Romanillos and the Three Glues

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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DenisJ_III
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Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by DenisJ_III » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:02 pm

There is a brief video extract where Jose Romanillos (in his later years) talks about using HHG, fish glue and Titebond when making guitars. Apart from saying that the soundboard is entirely constructed using HHG, there is no reference as to which glue he preferred for which purpose, or why.

Maybe someone who attended one of his courses knows?

Failing that, any informed speculation (no doubt leading to argument) would be appreciated. :wink:

Denis

John higgon
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by John higgon » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:13 pm

On the three courses I attended we used fish glue throughout, IIRC. However, I remember discussing Titebond, which I use quite a lot, and Jose's view was that it gave good results. I don't recall his exact words but the gist was that in terms of acoustics there was little difference between HHG, fish glue and Titebond. That's my recollection of the conversation, anyway.

vesa
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by vesa » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:03 pm

In Cournall book (p.129) Romanillos says:
¨I use different glues for different parts of the guitar - Cascamite for attaching fingerboard and the bridge;
I use Titebond to glue the bindings and the back. But all the strutting and bars inside are done with animal glue.
¨
This is from an interwiew in september 1991.
His way of thinking seems very little dogmatic and he has build many guitars
after the interwiew was done so maybe he has used other glues too since then.
Vesa Kuokkanen

Antonio Marin nr. 813 1995 (Bouchet)
Vesa Kuokkanen 2016

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DenisJ_III
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by DenisJ_III » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:16 pm

John, Vesa,
Thanks for the responses - it sounds as though his approach is not too rigid when it comes to glues.
I suppose what intrigues me is why someone who is obviously extremely competent and experienced in using HHG, a glue which has served us well for 2000 years +, should consider it worthwhile to switch to a different glue for part of the process.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:39 pm

There is no need. Hide glue is perfectly fine for gluing the bridge, as evidenced by all those lutes where the bridge has very little footprint. Romanillos learned in the late '60's & '70's when guitar makers were going around telling everyone what terribly weak glue that hide was and the superiority of PVA. Most of them have since changed their mind. The evidence was always there, they just chose to ignore it.
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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by Waddy Thomson » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:06 pm

Not only that, but Titebond is a repair nightmare! Will not stick to itself, and is hard to remove the dried glue. I can't imagine why anything but hide would be used for gluing a bridge, which is easy to set up, place and clamp pretty fast. The back is a different situation. I generally use Fish glue for that, but there are ways to use hide for that too. It's a matter of speed and/or technique. I know one builder that just puts on a good coat of hide glue, places the back on, then goes around the back with an iron as he clamps it down. I haven't tried it, but is sounds logical to me. He has built a couple of hundred guitars that way.
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DenisJ_III
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by DenisJ_III » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:18 pm

Michael, Waddy,

Thanks for the reassurance.

Like most beginners I've been using Titebond so far. I find the idea of hide glue appealing for the longevity / repairability / reversibility reasons that are normally stated. The implication that it might not be the best choice for all operations in a guitar build was slightly off-putting.
It also seemed quite counter-intuitive, given that most early instruments will have used animal glues throughout!

I guess that I now have my New Year's resolution; build the next guitar with hide glue. (After a bit of practice, of course).

Denis

simonm
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by simonm » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:31 pm

Read Frank Fords pages first.

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier ... eglue.html
http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier ... glue1.html

Follow the main links on each page. This is the bible. Well, as close as you can get to a bible for anything in instrument making.

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DenisJ_III
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by DenisJ_III » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:52 am

Thanks Simon - good stuff on those pages.

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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by Waddy Thomson » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:30 pm

Hide glue should not be off-putting. It is easier to use than most glues. When you hold items in place, they stick, and stay there. It has a very quick tack, unlike Titebond and other PVA glues that act much like lubrication in a joint when you are trying to place clamps. The only thing that is inconvenient is learning to deal with keeping it fresh and not over making batches. There are many ways to get around that. If you keep your workplace warm - 70^ + ramge, you have about 90 seconds of work time. It's really a pretty long time when you count it out. You can do a lot of stuff in 90 seconds. A little practice on difficult glue ups is a good idea. Develop a fixed routine.
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SteveL123
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by SteveL123 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:04 pm

simonm wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:31 pm
Read Frank Fords pages first.

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier ... eglue.html
http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier ... glue1.html

Follow the main links on each page. This is the bible. Well, as close as you can get to a bible for anything in instrument making.
Frank Ford's pages are a treasure trove of info. I was going to ask about shelf life of dried hide glue granules since I have about 350 grams of it which I bought around 1988 from LMI, along with a classical guitar kit from Constantines, a wood supplier in Bronx NY which is no longer in business....... all untouched.

I found the answer in one of the above links:

" hide glue has an unlimited shelf life if protected from moisture."

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Michael.N.
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:32 pm

Around a year back I was given a small tin of hide/bone glue. Came from the engineering workshop of a friends father who had passed away. My friend seemed to think that it must have been bought in the late 1950's when his father was doing a bit of marquetry. There wasn't much of the dried glue left but out of curiosity I tried it on a few off cuts of wood. Of course it performed perfectly well in the few tests that I gave it. The only difference I noticed was that it had a sweet smell, almost aromatic. Can't say I've ever come across an animal glue that had that type of smell and I've been using the stuff for a few decades.
Historicalguitars.

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by geoff-bristol » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:18 am

The three main types I have used are Scotch ( pearl - cheap old fashioned woodwork glue pre pva ) - rabbit skin - when I first started violin making in the 80's ( I still have some from Syndey Evans Birmingham ) - and hide later on, which I use exclusively now.
Scotch was considered brittle but favoured by some makers for that very quality. It also seem to have a longer open time. Rabbit skin has a very quick grab time and is very flexible. Its used for those reasons in gesso and bookbinding ) That sold for gesso though is usually terrible quality and stinks !
Hide is the middle option - and usually comes form a professional sources and is good quality.

I use titebond for back and top joints as it suits better the way I joint them. Everything else is hide, I sometimes do an ebony head veneer with titebond as it warps less - but hide glues ebony better then titebond i feel.
Its not written in stone - I use what I am used to and like working with.
However - I do not like to rely on proprietory products. Which is why I like fench polish and make my own oil varnish.

What happen if Titebond original suddenly gets the chop - it happens, its a very small market - in a fast changing world !

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Michael.N.
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:30 am

Your Scotch/pearl glue almost certainly has a lower gram strength which is why the open time is longer. I often mix it with hide to obtain a gram strength that is somewhere between the two.
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jerry farrell
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Re: Romanillos and the Three Glues

Post by jerry farrell » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:46 pm

It's too bad that Jose Romanillos is not on this forum... I think he used Hide glue to join the top and back together because the glue line will not show under French polish.

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