Hot Hide Glue Headache
by John A. Tuttle (070315 MMDigest)

Hi All,  I wonder if the people who get headaches while using hot hide glue ever considered that it might be the quality of the product they are using?

Back in the 1970's when I worked at Tusting Piano in Asbury Park, New Jersey, we used a hide glue that smelled so bad that the owner of the store would only let us use it in the early morning and in the late afternoon, when it was unlikely that any customers would be coming into the store.

Also, we had to keep the front and back doors open when using the glue so it didn't stink up the place all day, or leave behind "that dead animal smell".  Since I never got a headache, but hated the smell, I used cold hide glue for many years before I got "edumacated".

Most of you know that I sell a Premium Hide Glue at Player-Care.  It's not inexpensive, but it is the highest quality available!  And, at this point, I'll let Craig Brougher (who formulated the glue) say a few words.  (Craig wrote to me this morning after reading more of the postings about people getting headaches while using hot hide glue.)

  "Well, I see the attack on hide glue continues.  Now it's the smell.  They don't know anything, apparently.

  "There's many grades of hide glue, all the way up to Knox gelatin.  Does gelatin give them a headache, too?  No?  Well, maybe that's because it has been fully rendered.  Since there are many grades of hide glue, the cheapest is the darkest, generally speaking.  So there are fractions in different grades of hide glue that could conceivably react in the sinus passages.  But were they to get the blonde grade of high quality hide glue crystals and start with that, then their reactions would probably stop.  You sell it, you know.

  "If not, why not suggest he switch to bottled hide glue, or a different hide glue supplier?  The fear that hide glue stinks and can cause illnesses will force new rebuilders to never get involved with hide glue to begin with.  They will be making a huge mistake."

So, in an effort to help educate those who might not know the difference, I've taken a picture of what good quality hide glue crystals look like. For reference sake, the stainless steel measuring cup in the picture is one cup in size.  The glue comes in a 55-pound drum.

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA
15 Mar 2007 11:16:37 -0400

tuttle_glue00a.jpg (60 kb)

tuttle_glue04a.jpg (57 kb)

15 March 2007