I’ve done an extensive article on this glue and there’s no need for me to repeat it again. Last night I was gluing up some very thin panels for another project, it’s 1/8″ thick, as always I use hot hide glue but I wasn’t paying attention and over cooked it which ended up in the bin immediately. So instead of making another batch I heated up OBG in hot water, clamped it and left it to dry. I left it for a couple of days as I had other projects to attend to. What shocked me was that the glue broke along the glue line, the glue is coming to the end of its shelf life it will expire in two months time. However, to me that means nothing because I always go by smell. You’ll know when your glue is ready for the bin. This has only happened to me once before but anyhow I thought I’d give fish glue another final trial run and reglued the two panels. It hasn’t been 24 hours clamp time that you normally would do with this type of glue and its rock solid, I must be a weakling because I cannot literally break the panel apart. It’s only an 1/8″ thick just tad over 3mm and I cannot break it apart, now that’s impressive. What I also love is how it’s light in colour which makes it possible to make a seamless edge join.
I’m sold, I just placed an order from Lee Valley for a 500ml bottle but what gets me is how bloody picky we are. We know that the best fish glue comes from Sturgeon and this fish is almost extinct which is why they’ve banned fishing it. There are some places that do sell fish glue made from Sturgeon, maybe it’s banned to the rest of the world except the Russians I don’t know but I do know it cost $500 for the flakes. Lee Valley fish glue is made from cod, this is a lower quality type of fish glue but it more than does the job, it really does. They say it has a shelf life of two years but that’s crock, fish glue can last for many, many years as long as it’s kept either in a fridge or even more convenient as there’s no wife to jump down your throat for using her fridge to store your glue, if you keep it in a cool dark non damp spot like your drawer in your cabinet or keep it in your cabinet. Remember I’ve had this small bottle for over 5 years kept in a drawer and it still hasn’t gone off. So there it is in a nutshell and should be great news for all those instrument makers who’ve had nothing but trouble with their fish glue. We don’t need the best of the best, why pay for more when you can pay less for something that works really well. If I can’t break it then somebody explain to me why I need to pay $500 for something else I can’t break either. Fish glue works.! Give it a try and you’ll never look back.
Btw I’ll never replace my hot hide because it spreads easy, fish glue is thick and you can thin it down but I don’t. I love hot hide and I love fish glue and I will definitely be using fish glue for dovetails and more often for other types of joinery. I’m so torn between the two. I love them both equally.