Furniture maker Phil Lowe once showed me two 55-gallon barrels filled with clear stuff that looked like sand. He got the barrels from a factory that made gummy bears (I think he said the factory went out of business). Anyway, he used the stuff in the barrels – gelatin – to make his hide glue.
Since that day I’ve had the following stuck in my head: gummy bears = hide glue.
Today I decided to see if I could reverse-engineer the process and turn gummy bears into hide glue.
I bought a package of Haribo Goldbears gummy bears from the gas station up the block from Roy Underhill’s school. I put them in a cup with a little water and put the cup into his hide glue pot.
An hour later, the bears had melted and stirred like thin hide glue (I might have added a little too much water). Gummy bears are not just pure gelatin, of course. They have a lot of sugar and other stuff in them. But despite all this negative information running through my head, I had a question…
Does it stick?
I painted some Gummy Glue on a piece of poplar and performed a rub joint. The glue tacked right up with some nice pink squeeze-out. After 10 minutes, the stuff gelled up. The joint looks promising (right now).
I’ll let the joint sit overnight to see how strong it is.
Let the jokes begin.
— Christopher Schwarz
104 thoughts on “Hide Glue from the Gas Station”
It looks perfect for mahogany or cherry. Do they have brown gummy bears for walnut?
If you mix all the gummi bear Color’s together you will get a brownish Color. Or so the melted bag in my car told me.
But you still ate them, right?
Well, stick or not, the glue-up joint looks pretty sweet.
Mix red and green
Rootbeer bottle gummies by harbor are half brown. Snack and glue.
Finally you can just lick up the squeeze out. I can see hordes of people now taking up woodworking.
Do you not already lick up the squeeze out? It’s just jerky flavored gummy bear. Broth flavored? One of those.
What’s the easiest way to remove splinters from one’s own tongue? Asking for a friend.
No jokes here, just disappointment that you would desecrate the, erm, gold standard of gummy bears that is the Haribo Goldbear for such a low purpose. The only reverent way to interact with a Haribo Goldbear is to completely dump the entire contents of its packaging directly into your mouth immediately upon opening. Or is that just me?
I also bought some generic gummy worms to test. Maybe I can get a magazine to sponsor a shoot-out article
Eastern European gummy bears are reputed to be better for glue.
Throw in a box of Jello and they will bite, so to speak.
I will, respectfully of course, and with sympathies for the woefully wayward Haribo devotees, submit that there is no finer gummy bear than the Albanese.
I love this. I love to see people make science fun, and that’s exactly what this is. I see a future “best gummies for woodworking projects” comparison.
My money is on gummy coke bottles.
I have had few encounters with Albanese but they were enjoyable. I’m willing to devote more time to this investigation. Thank you for the suggestion.
Using soda pop bottle gummies as glue would certainly elevate them from their deserved status at the bottom of the garbage heap. Indeed, a noble use for a waste of sugar!
Team Albanese all the way. This is what finally destroys the comment section. Not politics, not hand vs power tools, not even sharpening systems. Just Haribo vs Albanese.
I didn’t know they had gum bears in Albania?
Only after letting them soak in vodka overnight
This is going to be the next woodworking fad, after epoxy tables. Finger joints and dovetail joints w/ custom colored gummy glue.
How interesting. I recall envelopes of dry gelatin(“Knox”) used to be sold in the grocery stores and perhaps still are. Not appetizing to me, but certainly non toxic.
Gelatin helps make a smoother ice cream by emulsifying the water to the fat and proteins. You could use carrageenan, a plant product derived from Irish Moss, for the same results and keep Kosher or Halal. Gelatin has the advantage of being more readily available.
Also main ingredient in jelly pudding. Which kid doesn’t love the unnaturally bright colours? And the chemical taste?
Never heard of regular jello referred to as jelly pudding before
I’m guessing you had some special gummy bears from the weed dispensary before you embarked on this project.
I used to do the same with Knox brand unflavored gelatin. Worked fine. I don’t know how strong a glue it is, compered with commercial hide glues, but it looked, smelled and handled the same way.
I used Knox Gelatin to glue a violin neck on. Haven’t been able to test it under string tension yet, but it’s holding on.
U can use animal hooves pig skin. Pig ears cow hide and cook it down in instant pot pressure cooker I worked in a paper mill and we used to use hot animal glue to glue paper to cores and the tail end to itself but the glue used to stink I asked quality control if there was a substitute and they got us a replacement from Peter cooper that was like soft rubber and melted with heat and had a minty smell much better than the animal glue but probably still had some animal origins
Brilliant! Must work week with maple …;)
Damn autocorrect… not week.. meant “well”… joke is sugar coated now.
