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jim mcavoy

Rice glue ~ just a question

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This glue has been used on wood handles on hand made oriental swords ..some are over 1,000 rears old and still sound

 

It is touted as being able to take apart if needed, the question, ~ is it suitable for violins?

 

I would tend to use hide glue but am curious..  I would imagine that some off the oriental violins and guitars have been glued up using rice glue, but don't really know

 

thx

 

Jim   

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Rice glue is a weak glue (relatively speaking).  It's used extensively in Japanese joinery, as a joint glue and gap filler, noting that it provides no strength when filling gaps.  The strength in the joins comes primarily from the interlocking woods pieces, not the glue.  That's there simply to stop the pieces shifting and slipping during regular use.

 

It is also used on sword fittings - and I'll talk about Japanese ones again, as I know them.  In the handles, it doesn't matter about the weakness, as they handles are supported with metal bands at each end, and are wrapped in ray skin and silk or cotton - all of which do the actual supporting of the wood.  The glue is once again, just there to stop the pieces slipping.

It is possible to make handles without any glue at all and they'll still hold together during use, but will (conveniently) fall apart when disassembled.  Make note of that word - swords were regularly disassembled for inspection, as cracks and damage to the wood in a handle can be fatally catastrophic during use.  I've had one make a loud cracking noise during cutting and the collective wince from everyone in the dojo was a sight to behold.  That was a commercial handle, glued together with something permanent and ended up being destroyed when I pulled it apart.

 

Similar for scabbards.  A swordsman will want to pull them apart to be able to clean inside them.  The disassembly requirement is much less needed, or understood these days, as most swords do little more than hang around looking pretty, resting on stands. <_<

As much as I like swords and training with them, I think turning humans into salami slices is a fine thing for them to be not doing.

 

The only place I could possibly conceive of using rice glue on a violin would be joining the belly to the ribs.  That joint is under compression, so is likely to not fail, but even though it might have enough strength, I'm still sceptical.  I don't know how it would handle the vibrations - and I think that's what would cause it to fail.  It might also work for the neck-body joint, as that one does actually have some joinery based strength.

On the other places on the instrument, the joints are in tension (back-belly) and would pop pretty quickly, or the rice glue would act too much filler (fingerboard-neck) and reduce the accuracy of the joint.

 

Given you'd have to use something other than rice glue anyway, it makes less sense to add complexity for little perceived benefit.  Keep it simple - and use just one type of glue on the whole instrument.

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Rice glue, l'd never use it on an instrument unless it was a part of a repair scheme and the rice paste was holding together a fixture or clamping jig or structure that needed to betaken apart. 

 

It would be good for gluing the label in, but I don't think you would want to use it for anything else. Just my thought. 

 

Fascinating review of rice glue Renee', a quite a few things I did not know about this material. 

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On 6/6/2015 at 10:02 AM, Stephen Faulk said:

Rice glue, l'd never use it on an instrument unless it was a part of a repair scheme and the rice paste was holding together a fixture or clamping jig or structure that needed to betaken apart. 

 

It would be good for gluing the label in, but I don't think you would want to use it for anything else. Just my thought. 

 

Fascinating review of rice glue Renee', a quite a few things I did not know about this material. 

Below is a link to the aforementioned applications of rice glue. The other link is about bonding spruce with wheat glue.  I came across them while researching vegan glues for a future build.

Kindly keep any replies focused on practical lutherie.  Don't waste our time commenting on veganism.  That's for a philosophy forum.

http://islandblacksmith.ca/2014/03/sokui-rice-paste-glue-strength-testing/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926669009002192

I hope someone finds the information useful.

Sincerely,

Randy

 

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Rice glue surfaces regularly in major woodworking publications, Toshio Odate in Fine Woodworking described at length how to make and use it. Keep in mind that Japanese joinery relies on complicated interlocking parts that requires little or no glue to stay together. With that in mind its clear that rice glue will not be better for lutherie as there are not any complicated interlocking joints in a violin. Western joinery is different and sometimes even need gap filling with glue depending on individual skill. 

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I used recently wall paper glue to close a violin temporarily  and was somehow surprised how good it holds. Though not exactly rice glue it seems to be quite similar. However if the glue seam is under stress I don't think it will hold. 

