Hide glue

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A strong, liquid adhesive consisting primarily of Gelatin and other protein residues of Collagen, Keratin, or Elastin. Hide glue has been made from ancient times from skins of animals (goats, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, etc.). These agglutinating materials are hydrolyzed and broken down in boiling water; the cooled solution yields a jelly-like substance which is gelatin or glue. The water soluble glue occurs in a wide variety of forms and colors ranging from transparent to opaque and white to brown. Top-quality hide glues are made from rabbitskin and parchment clippings. Hide glues are used in the manufacture of furniture, book binding, abrasive papers, gummed paper and matches. They has also been used in gilding applications, for sizing canvas, for making gesso, for repairing broken china, and as consolidants.

Synonyms and Related Terms

scotch glue (UK); colle de peau (Fr.); grude (Port.); cola de pieles (Esp.); colla animale (It); colla di pelli (It); animal glue; skin glue; nikawa

Physical and Chemical Properties

pH usually 6.5 to 7.5.

Resources and Citations

  • J.Hubbard, "Animal Glues" in Handbook of Adhesives, I.Skeist (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1977, p.139-151.
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 369
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Conservation Support Systems, Catalog, 1997