Hide Glue and Dulcimer Pegheads

I’ve written before about my love of hide glue. Hide glue works well as an adhesive but it also has unique properties that allow assembly techniques not possible with modern glues.

Hide glue is excellent for making rub joints, a joint where after applying glue the parts are rubbed together a few times until the glue begins to stick. No clamping is required because hide glue pulls the joint together as it dries.

How a Dulcimer builder gets sticky fingersAbove is what my bench looked like earlier today while I was gluing up some pegheads. Some of the things in the photograph have nothing to do with gluing pegheads but they were lonely and asked if they could be in the picture. I didn’t have the heart to say no.

In the foreground towards the right, next to a partially shown shopping list, are the two parts of a peghead just after being glued. In the background is the mini-crock-pot that serves as an electric glue pot. Peeking out of the top of glue pot is the white lid of a small jar containing, believe it or not, hide glue. The jar sits in a bath of hot water. It is a filthy little jar and does not get to watch TV before bedtime if it refuses to take a bath. Hide glue also needs to be heated in a double boiler at around 140° F to melt and become usable. That is another reason the jar is in a bath of hot water.

Also on the glue pot are two brushes; one for applying glue, the other for adding hot water from the pot when cleaning things up, adding a little more hot water to the joint, etc.

In front of the glue pot is a flask of water used for replacing water in the glue pot and the glue jar as evaporation takes place. I found the flask at a salvage store and thought it was less likely to get knocked over than the glass I had used before. That ended up being true. The flask also looks cool and makes things look more impressive and scientific than they really are.

On the work-board are some peghead parts, a template, and a flat sanding block used for lapping the surfaces of the joints for a perfect fit. On bigger parts I do this with a swipe of a plane, on smaller, odd-shaped parts it is sometimes easier to lap them.

And now, for no particular reason, is a picture of a cute duckling.

I'm so cute!

 

 

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