Feeling a little “bound-up” after consuming a bag of Gummy Bears? Now you know why. 😀
Exactly my thought! If this actually glues up the board, what on earth is doing in one’s gut?
You need to refresh the community on first aid for splinters – is it different for the tongue?
That was an excellent joke in itself! It got a big belly laugh outa me. No further comment.
No joke; but I was told how they get the gelatin for gummi bears in 1967. I was told they boiled bones for them. As a kid, it sounded gross; but not so gross that I would not eat gummi candy.
Years later, when making chicken soup, I saw the gelatinized chicken stock when I pulled the stock pot out of the fridge.
So boiled bones = gelatin. Yum.
Well now you’ve REALLY gummed up the works.
Sweet! Better than wrestling the dog for her chew toys too.
Chris was thinking about an idea for a new glue and his mind started bouncing here and there and everywhere
Underrated comment right here.
To all those kids that ate paste in kindergarten, we salute you.
The real question is whether there are pictures of you in the elf hat.
Now, if only we could find an alternate use for candy corn.
You’re going to get cavities in your saw teeth.
Interesting: looks like some of us might be overpaying for hide glue.
All prices below in Canadian dollars, and I’ve normalized the price in $/100g. Even if you don’t speak metric you should be able to follow along:
LV sells hide glue for $4.40/100g
I found (on Amazon) some Dylmine Health GELATINE POWDER (250 Bloom)-22lb selling for $2.80/100g
A box of Jell-o sells for $1.75/100g
Some quick research (“how much gelatine in jello”) took me to a page where they compared making jello to making the equivalent with unflavoured gelatine. It works out that jello is 83% gelatine.
If jello gives at least 83% the strength of gelatine, and if that’s enough for your project, you could save 60% on the cost of glue (compared to Lee Valley’s hide glue).
I am suddenly very interested in seeing how strong Chris’ glue joint is. This might be a viable substitute for hide glue!
A big part of hide glue manufactured these days is cheap scrap from the pharmaceutical industry. There is lots of gelatin in all those gel caps.
Then we’re clearly getting taken for a ride if this cheap stuff costs anywhere between the same to almost 2x as much as food-grade gelatin.
LV is ripping you for the price. Ypou can get it at $12/450grams or about 2.60/100gram. That is what happens when you get “Antique restorer” hide glue. As soon as you see those two words you are looking a bout double the price and small quanity only. Look for bulkier sellers, and if you are willing to go in for real bulk you can get it for even less for industrial suppliers.
That squeeze-out will make a yummy snack.
Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants!
😆 too funny.
Great, now the Schwarz Bump™ is going to yet again price me out of a beloved item.
Instead of scraping excess glue, now you can gnaw it.
If you lick it, you can simulate the popsicle experience except they already use the most coarse and irritating wood known to humankind.
I myself will never look at Gummie Bears the same way again!
Thanks for the laugh😂!
I smell a new Sloyd in Wood gummi bear edition, matching hide glue tonthe colors you are going to paint.
Seriously though, German gummi bears have a much different texture than the ones we get in the states, they are mich harder/tougher. If you don’t beleive me you can google an article on “serious eats” that confirmed my suspicion after I got back once. If you ever go to germany, grab a bag and try those.
It seems Haribo beers in Germany are also harder than the Haribo beers sold in France. (seen on the French/German TV: ARTE – “Karambolage”.)
I wonder if the german made ones ONLY go to germany and every other country gets the ones made in turkey?
I found hardness depends on the brand. For me, the only gummi candies worth eating were the HAIRBO brand. I remember one that tasted like hair spray.
I have to respectfully disagree: Everyone knows for it to be truly Sloyd you can’t use gummi bears, you must use Swedish Fish as glue! 🙂 On a serious note however, I completely agree that the gummi bears in in Germany taste different (and better!). It is just like the Guinness effect!
Does the garage sell a cheep replacement for Johnson & johnson paste wax ?
Squeeze out will be even easier to spot when it’s pink. I like it.
Sounds like you have a delicious color palette available. Can mix colors to match a variety of species.
Well, gummies stick to your teeth like glue when you eat them so why not wood?
You may also have invented a new dog toy, flavored sticks.
They don’t do that for me… And I eat a lot of those (when the kids are not watching). Wine gums stick quite nasty.
