Hide glue was the only adhesive available for carpentries before wood glue came into the market. Most people today use wood glue for woodworking, but many also prefer hide glue. To make your decision, you may want to know the difference between hide glue vs wood glue.
Hide glue and wood glue use different components for production. Wood glue uses chemicals such as polyvinyl acetate and polyurethane, while hide glue uses animal hides. Although wood creates a stronger bond, hide glue is reversible, which makes it special.
Besides, they differ from each other in a lot of other ways. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between wood glue and hide glue to select the best one for your next woodworking project.
Hide glue is produced from collagen that is found in animal hides and bones. In the past, only meat packing and tanning companies used to make hide glues, but later it spread to the adhesive companies as well.
Hide glue is primarily used for wood repair works. It melts at high temperatures, but when it dries, it creates a strong bond. It does not have VOOC or unhealthy chemicals. That’s why it is quite popular today.
- It does not leave stains after drying.
- It can be cleaned even after a long time of application.
- It shrinks when dry.
- It creates a strong bond in old furniture.
- It is not waterproof.
Wood glues are chemical-based commercial adhesives. They use different types of chemical components such as polyvinyl acetate, polyurethane, epoxy, and more.
These glues are specifically made for woodworking projects and show excellent results too. Wood glues create a strong bond between different types of woods. They are durable too and quite affordable.
- It creates superior wood-to-wood bonds.
- It is mostly waterproof.
- It can be used for both interior and exterior.
- It has a decent gap-filling ability.
- It is not suitable if you need to disassemble the wood later.
Hide Glue vs Wood Glue: Quick Comparison Chart
|Features||Hide Glue||Wood Glue|
|Key components||Animal hides||PVA, Polyurethane, etc.|
1. Key components for adhesion
Who wins? Hide Glue for natural composites.
The main component of the hide glue is protein colloid made from animal connective tissues. Collagen from animal bones, skins, tendons, and other tissues is boiled to make the glue. There are no unhealthy effects of these components.
Most commercial wood glues are usually made with polyvinyl acetate (PVA). Some of them are also polyurethane. In general, these chemicals do not produce toxic fumes, but some of them are mixed with toxic chemicals for better adhesion. You need to be careful when buying wood glue and check the chemical components.
2. Stronger bond for wood
Who wins? Wood Glue creates the strongest bond between wood pieces.
If you are going to work on a wood project, you must look for an adhesive that creates a strong bond between wood pieces. Both of these glues can form a pretty strong bond.
But comparatively, wood glue creates stronger wood-to-wood bonds than hide glue. Wood glues are specifically made for wood applications; that’s why the PVA or Polyurethane adhesive works better on wooden surfaces.
3. Reversibility if you need to disassemble
Who wins? Hide Glue can be reversed with heat.
Wood glues are so strong that you can not separate the wood pieces without damaging them. But sometimes, you may need to separate them, or you may have mistakenly joined the wrong pieces.
You can reverse the hide glue with high heat. Hide glue starts to melt at a temperature of more than 70°C or 160°F. Rubbing with hot water is the easiest way to remove hide glue. But if it is inside a joint and not accessible, then you can steam the part. You will not get this benefit with the wood glue.
4. Water resistance for convenience application and durability
Who wins? Wood glues are waterproof.
Woods often get damp. If the wood is waterproof, then you can apply it on wet wood, and also it will last longer in a humid environment.
Wood glue has excellent waterproof ability. That means even if the wood is wet or damp due to the humid weather, it will work perfectly fine. It will also have higher durability, even if you use wood glue on the exterior. Hide glue is not waterproof and not suitable for exterior wood.
5. Availability for purchasing whenever you need it
Who wins? Wood glue is widely available.
Due to their popularity and affordability, wood glues are widely available. You can buy them in online stores or nearby stores. They also come in smaller packages for small works.
But the hide glue is not available like commercial wood glues. You can buy them online, but they are not available in all the stores. Plus, they mostly come in bottles. That means they are not cost-effective for smaller works.
