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Terry Maurice

Wrong Glue Frustration!!

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I have about had it with instruments that have been put together with "wonder glues"!! I know we beat the new glue vs old glue thing to death here a while ago, but I am so frustrated with trying to repair instruments that have been glued with "who-knows-what" kind of new wonder glue glue. For example, I am dealing with fingerboards that are glued on with glue that will not come apart without creating significant damage to the neck and fingerboard and most recently a Chinese cello that has the top glued on with "wonder glue."

I think that those of you who are importing instruments from China should get to know if the factories you are dealing with are using the proper kind of glues, i.e. hide glue that is truly reversible. At some point in time the instruments that you are importing are going to need repair and your customers are going to be irrate when they find out that they have bought a "throw-away" instrument.

Those that advocate Titebond and similar glues should have to deal with a few repairs of instruments where these glues have been used and then let's hear their opinions.

Sorry for the rant.

Terry

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I don't understand why any luthier would not use hide glue. It is easy to prepare and even redo when necessary. I agree that the word must go out to keep with good ol' hide glue. However, I don't know what we can do about cheap workshops that use Elmer's Glue or who knows what.

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The problem is one of education. Hide glue is thought of as inferior by many. It is, in some ways. I once had a neck let go while living on a boat. The fiddle never got wet, but the environment was certainly damp at times. Titebond II or some other modern glop would have resolved the issue, and some people would have done just that, never thinking that the neck might have to come off someday. I'm getting my first real experience (in a long time, at least) with using real hide glue these days (I had a local luthier fix the aforementioned neck joint). I actually kind of like the process of heating it and having to plan ahead. What about the liquid hide glues sold in hardware stores? Is it any good, reversible??

Robert

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The liquid hide glues have been almost universally decried on this board. Too unpredictable, with some reporting some success with it and others reporting lots of failures of the glue over time. I think the consensus view is to just say no.

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Quote:

What about the liquid hide glues sold in hardware stores?


It sucks.

Real hot hide glue is EASY to use, and this is coming from someone who has only used it a few months. I always thought it would be a pain to use, and thought of people who used it as being 'old fashioney', but it's actually fun to have to heat it up and paint it on with a brush and get the parts together quickly - no time to screw around, keeps me focused.

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Terry;

I understand your frustration with the types of glue. Any part that will ever have to be removed for repair or replacement should be glued with hide glue. Liquid hide glue made by Franklin Co. is as strong and reversible as hot hide glue. I only suggest using Titebond III on grafts, cracks and dowel type permanent repairs. Titebond III is not reversible, but Titebond II and Original are both reversible, but I would not use them where one would assemble a violin in the first place (including fingerboards.) Basicly use hide glue on temporary joints, and Titebond III on permanent joints. I hope this clears up the glue mess. If you are so inclined to use hide glue on permanent cracks or grafts, be prepared to redue it at a later date.

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Hi Terry,

I know exactly what your talking about. I just had to pull the top off a Chinese cello. I'm not sure if the cello was made with the white glue or if someone did it later when tring to repair it. The center back seam was seperated for more than half the length. It had an open seam to start with so I thought it would be easy to pull apart. It took 6 hours just to get the top off.

I dripped denatured alcohol in the seam, and carefully worked along the edge with three thin pallet knifes, I also used a hair drier. I don't know if any of it helped. I nearly destroyed the top because so much of it stuck to the ribs. Very aggravating! Some knucklehead had already glued part of the center seam togeather with super glue and giant, clumsy looking cleats. I would guess it was the same knucklehead that reglued it with white glue. It looked like the back was also put on with the same stuff because I could see a bead of it oozing along the inside seam. Needless to say, the cello is one that I rent because who knows what'll happen if it needs to expand and shrink with humidity changes.

When it was all done, it surprisingly sounded very good and it only cost me $140.00 with shipping. (oh yeah and the parts I added and also the pain and suffering.)