Regarding the experiment, gelatine is main ingredient in gums. Unless you get the vegan ones. Then it’s starch. Which sticks even more to the teeth.
Awesome. Schwarz Bump™. I now have a better term than “Schwarz Factor” to justify (to the wife) that I’m buying a new this or that. “Honey, I need to get this right now. Why? Chris mentioned it in his blog.” Even better, I can also use my sub to Substance to qualify my behavior further….
Think this phenomenon isn’t real? Go to Lie-Nielsen’s website and look for a 62 low angle jack……I knew I should have placed my order six weeks ago.
This is all just a viral marketing fad for the newly revised edition of Workshop Wound Care which now contains a chapter on removing splinters from your tongue after glue clean up.
I’d love to see Patrick Edwards weigh in.
Old Brown Bear Glue
Nice. If you want extra holding power, use the Grizzly Bear Glue.
Honey squeeze bear, Old Brown squeeze Bear, don’t get them confused.
Imagine what that stuff does in your stomach!
Ever made a nice chicken or beef stock? That stuff gels when it cools down, it’s the gelatine in it. Same thing.
But can you take it apart.
Curiousity is the most fun
Not as fun as gummy bears, but after reading your post I did a little digging. Allegedly Korr unflavored gelatin is 350 gram strength? Mix 1:3 gelatin to water by weight and then heat to 150f. Did the gummy bear glue work?
I think the squeeze-out would make great Holiday presents. All age groups would be happy!
I’d like to see how the squeeze-out planes.
This is that “Adam Savage’s Tested/Mythbuster’s” sorta thing that make the best of stories. whether they be good ones or bad. Good luck, and a Happy set of Holidays to you, Megan, and all of the Lost Art Press Staff!
Bear Goo…buy your bags now, no female bears in these packages…just warm them up and rub them just right and let the squeeze out begin. Yup i went there! Haha
Alternate title – How to turn an edible into a joint.
I did wonder if April Fool’s Day had arrived early. But on reflection I think that the green bears would work better as I don’t like these. There is a British candy called ‘wine gums’ which are less sweet and more chewy, these might make a better adhesive.
Speaking of British candy, how about Dr. Who’s favorite, Jelly Babies?
Inquiring minds wanna know. : )
I think only the original German Gummi is allowed per the hand tool woodworking German purity laws… But I could be confused….
It’s good to see a woodworker brave enough to get back to the bear essentials 🙂
Bear necessities is the mother of invention 🤔
Look for the bare necessities, The simple bare necessities, Forget about your worries and your strife.
You are going to update us on the strength of the joint, right?
So far it is as strong as hide glue.
I wonder about the effect of the sugar and other stuff in it. Might compromise the joint in the long run?
Gummy Bear Stick Chair? Red gummy bears and Bog Oak sound like a good combination
Does a bear stick in the woods?
Here in Finland we have a proverb: “A potato hold`s better than a bad glue”
Fart Pulpbits can be super glue too!
Try now and laters. Or jujubes, those things will rip the fillings out of your teeth
So? Does it work?
Great if it works in the long run. But what about attracting bugs?
I’d be afraid to leave this sitting anywhere in my house.
Bugs!!? How about the grandkids who lick and lick and keep licking the joint–kinda like how we adults lick the joint edge of other novelties… haha. Don’t think a bug is gonna be a problem, unless you live in the wild.
Y’all are the funniest posters ever! Thanks for making my day!
In prior generations, proteins were taken from horses and other animals to make glues. Petroleum-derived polymers including epoxies and cyanoacrylates have since replaced proteins owing to improved performance. These modern materials come at a cost of toxicity as well as being derived from limited resources. Ideally, replacement adhesives will be made from benign, cheap, and renewable feedstocks. Such a transition to biobased materials, however, will not occur until similar or improved performance can be achieved. We have discovered that coupling of proteins and sugars gives rise to strong adhesives. An unexpected connection was made between adhesion and Maillard chemistry, known to be at the heart of cooking foods. Cross-linked proteins bonded metal and wood with high strengths, in some cases showing forces exceeding those withstood by the substrates themselves. Simple cooking chemistry may provide a route to future high-performance materials derived from low-cost, environmentally benign components.
So in other words…the gummy bears will be a stronger, more lasting bond for joints! Seems Schwarz’s thesis has been proven, naysayers be damned!
I have that paper and am digesting it now.
This is an excellent No One: Absolutely No One: Christopher Schwartz: Hey Guys, guess what!! Use that candy for glue instead!
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