortlessly. This is why it is best for the instrument makers to use hide glues. 

Unlike hide glues, many types of wood glue can’t give you precise and perfect finishing. You can finish the wood on top of the hide glues without sanding it off. This is purely an extraordinary advantage of using hide glues. 

The Substances to Dissolve the Joint of a Hide Glue

Many may try water, paint thinner, or alcohol to remove the hide glue. For your kind information, these tools are not very effective in breaking the joint of the hide glue. So, what to do? You can try heat and moisture – these two things are highly recommended if you are tired of breaking the joint of hide glue, but all goes in vain. Heat and moisture are the best-used equipment to release the tightly bound hide glue. Steaming the glue’s joint is a good idea, which is very difficult to release. For releasing the joint, using alcohol is another effective solution.  

Read: What Temperature Does Hot Glue Melt: An Accurate Guide

Different Steps on How to Remove Hide Glue from Wood

Step 1:

Take some hot water and apply it over the glued surface. You shouldn’t use warm water on the entire surface and prevent damage. Leave the product to soak in water for a few minutes. The time can vary depending on the thickness of the glue. 

Step 2:

After soaking in water, take a stiff-bristle brush to loosen the hide glue. 

Step 3:

A clean, damp rag is essential to remove the loose glue. Like other wood glues, use a rag to remove the loose hide glue. Repeat the steps until the glue is not freed from the surface. 

Step 4: 

Finally, remove the traces of hide glue by wiping the product’s surface. Use a clean rag soaked in vinegar to remove the traces. 

The Things to Consider Before Soften Hide Glue

You have got an idea about the solutions to breaking the joint of hide glue. Now, a question may arise whether those solutions always work effectively to soften the hide glue or not. Note that the working criteria of those solutions highly depend on the glue type. 

The glue type can be varied based on the materials used. Remember, they are not called hide glues if the glue is yellow or white. So, for releasing the joint of yellow or white-colored glue, soaking the material in white vinegar for a while can give you good feedback. If it is hidden glue, use a little warm water to soften it up pretty quickly. 

Cautions Before Removing Hide Glue

People usually use moisture or heat to soften the hide glue from wood. Heat is the most effective solution to break the joint, but using heat might not be pleasing if you are not careful. It might destroy the wood if you give more than enough heat to the hide glue line. So, ensure you are aware of giving accurate heat to the glue without destroying the wood.  

Similarly, you must be very careful while applying hot water to remove hide glue from antique furniture or musical instruments. Don’t use boiling water that can damage your product. Hot water should be used in areas that require hot water to release the glue.

Tips: How to Use Gorilla Glue on Plastic: The 6 Easiest Ways 


Do you think hide glue is water-soluble?

Hide glue is used preferably by many luthiers for its durability and reversibility. Hide glue is an adhesive used for sizing, varnishing, or other work. However, this glue is not used like other glues as it is water-soluble.

Which one is stronger hide glue and wood glue?

Different glues are needed for different projects. Hide glue was preferred in the old days but after the invention of wood glue, hide glue’s usage went down. Wood glues have taken over the dominance of hide glue nowadays. 

How long does hide glue last on a project? 

Hide glue is a convenient adhesive type, ready-to-use liquid form. People like to use this glue because it creates strong joints. Hide glue lasts approximately 12-18 months if you can store it in a dry and cool place.

Last Speech

Hide glues were displaced in the furniture industry by PVA glues, and they were highly reputed for centuries. However, these glues are not used like in the past apart from guitar and violin makers. Whatever the bond type hide glues create or the application type, you must know how to remove hide glue from wood as a woodworker or an instrument maker. 

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Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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