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Hide glue alternative recipe with deer antler

Marcus Ekengren

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So I decided to make violins last year because I really wanted one and while making it I didn't want to use hide glue so I tried for months to make glue from other non animal products.

Till one day it just pop in my mind that maybe boiling antlers from deer could work.

I found written information that it works to produce glue, so I decided to try it out. 

I bought some cut antlers at a pet store being sold as a dog treat and I boiled them up for around five hours. I sieved the mixture and reduced it down. I poured it out into a tray to cool and be cut, once semi gel dry. 

I dried them up in front of a small fan and collected them in a jar.

I tested it out on two pieces of wood and it broke the wood before the glue and I can't pry whats left of it off with my hands. 

As far as strength goes it seems good but my question is has anyone tried this out on a violin?

I never made glue before and I've never used glue made from animals so I'm not qualified to make any assessments.

I just thought if it works it could make my art project more charming when someone asks about it.

Pictures below are the final product and the antlers in the pot before boiling.



IMG_20200608_213403 (1).jpg

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Congratulations! You discovered bone glue. It's basicly the same thing as hide glue (colagen) but prepared from bones (antlers are pretty much external bones of the animal). The temperature and length of cook will determine molecular lenght of the product and thus the "gram strength". I would try not exceed 60°C or so for best result.

You can read here about glue production... https://www.toolemera.com/bkpdf/KeystoneGlueHandbookSecured.pdf

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Dear HoGo, thank you so much for the links, I really like the older books and will be adding these to my collection. I was trying to come up with a way of avoiding having a audience member be offended by the use of hide glue in the violin which to quite a few conjure a image of a sad horse. If I get to say, no its made with antlers that fall off naturally, I think it could help.

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In the larger sense, this is within the traditions.  From ancient times, hide type animal protein glues were made by boiling a gel from either bone or skin.  I think your antler glue is essentially a bone glue.

Some glues were known to be more brittle, or more flexible, or stronger, or tougher etc.  Cennini for example goes into differences between fishbone glue, glue from scraps of used parchment, and a few others.  Today, we distinguish rabbit glue as more flexible and therefore fit for sizing canvasses. Etc.

I'm not sure how much of the old knowledge of how protein glues from various differed and were most suit for particular.  The dominance of our common modern version of 'hide glue' is very like a matter of what emerged as most economic during industrialization.

Some have suggested that the old Cremona makers might have used some other glue like casein based on observations that the original undisturbed joins are very difficult to open.  But another possibility would be some special bone/hide type glue.

These sorts of details I don't believe anyone knows.


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