StewMac fish glue, is it any good?

Hi! I’m thinking about making my first ever horn bow. While I was researching available materials I came across this StewMac fish glue (one used by musical instrument makers). Has anybody here tried that? Is it usable? If it is usable, how do you control its viscosity?

Here’s the link to it:

It is liquid glue, so it includes some kind of additives, like preservatives. I recommend using just bomb proof, tried glues, like dry (in granule form) and pure hide glue. You can find it from many woodworking stores. Just google “hide glue”.

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And dry hide glue seems to be much cheaper for the same amount too!

Yes. You can make a bow with only hide glue. Works just fine.

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If you have some fish bladder glue in addition to the hide glue, you can use it to control viscosity.

In my opinion, with fish bladder glue you can control glue properties like open time, elasticity and maybe even strength in certain conditions. But viscosity is just glue type independent feature of fluid. Animal based glues are water-soluble, so you can control the viscosity with adding or removing water, thus controlling concentration of the glue. Of course, temperature is also important parameter for viscosity of glue solution.

But, I would not mess up fish bladder glue in the first bow. It is expensive, you really do not know what you are doing (lacking experience), advantages are minimal (if there are any…), and so on. Hide glue works just fine if you do everything right (prerequisite for any kind of glue…).

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You’re right Tuomo, I would not recommend mixing fish bladder and hide glue until the builder has plenty of experience with hide glue.

I used fishbladder blendet with hideglue glue i my first bow to give me more time with the horns. And i raised temperature in the workshop. The difference is recognizable. But yes, price is high.