Making Hide Glue – Survival Skills

For over 5000 years people have been using animal hides to make glue. Until the invention of synthetic glues, animal hide glue was the most common type of glue used in woodworking.

Making Hide Glue

Making Hide Glue

  1. Scrape, sand or cut your animal hide into small pieces or shavings. (The closer to powder you can make it, the easier it will be to work with)
  2. Boil a pot of water
  3. Gently cook until the mixture thickens. You will have to replace the water as it evaporates. (this process will take forever, some people cook it for days at a low heat)
  4. Strain the mixture with an old T-shirt or cheese cloth.
  5. The mixture can be used as is, or Dried for storage.

Making hide glueHow to Store Hide glue

  1. Pour the mixture into a metal cake pan or metal sheet. (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick)
  2. When the mixture dries to a gelatin consistency, cut it into 1 inch square chucks.
  3. Let the mixture set for another week.
  4. Pop the squares out of the pan.
  5. With a thick needle, run some string through the squares and hang dry for at least another week.
  6. Store in a waterproof container. ( If kept dry the dried squares can be stored forever.)

Using Dry Hide Glue

To use the glue, take your dried chucks and dissolve them in a small amount of hot water. Let it heat up into a syrup, and then apply the mixture warm. Clamp your wood together and let it set. You’re now good to go.

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  1. In making hide glue, what measures should be made in order to improve the strenght of the product?

    • Mostly the strenght depends on the amount of water you use when re-heating the glue, the smoothness and fit of the surfaces you wish to glue, and whether or not you heat those surfaces before applying the glue. Put the glue in a jar and use as much water as you use glue. Just eyeball it. Preferably let the glue soak up the water overnight before heating it. Heat it to about 70 degrees celcius, any hotter and the glue will lose strenght, any colder and it will not liquify properly. Heat the surface you wish to glue, apply the glue, clamp and remove excess glue.

  2. Dear sir,
    I would like to convert the Animal glue pwder in saft square jelly cake ,

    let us know if you can guide that how to add the other thing to make it and with what ?

  3. 1.How to find the grade of the Animal Glue Powder at home without bloom gelometer.
    2.How to avoid the bad smell while makinging animal glue .
    3.80 jelly strength Animal glue powder is used by which industries

  4. Currently I am making moccasins, and soon I will be needing to construct a sole. I found your topic on Pinterest and after reading, I’m curious would I be able to use it for a sole? Or would this not be advisable?
    Thank you, A

    • @jday
      No, hide glue must be made from raw hide, not tanned leather. The tanning process removes most of the colloidal substances which become your glue.

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