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Hide glue not bonding

  • 1.  Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 09:49
    Hello, all.

    I need some help to figure out why hide glue is not adhering to the balance
    rail mortises on a 2011 Hamburg Steinway D.

    Hide glue was used but did not hold. This was found when the keys were put back on the keyframe.
    Many fell out.

    This piano is in heavy use, and I think the previous tech over-eased the bushings to compound
    the sloppy key problem.

    Thinking the jar used to prepare the glue might have been contaminated by Teflon bushings that
    had been in it (yes, I did wash it out) having left some residue that may have been stubborn, that
    vessel was discarded, and a new jar was used. Glue prepared in it for a second set also did not
    hold and the bushings were able to be pulled out dry by simply using fingers or tweezers.

    The set I installed which failed was removed with steam only (which was probably mostly unnecessary),
    with no wallpaper remover, although I had to use that to remove the original factory bushing cloth.

    The ground hide glue was in an unopened bag from one of the parts houses. It looks like a bag Pianotek uses,
    but nothing was written on it. Purified water was used (not distilled).

    I have already spoken to Kent Webb about this, but he is likewise baffled as is Kluge.

    Has anybody else had this happen? How did you solve it? Is anyone using/found an alternative
    glue that can be easily removed using conventional methods?

    Any help or sharing of experience with this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Dave Conte, RPT
    The University of Tennessee
    865-974-4885 Office
    865-406-5156 UT Cell
    817-307-5656 Personal Cell


    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 09:51
    Hello again.

    I should have added that the front rail bushings were also replaced with no adhesion problems.

    The key buttons on the Hamburg set appear to be Beech.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 11:31
    It is possible that someone applied McLube 444 to the balance bushings, and it also impregnated the wood. I haven't had problems with bushing after Protek CLP (thought I don't use it, preferring powdered teflon on the surface).

    McLube is a mold release compound, so it is designed not to let anything adhere to a surface.
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." Brecht






  • 4.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 13:10
    Hi, Fred.

    It's certainly possible. I found a container of that in the cabinet. I only
    apply to the pins, and figured everyone else did, but who knows.

    It is also possible that a previous tech applied WD-40. I found *several* cans of that,
    some were only partially full, others were unopened. They were immediately removed
    from the shop.

    The keys were so wobbly that I had to re-bush. I don't think even the use this piano
    has gotten accounts for so much side-play. It seems like they were over-eased. A lot.

    But that's all history now. My task is to fix the problem. If I can figure out what happened
    it may be possible to solve. I purchased some Titebond liquid hide glue that I will try today.
    I am not worried about structural strength here, so the urea content should not be an issue.

    Thanks for your post,

    Dave

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-01-2021 13:19
    If the bushings do not adhere to the buttons, replace the buttons.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 14:15
    Jon,

    It may come down to that, but hopefully not.

    I am trying the Titebond liquid hide glue to see how that does. I think it's a process of
    elimination. Replacing the buttons should only happen after exhausting all other possibilities.
    Hopefully, these findings will benefit all technicians.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-01-2021 16:03
    Glue-size the wood before you install new bushings. I've had to do that on all Kluge bushing replacements. I don't think the type of glue they used is hot hide glue but a glue-treated felt which is activated with heated cauls. Maybe??  It just didn't look like hide glue when removing them, and they came out super easy.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 17:01
    Hi, Jon.

    I have had the opposite experience with the Hamburg D. 
    Else, I would not have resorted to using the wallpaper remover and
    would have used steam only. 

    What do you mean by "glue size the wood"? This is not a dimensional 
    issue. And the wood looks perfectly clean. The balance rail buttons appear
    to be Beech, in fact I am fairly certain they are. Using the mortise sizing 
    cauls is probably overkill, but I try for uniformity whenever possible.

    I think it can safely be narrowed down to contamination of either the glue
    or the wood. If the Titebond hide glue works, I will get some new granular
    hide glue but I am not convinced that is the case. More likely the buttons, but again I 
    don't want to go to the effort and expense of replacing them if they
    are not the problem and replacing them would make no difference. 

    I was hoping someone else had run into this and could enlighten me.

    Dave




    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 9.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 16:52
    Dave, I tried to respond this morning but my response did not go through-anyway...if it comes down to it you could try some wood stripper followed by Laquer thinner. The Laquer thinner alone just MIGHT remove whatever this is but to be certain you may have to do both....as if you were stripping varnish from wood. Clean-Strip has always been my favorite stripper. It's a real GITTER-DUNN stripper. Citri-strip and a lot of milder strippers may be far too wimpy. Just some thoughts. (How much can a whole box of Q-tips cost?? Lol)

    ------------------------------
    Kevin Fortenberry
    Registered Piano Technician
    Temple, Texas
    806-778-3962
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 17:04
    Kevin.