6. Assembly time for the convenience of usage
Who wins? Wood Glue for longer assembly time.
Hide glue has a short assembly time. That means after opening the package, you will need to use the glue as soon as possible. Otherwise, the hide glue will get dry and become unusable.
Wood glues have a longer assembly time than hide glue. As a result, you can use the glue with more convenience. Working in a rush can always ruin the results, but wood glue stays effective for longer, and you don’t need to rush.
7. Better finishing for a beautiful appearance
Who wins? Hide Glue produces a cleaner finishing without any stains.
A good visual appearance is essential for all wooden furniture. Adhesives often leave stains on the wood, making them look horrible.
Here, hide glue stays ahead of wood glue with cleaner finishing. It has a transparent look after drying, while the wood glue has a slightly darker appearance.
I prefer using hide glue for my woodworking projects due to its transparent and clean finishing. Besides, it has reversibility that allows me to undo joints. Plus, the hide glue shrinks when it dries and does not have a creeping effect.
Wood glues are particularly made for woodworking and create a superior bond. Besides, they are pretty easy to use. Most importantly, wood glues are inexpensive and widely available. That’s why I mostly use wood glues for woodworking.
Top 2 Best Hide Glues In the Market
If you have decided to use hide glues, the following two are the best options available in the market:
1. Titebond Liquid Hide Glue
The Titebond Genuine Liquid Hide Glue is one of the best hide glues available in the market for woodworking. It has a good assembly time and is suitable for interior wood projects.
Titebond is quite popular for manufacturing wood adhesives, and this one is no different. It creates a strong bond between wood pieces. This is the best choice for repairing furniture and for crackling effects.
2. MusiCaravan Hot Hide Glue
Besides Titebond, there is not much good quality hide glue available on the market, but you can try the MusiCaravan Hot Hide Glue for Instrument Making and Fine Cabinet Work.
It comes in a powdered form. You need to mix the hide glue powder with water to use it. The glue works well for repairing instruments and other smaller works.
Top 2 Best Wood Glues you can use
Unlike hide glue, wood glues are widely available, and too many brands produce them. The top 2 best wood glues available in the market are:
1. Gorilla Wood Glue
The Gorilla Wood Glue is undoubtedly one of the best wood glues available today. The popularity of this adhesive has skyrocketed recently due to its ability to create stronger bonds and low prices.
It’s PVA-based wood glue. The wood has a natural light wood color after drying, which is good for visual appearance. Whether you are working on small DIY projects or large construction work, Gorilla Wood Glue is a perfect choice.
2. Elmer’s Products E7050LMR Carpenter’s Wood Glue
The Elmer’s Products Carpenters Wood Glue is one of the best wood glues for heavy-duty woodworking. It creates a super-strong wood-to-wood bond, making it the first choice for large construction works.
It is also a PVA-based wood glue. The glue works fine with all types of wood and also is non-toxic. It only takes 20 to 30 minutes to clamp. Overall, Elmer’s Wood Glue is the best choice for heavy-duty woodworking projects.
1. Is hide glue stronger than wood?
Hide glue is quite stronger than the wood itself, and it is tough to break the hide glue joints after application. You may even end up damaging the woods. The only way to efficiently break the connection is to use heat.
2. Does hide glue fill gaps?
Hide glues are good for woodworking but not efficient at filling gaps. If you are working with porous wood and need to seal gaps, PVA-based and epoxy wood glues will be a better choice.
3. How long does hide glue last?
Hide glues have an average shelf life of 12 months. Only a few companies manufacture hide glues that last up to 18 months. However, wood glues have a better shelf of more than 2 years.
Both the hide glue and the wood glue are suitable for woodworking projects. After comparing the glues, you can see that wood glues are slightly ahead of the hide glue.
I also prefer to use wood glue most of the time for my woodwork. But if you have a plan to disassemble the wooden parts in the future, I will recommend you use hide glue.