you consider some of woodworking's modern conveniences -- things like
blade brakes, CNC machines, Lithium-ion batteries, carbide cutters
-- glue probably doesn't come to mind. But glue has come a long, long
way. Back in mid 1930s, there was hide glue and, well, not much else.
In order to use it, you had to heat up the dry glue pellets, wait for
them to melt, mix it and then cool it before a glue-up was even
possible. And then, considering its extremely short shelf life,
anything left at the end of the day needed to be tossed and the glue
pot cleaned out.
having to do that now. Just preparing a batch of glue could kill an
hour of a Saturday afternoon, if not more.
If you're still inclined to use hide glue these days, you can pop open a
squeeze bottle in a few seconds, and that classic brown glue is ready
to go. For that, you can thank Franklin International, makers of the
Titebond® family of woodworking adhesives, including Liquid Hide Glue. The company was first to introduce hide glue in a one-part,
ready-to-use formula in 1935. That product was a revolution in
woodworking glue, and it was the first in a long line of convenient
adhesives available to us today from the same source.
founders, Langdon T. and Mildred B. Williams, had a real passion for
innovation," says Nick Ford, Franklin's vice president for
business and technical support. "At that time, furniture makers
had to guess how much hide glue they were going to need for the day.
The process for making it was slow, and the waste factor was awful
... The Williams saw the bigger picture and invented a product that
was quickly embraced by woodworkers as a better way to assemble
furniture. By no longer having to heat, mix, cool and then clean up
the glue, Franklin significantly improved the efficiency of project
first no-mix hide glue formulation is actually the same one the company still
uses today, and Ford says many wooden instrument makers and furniture
restoration specialists wouldn't be without it.
next major breakthrough came shortly after World War II. There was a
push in woodworking circles to use white polyvinyl acetate (PVA)
glues that were successful in the packaging industry. The trouble
was, the glue had poor heat resistance. Sanding that PVA glue would
cause it to melt and gum up the abrasives. Furniture assembled with
PVA and left in direct sunlight could literally fall apart in the
heat, Ford says.
woodworking needed a better general adhesive, and Franklin's solution
was the aliphatic resin-based Titebond Original, "which offered
significantly better heat-resistance and also demonstrated an
outstanding initial tack. The application of aliphatic resin as a
wood glue was innovative. It was a first-to-market situation for
Franklin. Titebond Original's yellow color also made it easy to
distinguish from other white glues."
that time, Franklin has ushered in various other Titebond products
that, to one degree or another, have "broken the mold" for
woodworking. Titebond II Premium and III Ultimate adhesives provide
increased levels of water resistance, with Titebond III being the
first woodworking glue to pass the ANSI Type 1 standard for
water-resistance; it is waterproof. Three variations of Titebond II
include a brown formulation for dark woods, one that fluoresces to
make glue lines visible under black light and a slower set-time
Extend option. The company's HiPURformer glues offer the durability
and versatility of polyurethane in a cartridge hot-melt gun
dispenser. There are also Franklin Instant Bond cyanoacrylates in
four viscosities for a range of different project applications.
Recently, two new glues have been added to the Titebond family as
well: a No-Run, No-Drip thixotropic blend for installing molding and
trim, and Titebond Translucent, which Franklin says provides "a
virtually invisible glue line." There are also Titebond
adhesives for melamine and cold-press work, plus other applications
for professional cabinetmakers.
explains that Franklin's extensive product line and corporate culture
embrace the Williams's original commitment to innovation and product
leadership (now third-generation members of the Williams family) has
structured the company to succeed in both short- and long-term
research and development goals ... Back in the 1990s, we launched a
Core Technologies Laboratory staffed by a team of chemists and
technical specialists that are totally invested in future product
development. They're working on a long-term timeframe of 5, 10 and 20
years, as opposed to 18 or 24 months."
says that Franklin also takes education very seriously. The company
spends about 25 percent of its annual advertising budget on awareness
and education. Those monies are allocated in many different ways,
from updated product literature and instructional videos on YouTube
to focus groups, trade show booths and support of woodworking
schools, such as Marc Adams School of Woodworking. "We are a
current sponsor of Tommy Mac's 'Rough Cut Woodworking' show, because
we believe it appeals to younger woodworkers who are just learning
also staffs a technical service product hotline during regular
business hours. Ford affirms their efforts. "We take great pride in our five
technical specialists that answer end-user phone calls. We have
resisted the urge to use a menu-driven phone system. If you call
between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST with a question about our products, you
will speak with a human being. They are coached to answer your
questions and suggest the best adhesive to meet your needs even if
that means it is something outside of our product line. That's really critical to our corporate vision."
feedback, which channels back to Franklin International's Columbus,
Ohio, headquarters, does have impact. For instance, the new Titebond
Translucent Wood Glue was invented in response to a survey of
woodworking students that wanted more invisible glue lines. Franklin
hopes the new glue will help both amateur and professional
woodworkers achieve better results. It's nontoxic, so a safe glue for
introducing children to woodworking.
Ultimately Franklin's mission has remained the same since that
first game-changing no-mix hide glue back in 1935. "We want to
be the most trusted adhesion company in the world. But equally
important, we are committed to the success of your woodworking