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I agree that "Any part that will ever have to be removed for repair or replacement should be glued with hide glue."

In my experience however every single joint on a violin and every single repair has the potential to need redoing or re-repair. So I suppose I would also agree that we should: "Basicly use hide glue on temporary joints, and Titebond III on permanent joints." as long as we also agree that there are NO permanent joints.

(and I'm with you Oded - any sign of non-hide glue and my prices immediately double)

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Hi Linda,

The cello that I was referring to, is a new Chinese cello, with no previous repairs. The whole thing has been put together with synthetic glue of some sort. These type of glues set more quickly than hide glue and thus they can speed up production of the instruments. But what about repairs on instruments made with these glues? I am sure we will see more and more of these instruments coming in for repairs as time goes on.

As Oded stated, charging more is one solution, but it is hard to take on a job knowing that what you are going to do is potentially going to make you look bad with the ensuing damage that could happen when repairs are attempted. Perhaps, refusing to work on them will be the only approach. But what a waste of money, labor and wood, these instruments represent.

Terry

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Al, with all due respect,

IF and when I or someone else has to redo my repair, then I will know that the process will go much more smoothly because I used hot hide glue that IS reversible.

In my books, it is bad repair ethics to assume that you will be the last to work on any instrument, regardless of its value or merit. Using time-tested glues is the only way to ensure that what you do can be safely re-done at a later date.

Terry

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Alan;

I have to disagree with your theory that there are no permanent joints. The following I would consider as permanent repairs:

1. Any graft.

2. Glueing a beg box back on the neck.

3. A break in the middle of the neck.

4. Replacing a heel on a neck.

5. Crack on top or back plate.

Any of the above I would not glue with a NON permanent type of glue, like hide glue. These joints should be brought back to virgin wood integrity as close as possible.

I'm with you in regards to double the price of any instrument that has had permanent glue used where temp. (hide glue) should always be used.

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Quote:


Alan;

I have to disagree with your theory that there are no permanent joints. The following I would consider as permanent repairs:

1. Any graft.

2. Glueing a beg box back on the neck.

3. A break in the middle of the neck.

4. Replacing a heel on a neck.

5. Crack on top or back plate.

Any of the above I would not glue with a NON permanent type of glue, like hide glue. These joints should be brought back to virgin wood integrity as close as possible.

I'm with you in regards to double the price of any instrument that has had permanent glue used where temp. (hide glue) should always be used.


Al;

I'm sorry, but I disagree with you concerning the use of so called "permanent" glues for cracks, especially on the plates.... and if woodwork is performed correctly, there is absolutely no reason to use anything besides hot hide glue on a neck graft. The "permanent" glues leave a visible glue line and are not easily reversible... and frankly, the idea that a crack (or many other repairs) will never need reworking makes no sense to me... I've addressed too many repairs that were originally performed by a person, or persons, with this mentality to buy into that. Reworking one of these jobs can be a nightmare. Alternate glues have their uses, but not in these areas.

Concerning hot glue and Franklin hide glue: I do find fresh, correctly prepared hot hide glue much more reliable and much "stronger" than liquid hide glue. I use quotes, as this strength may come in part through the contraction of the hot glue as it cools and sets, as well as the fact that in some restoration procedures, we use less clamping pressure than recommended by Franklin for liquid hide.

BTW, I think you only get to be a virgin once.

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Quote:

Alan;

I have to disagree with your theory that there are no permanent joints. The following I would consider as permanent repairs:

1. Any graft.

2. Glueing a beg box back on the neck.

3. A break in the middle of the neck.

4. Replacing a heel on a neck.

5. Crack on top or back plate.

Any of the above I would not glue with a NON permanent type of glue, like hide glue. These joints should be brought back to virgin wood integrity as close as possible.

I'm with you in regards to double the price of any instrument that has had permanent glue used where temp. (hide glue) should always be used.


What if these permanent repairs were poorly done using permanent glues, and needed to be redone?

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Beware of the Titebond glues which some say are reversible!!!

