Sunday, May 28, 2017

What A Long Strange Trip It Has Been

I Miss John Every Day
I apologize, dear reader, for not posting in several months.  I have the standard excuse: I have been rather busy with my life, having fun and working in the shop.  In fact, they are the same activity.

Every year around this time I make an effort to do something special for Kristen, who has a birthday in April.  Spring is the best time of the year to get out and enjoy the outdoors, so we usually end up at a nice hotel with gardens, ocean, lakes or mountains.  This year I thought I would put them all together.

I made a promise to spend her birthday at the Du Pont Hotel in Wilmington, where they have one of the most famous Sunday brunches on the East Coast.  I started planning the trip last November, and carefully plotted the activities, using maps and the web so that the trip would run like clockwork.

Just before we left I completed and delivered Clock #6 (photos to follow in another post) and an Art Deco cabinet for a special client in Bel Air.  That provided the funds and a good excuse to take a trip. My partner, Patrice, ran the business in our absence and spent his time building a large Renaissance Library Table for another client.

Kristen is a dedicated gardner and I am somewhat of a woodworker.  Here is our home in San Diego with the Craftsman house we built using a 1926 design, and her front garden.  The back garden is much larger and more spectacular.

Home is Where the Heart Is.
 We took a Holland America ship from San Diego.  We like the smaller ships (with no kids!)
Leaving San Diego
Our cruise went South along the Mexican coast, and we stopped in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Columbia.  The best coffee was in Guatemala.

Back Country Transportation in Mexico

Beautiful Mexican Coast 

Wonderful Town in Mexico 
This stop in Mexico was amazing.  They had a first class museum and an ancient pyramid to visit.  They also recycle 100% of their water!

Jungle in Costa Rica

First Time on Panama Canal

Impressive Doors in Columbia
After we left Columbia, we headed North to Florida with only one more stop.  Holland America has a small private island and they usually end up the cruise with a rest stop.  It is a real chance to completely forget everything else in the world.  One of the best beaches we have ever seen.

Time to Rest
When we arrived in Florida we picked up the rental car and began our land portion of the trip.  The first stop was in Savannah.  Kristen got an ice cream and I got some oysters.  The city is designed around parks which are situated about every other block.  It is a wonderful place to walk.

Ancient Trees in Savannah
Our next stop was with an old friend, Bert Declerck and his family.  Bert is a true genius in many areas, and, in particular, in woodworking.  When he was 19 he taught himself how to build furniture and cut marquetry.  His first project was to copy the Oben desk which is sitting in the library at Musee Nissim de Camondo.  Everyone thought he was crazy, but he proved them wrong.  His copy is absolutely perfect in every respect, and is the only copy ever made of this iconic desk.

Bert's First Woodworking Project
From Bert's home, we traveled to visit Roy Underhill.  Roy and Jane live in a Mill House on a river.  It is a magical place and Roy has imprinted it with his particular personality.  I have said many times that Roy is a National Treasure and has single handedly kept alive the tradition of hand crafts for the past 30 years, with his PBS show, "The Woodwright's Shop."

Tree Grows Through Tractor

I Love This Man!

Roy and I went to his School for a visit and I had to spend some time (and money) in Ed Lebetkin's store above the school.  Ed is a great tool dealer and collector and I always find something "necessary" when I visit.

Must Have Tools!!!
The next top was visiting Andy Rae and Brian Boggs in Asheville.  Andy is coming to San Diego this Fall to speak to our local woodworking group and Brian is actively designing some of the best new furniture in this country.

In Asheville, Kristen and I spent the day visiting Biltmore, the largest residence ever built in this country.

"Just a Modest Summer Home"
Driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway along the mountains, we came to Monticello, where I had a chance to sit and reflect on life.

Sharing The View With Jefferson

They Use Old Brown Glue To Repair Furniture Here
We also stopped at Madison's place down the road, driving to Fredericksburg and ending up in Washington at the Capitol.  We were invited to tour the workshops on the House side of the Capitol.  I must say that after the tour, wandering around the tunnels under the Capitol and observing the creatures who work there, I have a new opinion of the TV series "Veep".  It is not a comedy.  It is a reality show.