But since I was thinking of appropriate uses for a weaker glue. 

1. Top nut 

2. Glue area of top and lower blocks to the top (and the rest of the rib garland with hot glue)

3. If the lower saddle is not too high it can be used there as well

4. And as mentioned by Stephen Faulk the label. However I was sometimes thinking that for the label just the opposite is better. 

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On 2/2/2020 at 9:44 PM, Randall The Restorer said:

Kindly keep any replies focused on practical lutherie.  Don't waste our time commenting on veganism.  That's for a philosophy forum.

Back then he was almost starving to death, then sold a guitar, repaired one i think, able to better stock the fridge a little better, his work appears to have gotten better these days hence a few more good paying commissions and probably doesn't have the time to be here any more.  Good for him, had me scared for a bit about being able to survive..  

 

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12 hours ago, Michael.N. said:

I wouldn't worry about the label. Strong or weak, either way someone will be along quite soon to swap it out.

most labels are remohved through the f-hole. Putting on the removal procedure as many hurdles as possible lowers the statistical chances for this to happen. 

But in the end the best is to make violins with an idiosyncratic handwriting style where label doesn't matter any more. 

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Just stamp the inside of the box in a few locations with your bow or bridge stamp. You can even secretly hide this between the linings and ribs, makes the whole label issue irrelevant. When I make furniture I insert my details with decorative string inlay using Morse code, its in plain sight but only visible to those who know what to look for. 

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17 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

Try it and report back.

I used rice glue to construct a StewMac kit violin about 6 years ago (I made the glue from sushi rice). The kit arrives with the rib garland assembly (including blocks and linings) already glued to the back. So I used rice glue to attach the bass bar to the top, the top to the ribs, the neck to the body, and to glue the fingerboard, saddle and nut. The ebony parts came loose within a short time. Everything else is holding up so far, including the  neck attachment (probably due to the astonishing strength of my dovetail joint!). A friend later suggested that treating the ebony parts with acetone might have improved the adherence.

 

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On 2/8/2020 at 9:32 AM, Michael_Molnar said:

OK, but why would I want to switch to rice glue?  How is it better than hide glue?

Mike,

You wouldn't want to switch completely because it isn't better or necessarily cheaper.  You might, however, use it on a gift instrument for a vegan friend or a commission for a rich vegan the likes of Sir Paul McCartney or Pamela Anderson.

Some luthiers  are highly allergic to (modern) beef proteins and have no choice to switch to hide glue alternatives. Fish glue or LMII Instrument Maker's glue could also work.

Animal issues aside, rice glue could be better than hide glue on an experimental build where you assemble, disassemble, and reassemble repeatedly.

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19 minutes ago, Randall The Restorer said:

Mike,

You wouldn't want to switch completely because it isn't better or necessarily cheaper.  You might, however, use it on a gift instrument for a vegan friend or a commission for a rich vegan the likes of Sir Paul McCartney or Pamela Anderson.

Some luthiers  are highly allergic to (modern) beef proteins and have no choice to switch to hide glue alternatives. Fish glue or LMII Instrument Maker's glue could also work.

Animal issues aside, rice glue could be better than hide glue on an experimental build where you assemble, disassemble, and reassemble repeatedly.

This sounds reasonable. Thanks.

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On 2/6/2020 at 6:32 AM, Andreas Preuss said:

I used recently wall paper glue to close a violin temporarily  and was somehow surprised how good it holds. Though not exactly rice glue it seems to be quite similar. However if the glue seam is under stress I don't think it will hold. 

But since I was thinking of appropriate uses for a weaker glue. 

1. Top nut 

2. Glue area of top and lower blocks to the top (and the rest of the rib garland with hot glue)

3. If the lower saddle is not too high it can be used there as well

4. And as mentioned by Stephen Faulk the label. However I was sometimes thinking that for the label just the opposite is better. 

Andreas,

Wallpaper glue/paste was traditionally called wheat paste. It's made with wheat flour and water. Modern types include preservatives and compounds to repel insects and and rodents; they vary in strength and working properties - just like hide glue.

