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Alternate Glue


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I read on someone's violin making site that he used a regular wood glue to glue the center joints of the top and back of a violin on a regular basis. Those were the only places he did not use hide glue. Is this done often? I assumed one was supposed to use hide glue. Am I correct?

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White glue would give a bad center joint, in my opinion, since it leaves a rubbery residue that would be clearly seen. Hide glue, when dried, in a good joint, leaves virtually no residue, making a perfect joint. White glue is a very poor glue when it's properties are compared with hide glue.

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The pieces of wood must fit >perfectly<. Hold the joint up to a bright light and slide the pieces against each other; if you see any light whatsoever, plane it again. You can also feel a slight stickiness of bare wood against bare wood, caused by the slight vaccuum of a perfect fit.

Working quickly, brush glue onto both surfaces. Don't worry about drips right now. Brace one piece against the bench, and with a fair amount of pressure, slide the other piece back and forth longitudinally until it grabs. It really helps to have a helper to stabilize the lower piece and keep the upper piece from wandering. When working alone, you can put the lower piece in a vise.

After the glue grabs, hold the two pieces together for the count of 10. You can actually pick it up by the top piece at this point, but it's best to set it aside for half a day.

It's one of those things that is harder to explain than to do.


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I put one half in my vise, and rub the other onto it, then when it's done, just walk away for 1/2 hour and do something else. After it's settled and the glue is hardened enough to handle, take it out of the vise and lean it (vertical) against a wall overnight. I shoot the joint with just the very slightest bit of concavity--an amount that's easily closed by hand.

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