What's the Best Way to Break a Hide Glue Joint?
Issue: Issue 296
Posted Date: 3/6/2012
How do you get
a partially separated hide glued joint apart in an old (80 years) oak
top so it can be re-glued? I have tried water, paint thinner and
rubbing alcohol. - Britt Hall
Tim Inman: The two best enemies
of hide glue are heat and moisture. Use them to your advantage. I
usually prefer steam when I'm needing to release a tightly bound hide
glue joint, assuming there is a reason justifying the release.
Alcohol can work, too. I prefer steam. But, probably the reason that oak top
is only "partially separated" is that the wood has shrunk
and changed over the years, pulling apart the ends. In that event, I
would recommend you consider either filling the open end with an
appropriate material, or recutting the joint so it fits right again.
"Why did this glue fail?" is a question we must always ask
and answer in good restoration work.
Chris Marshall: If you do cut
the joint apart, I'd also give the wood a few days rest in the shop
-- especially if the split glue joint is only a board or two from the
edge. If there's any tension in the offcut piece, it might distort a
little more. Then joint the mating edges flat before re-gluing, just as though you are making a new butt joint. I'd go with hide glue again for making
the repair joint -- after all, it's lasted this long!