My host was Josh English, who has taken some classes at the American School of French Marquetry, and was kind enough to take me on a tour of the cabinet, finishing, upholstery and drapery workshops, as well as other interesting stops on the House side.  It is important to note that there is an invisible line down the center of the Capitol where the House and Senate population never cross.

Josh English, House Cabinetmaker
While we were in Washington, I made a point to stop at Hillwood House, built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, of cereal fame and fortune.  Her collection is certainly one of the best I have ever seen, and in the best condition.  It is a pleasure to visit and the gardens are spectacular as well.

Amazing Tapestry

Italian Pietre Dure Table Leaf
Ms. Post had several homes and is responsible for building Mar a Lago, in Florida.

When she sold Mar a Lago she kept only one piece of furniture, which she had transported to her Hillwood House in Washington.  This was a Dining Table, with leaves, which weighs over 6 tons.  One of the leaves is shown here, and it takes 4 strong men to put it in place.  The table was made for her in Italy and took several years to manufacture.

One of a Thousand Flower Photos I Took On the Trip
Leaving Washington, we went next to Winterthur for a conference organized by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers.  It was extremely well managed and we were able to spend the day visiting the Conservation Lab, Scientific Lab, Research Library and Selected Objects Study room.

For me it was a chance to reflect on the summer of 1978, when I lived for 3 months in a camper on the North edge of the parking lot.  I was attending the Summer Institute, and fondly remember Frank Sommer, who gave me full access to the library and its collection of rare books.

I had a chance to meet and talk with Charlie Hummel during this conference.  He still works there and seems to defy aging.  Remember, he first came as a student to Winterthur in 1952!  His book, "With Hammer in Hand" and the purchase and installation of the Dominy workshop at Winterthur was one of the first inspirations I had to encourage my career in woodworking.

Charles Hummel in the Rotunda

Dominy Workshop at Winterthur

We spent two beautiful days at Winterthur and the gardens were in full bloom.

Not Photo Shopped!

Springtime at Winterthur
Driving all the back roads and avoiding the Interstate meant that we had time to stop in bookstores and shops out of the way.  We found this ancient barn in Bucks county which had 5 floors of books.  I managed to find quite a few that needed to go home with me.

Bring Money Take Books
Finally, it was time to enjoy Kristen's birthday at the Du Pont Hotel in Wilmington.  We had a nice evening, great room and took 4 hours to consume the brunch the next day.  If you are ever in Wilmington on a weekend, take the time to visit.  It is very civilized.

Looking Better Every Year
Leaving Winterthur we next went to Longwood Gardens.  Open 365 days a year, this is clearly the largest and most interesting garden in the country.  The green house is over 4 acres in size!  What a joy it must be to work there.

My Favorite Tree

More Tulips Than You Can Count

One Small Area of Longwood Gardens
On the way to New York City, we had a chance to have lunch with Frank and Edith Klausz.  Frank made us Hungarian Goulash which was one of the most memorable meals on this trip.  He is happy in retirement and we had a wonderful visit with them both.  Frank has always supported me and my work and I owe him a lifetime of gratitude and thanks.

I Love This Man Too!
We were able to stay in New York City for three days, thanks to a good friend, who lives on the upper West Side.  We had a free parking space on the street in front of the apartment, which is amazing, and we were directly across Central Park from the Met.  I spent some quality time with Joe Godla at the Frick and Cynthia Moyer at the Met, both old friends from the Getty Conservation Lab years ago at Malibu.

We first went to the New York Historical Society museum to see Duncan Phyfe's tools.

Very Clean and Sharp
Then we went to the Frick.  Joe said that they don't allow photos in the museum.  They tried it for one week and people were falling all over themselves taking selfies, so they decided just to forbid any photos.  I find it sad that people go to museums and take photos of themselves.  However, when I do it I think it is fine...

Perhaps the Best Museum in America

Three days is not enough to even walk through the Met.  I was able to see most of the objects I like, but every time I turned a corner I was faced with the choice to go ahead or turn one way or another.  No matter what route I took it was wonderful.