According to Titebond themselves Titebond 2 is for outdoor use--hardly reversible by the sound of it.

From the Titebond website:

" It is ideal for exterior woodworking projects, including outdoor furniture, birdhouses, mailboxes, planters and picnic tables."

Unless you plan on turning it into a birdhouse I'd stay away from the stuff

I also charge double when I see such glues have been used.

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What if these permanent repairs were poorly done using permanent glues, and needed to be redone?


Then just charge triple....and make no promises.

That's exactly what I'm working on now. The customer wants some top cracks cleaned up and redone. I tried to refuse the job because I think the damage has already been done.

Anyway, I finally said I'd do my best to at least make it look more presentable

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So the message quite clearly is that hide glue is the stuff to use; certainly good words for us folks who are in the process of making new instruments.

A question, though, to those here who have openly written that they would double or triple their rates if they caught a whiff that anything other than hide glue had been used on an instrument.

A person presents a violin which has been bought by them (or maybe been given as a present), they've forked out as much money as they possibly can (often in good faith believing it to be a quality instrument) to get something which is now their pride and joy. Now the instrument shows itself to be of less quality than first imagined and they are penalised for being it's owner.

Is this really fair?

Perhaps better to mention the pitfalls that repair might incur because of the wrong glue and let them decide if they want to have the repair done at the usual rates.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
grajki

Perhaps better to mention the pitfalls that repair might incur because of the wrong glue and let them decide if they want to have the repair done
at the usual rates
.


It sounds like you believe the luthiers here are suggesting that they double their hourly rate. Not the case. If the wrong glue has been used, the cost of acomplishing that particular repair at "the usual rates" is about double (depending on what glues were used).

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Oded Kishony

When I see any evidence that other than hide glue has been used on an instrument I will either refuse to work on it or double my rate.

Originally posted by:
Alan Coggins

(and I'm with you Oded - any sign of non-hide glue and my prices immediately double)

Sorry to missunderstand what has clearly been written down.

Michael, an innocent workman does not have to take the beating, the job can easily be refused.

Jeffrey, this would be a fairer way of doing the costing, in so much as the job will in iteslf take longer, therefore the total cost for the job will increase.

Look at it another way, if the job was on a very, and I mean a VERY VERY expensive instrument, are we to believe that it would be given the same time consideration as an every day job violin (hide glue and all)?

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Perhaps there is a misunderstanding about "rates". I don't know how many luthiers quote "per hour" as opposed to "per job". In my case, I would quote a fixed rated for removing a top and replacing a bass bar, assuming that the top is fixed with hide glue. If the top proves to be fixed with a substance other than hide glue, I would most certainly adjust my quotation accoringly, having discussed this with the owner. Should I spend spend four hours on something which normally takes 5 minutes, and still charge the same?

It may not be the owner's "fault" that some weird adhesive was used, but why should I inherit and pay for his bad luck?

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quote:


Sorry to missunderstand what has clearly been written down.

Michael, an innocent workman does not have to take the beating, the job can easily be refused.

Jeffrey, this would be a fairer way of doing the costing, in so much as the job will in iteslf take longer, therefore the total cost for the job will increase.

Look at it another way, if the job was on a very, and I mean a
VERY VERY
expensive instrument, are we to believe that it would be given the same time consideration as an every day job violin (hide glue and all)?


Thanks for the previous quotes (from Oded and Alan). I can see where the misunderstanding occured. I think of "rate" as an hourly figure. In that case, if the job will take longer (because of some complication or problem), the cost or estimate will be higher. I think some use the term "rate" for a book price on a standard repair.

The last part of your question... about expensive instruments. Can you clarify? I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. If you are asking if the same "rate" would be in effect, my answer would be "yes". What is appropriate work (how far and what is done) to an expensive instrument vs. a not expensive instrument may vary, however. For example: I really wouldn't recommend a $50,000 restoration job for a $40,000 violin.

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