Primitive Crafts and Traditional Weaponry
Using Natural Animal Hide Glue for primitive
Always use a premium quality Natural
Animal Hide Glue formulated to be water soluble and usable at
different thicknesses. This type of hide glue is available in our
Hafting, and Pigments product category.
Prepare a double boiler or pan that is clean and
can take some heat.
Mix approximately 50% by volume glue and water.
Allow the glue to absorb the water completely.
Apply heat to thoroughly dissolve and liquefy the
mixture. Add more water as needed to bring the glue to the proper
consistency. Most people tend to try to use a glue mixture that is
too thick. If you add too much water, you can either add more glue
or cook the extra water out of the mix. It is fairly easy to get
the consistency of the glue correct for your project with some
Be sure to not scorch or boil the glue
mix, as this can hurt the properties of the glue and cause
Keep the work piece clean and free of excess glue
by careful application and quickly wiping spills with a wet cloth
if you have a free hand. Very warm water cleans up glue overruns
easier than room temperature water.
Cement in a blade or point by coating the two
pieces being attached liberally with a warm thick glue mixture.
Place the point/blade in the groove of the shaft/handle, and be
sure that it is exactly where you want it. Hold for a minute or
two to allow the hide glue to cool and begin to set. Excess glue
can be removed after the piece has set long enough to stay in
To haft (wrap) a project after the blade is
attached, moisten hafting, sinew or rawhide first with water then
with a thin glue mix and squeeze out any excess before wrapping
Hide glue is liquid when hot or very warm and will
gel or thicken if allowed to become cold. Do not hesitate to add
more water or change the temperature of the glue to make it more
usable. After the final application layer, use a warm, wet finger
to smooth the surface of the glue and even out lumps or thin
spots. A toothbrush wet with warm water will allow you to clean
your work piece.
If you are wanting an antique look, throw some dry
dust onto the moist surface of the hide glue as it dries.
Set piece aside and allow 24-48 hours for glue to
dry completely before waxing or using.
Natural hide glue will become sticky if exposed to
excessive moisture, but must be soaked for hours before it will
soften enough to lose its grip. Paste wax is recommended for all
applications that will see use. To antique use a dirty or
pigmented paste wax.
Hide glue can potentially be sanded smooth after
drying, but pains should be taken to do the best job possible
during the wet stages.
Natural hide glue is compatible with natural
sinews, gut hafting material, rawhide and leather. It will adhere
to these materials and make a very strong, fiber reinforced bond.
It is not compatible with waxed artificial sinew, nylon or other
plastic or water resistant materials.
To make your hide glue look less refined you can
add ochre pigments or a little dry dust. A touch of dull yellow
and black iron oxide will make a nice brownish green that matches
burned wood, the patina on some stones, and patinaed bone handle
Copyright 2015 Elliot Collins