Animal protein glues (often referred to as “hide glues” or HHG for hot hide glue) have been used for thousands of years. In fact, these glues were the original “super glues,” offering historic people a valuable way of bonding materials. Today, these glues have mostly been replaced by synthetic glues, but for all of the world’s modern advances, there still remain many valuable uses for animal glues including antique restorations, furniture construction, marquetry, and luthierie (guitar, violin & other instrument making). Unlike many newer glues, protein glues are reversible, a characteristic that allows artisans to disassemble and repair parts more easily. Because it tacks fast as it cools, it is useful in clamp-less processes like hammer veneering. And there are other benefits too.

Some modern day artisans favor protein glues for virtually all their work. One of these devotees is California-based furniture conservator Patrick Edwards, an accomplished furniture maker, woodworking historian, and hand-tool expert. Patrick almost exclusively uses animal glues in his colorful urban shop, where a rusty old hot glue-pot is always at the ready. In this video, Patrick shares his 40-some years of experience working wood with animal glues. We learn why he uses animal glues; how he selects from the many types of hide, bone, fish, and rabbit skin glues currently available; and how he mixes and heats the product. Patrick explains the meaning of gram strength, why it matters, and how to purchase the right gram strength glue for your application (He says that for general woodworking, you should use a hide glue with a 192 gram strength). Frankly, it’s not hard to be amazed by the refined characteristics of this non- toxic glue. It’s all here in this lively tutorial. One of the most insightful discussions on selecting and cooking natural glues I’ve ever heard. (9.5 Minute Woodworking Video)

Patrick Edwards is President of Antique Refinishers, Inc. which offers restoration, conservation and reproduction of pre-industrial American and European furniture for dealers, private collectors, and institutions. Mr. Edward also owns and instructs at the American School of French Marquetry, Inc. Both business are based on San Diego, California. Mr. Edwards has also formulated a slow-set, ready-to-use liquid hide glue. which he produces and sells under the brand name “Old Brown Glue”.

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At a simple level, veneering is the process of applying thin layers of decorative wood over less expensive structural materials. There are many ways to do this, but some of the most refined techniques were developed centuries ago by 17th and 18th century furniture makers who perfected the technique we now call “hammer veneering.” As we learn here, a few modern-day artisans still prefer this time-honored technique to create the highest quality work. One of those practitioners is San Diego-based furniture conservator Patrick Edwards, an accomplished furniture maker, woodworking historian, and hand-tool expert.

In this video, without the benefit of powered vacuum presses or perfectly flat plywood substrates, Patrick reveals an entire hammer veneering process. You’ll learn step-by-step how to “tooth” or make perfectly flat the substrate wood, how to glue down simple veneers using a veneer hammer & animal protein glues, how to create an exquisitely tight veneered joint, how to insert decorative inlays, and how best to prepare the project for final finishing. Patrick has made a career out of preserving the extraordinary skills of the old masters and in so doing he’s become a modern master himself. Patrick is a fantastic teacher and woodworking scholar and I’m confident you’ll enjoy this very special WoodTreks video adventure. (13 Minute Woodworking Video)

Patrick Edwards is President of Antique Refinishers, Inc. which offers restoration, conservation and reproduction of pre-industrial American and European furniture for dealers, private collectors, and institutions. Mr. Edward also owns and instructs at the American School of French Marquetry, Inc. Both business are based on San Diego, California.

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Whether it’s a circular veneered table apron, a contemporary laminated chair back, or a flowing architectural column, if it’s a curve made with wood it’s most likely created using a process called bent wood lamination. One of the most common ways of pressing and clamping these laminations is to use a vacuum bag system.

In this video, the journeyman cabinetmakers at the Robert Treate Hogg Cabinetmakers give us a complete introduction to this versatile and useful technique. It’s a process they use almost daily. RT Hogg’s president, Michael Hoffmeier describes their method, which centers on the use of specialty 3/8th inch flexible plywood. This remarkable material (also known as wacky wood or bending plywood) can be easily formed into tight curves allowing the artisan almost unlimited design possibilities. First, the core is glued-up, vacuum pressed, and dried. And then the finished veneer is applied. With experience the process is efficient and highly controllable. In this video, learn about proper glue selection, flexible ply construction tips and tricks, vacuum bagging and veneering skills. — Keith (9 Minute Woodworking Video)

Robert Treate Hogg Cabinetmakers (pronounced “Hoge”) hand-make commissioned, limited production furniture, architectural cabinets and fixtures. Originally founded in 1936, Hogg specializes in high-end audio-visual lecterns and podiums for higher education. They are based in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

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