All types of wheat contain gluten, which is a long chain protein - just like the collagen in hide glue. Barley and rye grain are high in gluten. Oats and corn/mais are low in gluten. Rice is gluten-free; rice glue is pure starch made with a "sticky" rice like sushi rice.  Potato starch is the choice in Ireland, Peru, Idaho and PEI (hee, hee).

You can vary the Bloom/gram strength of wheat glue by using different types of wheat flour with varying gluten content: cake flour has the least gluten, bread flour the most; isolated gluten powder is also available for fine tuning. Table salt  can be added as a preservative, but it should not be necessary as dried wood contains potent anti-microbial extractives. (Maple cutting boards are aseptic and antiseptic and have been proven to be safer than those made of plastic).  

According to exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum, ancient Egyptians used wheat glue and barley glue on furniture and laminated compound archery bows. (They also used white lead for make-up on their faces and thumbed their noses at a deity that could make it rain frogs, so maybe they weren't entirely smart.)

In the family printing and bindery business we used hide glue, fish glue and wheat glue for different applications.  That was 40 years ago but I remember that each glue was sticky, tough, durable, and easy to clean up with warm water and patience.  But that may be the volatile printing ink solvents talking.

If anyone is wondering, I learned most of the above while a housepainter and paperhanger and later at culinary school - it's all true. I stopped making things up back in my twenties, just before my wife of 29 years married me. 

Thanks for reading my words about glue. We have to stick together.

Sincerely,

Randy O'Malley, proud son of wheat and potato farmers, and fishermen

 

 

Edited by Randall The Restorer
add and remove incidental content

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On 2/7/2020 at 1:05 AM, Mampara said:

Just stamp the inside of the box in a few locations with your bow or bridge stamp. You can even secretly hide this between the linings and ribs, makes the whole label issue irrelevant. When I make furniture I insert my details with decorative string inlay using Morse code, its in plain sight but only visible to those who know what to look for. 

My guitar-making friend, Harold Dickert, signs and dates the underside of his guitar tops with a pencil and seals it with a thin coat of shellac.

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On 2/9/2020 at 1:02 AM, Michael_Molnar said:

OK, but why would I want to switch to rice glue?  How is it better than hide glue?

Because you can snack as you go or eat the leftovers! :) 

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13 hours ago, Randall The Restorer said:

Andreas,

Wallpaper glue/paste was traditionally called wheat paste. It's made with wheat flour and water. Modern types include preservatives and compounds to repel insects and and rodents; they vary in strength and working properties - just like hide glue.

All types of wheat contain gluten, which is a long chain protein - just like the collagen in hide glue. Barley and rye grain are high in gluten. Oats and corn/mais are low in gluten. Rice is gluten-free; rice glue is pure starch made with a "sticky" rice like sushi rice.  Potato starch is the choice in Ireland, Peru, Idaho and PEI (hee, hee).

You can vary the Bloom/gram strength of wheat glue by using different types of wheat flour with varying gluten content: cake flour has the least gluten, bread flour the most; isolated gluten powder is also available for fine tuning. Table salt  can be added as a preservative, but it should not be necessary as dried wood contains potent anti-microbial extractives. (Maple cutting boards are aseptic and antiseptic and have been proven to be safer than those made of plastic).  

According to exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum, ancient Egyptians used wheat glue and barley glue on furniture and laminated compound archery bows. (They also used white lead for make-up on their faces and thumbed their noses at a deity that could make it rain frogs, so maybe they weren't entirely smart.)

In the family printing and bindery business we used hide glue, fish glue and wheat glue for different applications.  That was 40 years ago but I remember that each glue was sticky, tough, durable, and easy to clean up with warm water and patience.  But that may be the volatile printing ink solvents talking.

If anyone is wondering, I learned most of the above while a housepainter and paperhanger and later at culinary school - it's all true. I stopped making things up back in my twenties, just before my wife of 29 years married me. 

Thanks for reading my words about glue. We have to stick together.

Sincerely,

Randy O'Malley, proud son of wheat and potato farmers, and fishermen

 

 

Well, i think Ingredients for wall paper glue depend on the manufacturer nowadays. I think mine was something with cellulose. 

I wouldn't say that gluten glue is as strong as hide glue. There is certainly a reason why hide glue is used for wooden joints and wheat starch (gluten) glue for wallpapers. 

Nevertheless, was interesting to read your summary. 

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