Wood Glue vs Hide Glue

Wood Glue Vs Hide Glue: Which Is Best For Your Woodworking Projects?

Woodworking projects require the use of strong and durable adhesives to ensure that the finished product can withstand various stresses and strains.

While there are several types of adhesives available in the market, wood glue and hide glue are two of the most commonly used for woodworking projects.

While wood glue is generally more suitable for a majority of woodworking tasks, certain situations call for the distinct benefits of hide glue. This includes projects requiring reversibility and clean finishes.

What is Wood Glue?

Wood glue is a synthetic adhesive made from polyvinyl acetate (PVA) resin and a hardener. PVA glue is colorless, odorless, and water-resistant. It is easy to use and dries quickly.

There are two main types of wood glue: yellow glue and white glue. Yellow glue is a stronger glue than white glue, but it is also more expensive. White glue is a good choice for projects that do not need to be as strong, such as bookbinding or model making.

Wood glue is a versatile adhesive that can be used for a variety of woodworking projects. It is a good choice for projects that will be exposed to moisture, such as outdoor furniture or cutting boards. Wood glue can also be used to repair damaged wood.

What is Hide Glue?

Hide glue is a protein-based adhesive made from animal hides. It is a traditional woodworking glue that has been used for centuries. Hide glue is reversible, meaning that it can be melted and reused. It is also water-soluble, making it a good choice for projects that will be exposed to moisture.

Hide glue is made by boiling animal hides, such as cowhides or horsehides. The collagen in the hides is broken down into a gelatinous substance. The gelatin is then dissolved in water and filtered to remove impurities. The resulting solution is hide glue.

Hide glue is typically sold in granules, flakes, or sheets. It is dissolved in hot water before use. The glue is applied to the surfaces to be glued and then clamped together. The glue will set as it cools.

You can also buy commercially available liquid hide glue products such as:

  • Titebond Hide Glue
  • Old Brown Glue

Read our comparison of Old Brown Glue vs Titebond Hide Glue.

How to Choose Between Wood Glue and Hide Glue

Each type of glue has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one for your project is crucial for achieving the desired results.

Advantages of Wood Glue

  • Stronger bond: Wood glue forms a stronger bond than hide glue, and the bond is so strong that the wood breaks before the glue bond.
  • Water resistant: Wood glue is water resistant, making it a good choice for projects that will be exposed to moisture.
  • Easy to find: Wood glue is widely available and easy to find at most hardware stores.
  • Cost-effective: Wood glue is relatively inexpensive, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • Fast-drying: Wood glue dries quickly, making it a good choice for projects that need to be completed quickly.

Advantages of Hide Glue

  • Reversible: Hide glue can be reversed with heat, making it a good choice for projects that may need to be disassembled in the future.
  • Tack-free: Hide glue has a tack-free period, which means that you can adjust the pieces of wood after applying the glue without the glue sticking to your fingers.
  • Traditional: Hide glue is a traditional woodworking glue that has been used for centuries.
  • Smooth finish: Hide glue dries to a smooth finish, making it a good choice for projects that will be visible.

Is Hide Glue Stronger than Wood Glue?

No, hide glue is not as strong as most wood glues. If you need strong bond strength, go with a wood glue. While hide glue is still relatively strong, it’s not as strong as wood glue.

Here is a table comparing the strength of hide glue and wood glue:

Hide glue2000 psi
Wood glue3000-5000 psi

As you can see, wood glue is typically stronger than hide glue. However, there are some factors that can affect the strength of the bond, such as the type of wood and the way the glue is applied.

Ultimately, the best glue for you will depend on your specific project and needs. If you need a strong, water-resistant glue that is easy to find and affordable, then wood glue is a good choice. If you need a glue that can be reversed with heat or if you want to use a traditional woodworking glue, then hide glue is a good option.

Types of Glues

Various types of glues are available for woodworking projects, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The most commonly used types of glue include wood glue, hide glue, super glue, and epoxy.

Wood glue is a versatile adhesive that is available in different types for indoor and outdoor use. It is popular among woodworkers due to its strong bonding strength and cost-effectiveness. Additionally, wood glue is easy to use and has a variety of application techniques, such as clamping, brushing, or spraying.

Hide glue, on the other hand, was the go-to adhesive for woodworking before wood glue was introduced. It has some advantages over wood glue, such as its ability to bond well with old hide glue and its ability to be reversed. However, it has several limitations, including its short assembly time, unpleasant smell, and lack of water resistance. Additionally, hide glue requires a heating routine for activation, and it cannot fill gaps like other types of glue.

Despite this, hide glue is still used for specific instances where reversibility and clear finishes are required.

Recommendations and Availability

One possible recommendation for selecting an appropriate adhesive for woodworking projects is to consider the specific bonding requirements and the potential environmental factors that the final product will encounter.

In terms of availability options, wood glues are widely used and can be found in almost any hardware or woodworking store. Trusted brands such as Titebond, Elmer’s, and Gorilla Glue offer a range of different types of wood glues that cater to various bonding needs.

Titebond Wood Glue, for instance, is highly recommended by woodworkers, carpenters, and hobbyists for its incredible water resistance, natural dry color, and good versatility. It is suitable for use on all kinds of hardwoods, softwoods, and wood composites, and has a clamping time of only 20-30 minutes, curing fully in 24 hours. Additionally, wood glues are cost-effective, non-toxic, and easy to use, sandable, paintable, stained, and used as a wood filler.

When considering trusted brands for hide glues, Old Brown Glue and Titebond Liquid Hide Glue are popular options, offering strong bonding and reversibility. Nonetheless, hide glues have some limitations, such as short assembly time, unpleasant smell, not being resistant to water, and no gap-filling ability.

Taking all these factors into consideration, it is evident that wood glue is the more practical option for most woodworking projects due to its bonding strength, availability, assembly time, water resistance, cost-effectiveness, and versatility.


In conclusion, both wood glue and hide glue offer unique advantages that make them suitable for different woodworking applications. While modern wood glue, often PVA or polyurethane-based, provides a robust, gap-filling bond and ease of use for most general woodworking tasks, hide glue shines in areas requiring reversibility, such as antique restoration or musical instrument crafting.

Your choice of wood glue vs hide glue should be guided by your specific project needs, acknowledging the strengths and limitations of each adhesive.

old brown glue vs titebond hide glue
Old Brown Glue Vs Titebond Hide Glue
Old Brown Glue Vs Titebond Hide Glue: How to Choose When it comes to woodworking, choosing the right glue can be crucial to the success and longevity of the project. With so many options out
what is hide glue
What is Hide Glue?
If you are a woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, you have probably heard of hide glue. This type of adhesive has been used for centuries, and it is still popular among professionals and hobbyists alike.

About the author

Jennifer is a stay-at-home Mom who loves everything DIY and crafting. She contributes to Just Use Glue in order to share her practical knowledge of how to glue all the things.

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