    Great to hear from you. 

    I like your idea. Wish I had come up with it myself. Even if it 
    turns out not to solve the problem it's worth a try. If it does, then I won't have to 
    replace the buttons. 

    You get the gold star today!

    Dave

    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 11.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-01-2021 21:58
    Glue sizing is applying a thinned coat of glue and let dry. This lets the glue permeate the wood. Then the installation coat has something better to adhere to.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 22:24
    Rather than glue on a bushing using liquid hide, first paint some glue on the wood and let it dry. See whether it adheres by itself. Also experiment with thinned glue. Does it adhere? Does it soak in at all? Does it bead up?

    That might also tell you whether or not glue sizing as Jon described it might work. It's certainly worth experimenting. Conceivably a little scuffing with a file or a sandpaper file made to size might provide bite for glue. 

    Since the mortises are sloppy, it would make sense to paint glue on all of them and let it dry prior to gluing on the bushings as a gap filling measure. 

    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    fssturm@comcast.net
    http://fredsturm.net
    www.artoftuning.com
    "Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom." Leonardo









  • 13.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 06:20
    Jon and Fred.

    Thanks for your input. Some things to try. I will check and see what 
    the Titebond I used yesterday did. 

    The balance rail mortises were not sloppy but were uniform such that the mortise sizing cauls all fit the same; however the keys were loose. Being Beech wood those was probably not compressed. I imagine that they were over-eased and the front rail mortises were definitely crushed, and measured 7-10 mils larger than what Kent webb told me 
    the factory cut them to, those being sugar pine or basswood,

    I was taught that glue does not like to stick to glue. Maybe that's fallacy or depends on what type of glue, but I have always followed that principle. But no need to glue-size
    the balance rail mortises that I can see. Dimension is not an issue with them . And the front rail does not exhibit the same bonding issue. Those seem to be holding fine. 



    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 14.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 09:51
    I wouldn't use liquid hide glue. Regardless of the existence of the word "hide" in the title.
    In various tests trying to bond felt to wood, both in a convention class and a similar experiment at a chapter meeting, liquid hide glue failed miserably. It takes longer to set and bonds weakly.
    It may be good for something, just not piano work.

    ------------------------------
    Scott Cole, RPT
    rvpianotuner.com
    Talent, OR
    (541-601-9033
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 13:02
    Hi-

    I'm would say the thinking behind "glue not liking to stick to glue" has to do with more common wood glue, like titebond.  Certainly not hot hide glue. That is the beauty of it. Since it cools so quickly I always paint one surface first, then apply them together while the second surface is still warm. If the glue is good, that never fails. My assistant here like to heat up the brass cauls, which isn't a bad idea.  I recommend apply hot hide glue to both surfaces either way.  Titebond or other common wood glues are different. You should always clean up the old surface first as best you can when using them.  I tried using liquid, cold hide glue once maybe 30 years ago- and never again.  I hope I was understanding the question correctly.

    best-
    Dennis

    ------------------------------
    Dennis Johnson, R.P.T.
    St. Olaf College
    Music Dept.
    Northfield, MN 55337
    sta2ned@stolaf.edu
    (507) 786-3587
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 17:50
    I have never had luck with liquid hide glue either, though I suspect age of the product had much to do with that. It has a fairly short shelf life. If you wand to use an unheated glue, try fish glue. Much longer shelf life, good initial tack, removable with steam. Lee Valley or StewMac
    Regards,
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico






  • 17.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-04-2021 14:35
    Hi, Fred.

    Thanks for the tip.
    I think you are probably right about the cloth being overly treated with something.
    The fact that the keys were so wobbly sort of supports that hypothesis. Apparently
    a previous tech tried to get to negative friction. Zero of course being the lowest
    that could possibly exist. I did have success carefully applying Titebond liquid hide
    glue to the wood, but I only used it as a bond, not a pre-treatment. I will try that in the
    future. I think that the urea helped it to penetrate into the beech. One thing I had
    not considered is the density and smoothness of the surface on beechwood. I could
    not come up with anything to rough up the surface that would not ablate away some
    wood on short notice. I did use acetone to try and remove any chemical residue that
    might have been left behind after the second set of bushings failed. Maybe that was
    part of the success I had with the Titebond. It looks like - what is it they say - third time's
    the charm. Or is it three on a match? Only time will tell, I suppose.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------