The American Wing

American Craftsmanship
The Met has the most precious work of art from the Italian Renaissance in this country, the Studiolo from the Ducal Palace at Gubbio.  It is a room 12' x 16' (ironically, the same size as my workbench room at the shop) and to stand in it is a real thrill.  How many people have had the chance to stand in this space during the past 500 years?

Standing in the 15th Century

The three days we spent in New York City were sunny, warm and clear.  It was San Diego weather.  The day we left they had a record 3" of rain.  The subways were flooded.  We didn't mind; we were driving away from the storm, up the Hudson.  We stopped at Olana and then spent the night at Pittsfield, in the Berkshires.

I have written many times about my relationship with the Shakers and Faith Andrews.  I am always excited to wander around Hancock and experience the energy left behind by the Shakers.  It is a magical place.  I am not crazy, but their ghosts speak to me.  

Hancock Shaker Village

It's A Gift To Be Simple

We drove across upper Mass, avoiding large roads, exploring the mountains, on our way to Salem.  There we spent 4 days, enjoying New England and visiting with Phil Lowe.  I was able to give a lecture to a small group at his school, the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts and have some more oysters.

I did not visit the Salem Witch House, but stuck the camera out the window and took a shot as we drove by...

Tourists Stop Here
We ended up our tour in Boston, and spent the day at the Museum of Fine Arts.  This is another great museum, and they are always changing their displays. 

MFA Boston

Interesting Floor under 18th Century Room Group
We flew back home from Boston and reflected on our journey.  First of all, we live in a great country and it is essential for all of us to take the time to enjoy our riches.  Travel while you are able and spend time off the beaten path.  Take the road less travelled...

And finally, in the immortal words of a young actress, "There's no place like home."

"There's no place like home."

"There's no place like home."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Do You Know What This Is?

Made By Shaker Hands
In the previous post I mentioned my time spent visiting Hancock Shaker Village and my friendship with Faith Andrews, who was so kind to me.  She gave me many hours of her time answering my questions and showing me her personal collection.  It was as much spiritual as it was educational.

During one of my visits she opened a desk and took out a simple piece of wood.  It appeared to be a ruler, but it had no visible markings at all.  It was made from a wonderful piece of highly figured birdseye maple with a shellac finish.

She said to me, "I want to give you a gift.  This is something I picked up from the Shakers at Hancock many years ago.  It has always made me wonder what it was used for.  It must have a purpose, but I cannot figure it out.  Maybe you can."

As she handed it to me I immediately knew what it was designed to do.  I pointed out to her its specific features which proved my conclusion.

As I thanked her for her kindness, she said, "I knew you would know what to do with it."

End View Showing Profile 

If this object was recorded into a museum collection, the Registrar would note:

Solid wood rule, 14 1/4" long 1 1/8" wide 1/4" thick, birdseye maple, shellac finish.  Parallel sides in length, tapered profile on end from 1/4" to 1/8".  No visible markings on any surface.  Each end has 5 small notches at regular intervals on each face.  Origin: Hancock Shaker Village. Function: unknown.

5 Spaced Notches on Each End

Can you identify its function and finish this entry?  Send Your Comments.

PS:  The first comment I just received is correct.  However, I will wait a bit to post other comments to see what the response is...

The Next Day.

After several comments in the past 24 hours I am now posting the solution.  This is a very practical rule for making music staff quickly.  Using a pencil to draw along both sides of the length provides a register.  Marking the notches on each end with ink leaves dots for drawing the staff lines, in ink.  Then the rule is moved down to the next pencil line and the work is continued.  After all the ink lines are drawn the pencil lines are removed, leaving a neat space between each staff line.  Finally the rule is used for marking the measures vertically, as necessary.

Thought you would like this.  If you are a composer, make one for yourself.  Manual Music Rules!

Use Pencil first then Ink

Remove Pencil and add Notes and Music

Now I will post the comments in the order received.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Walking With The Shakers

As a person who is of a "certain age" I tend to read the obituaries looking for people who have not lasted as long as I have.  It's not a morbid fascination.  I am not concerned about dying.  I am just interested in how they died, so I can be more careful that the same thing doesn't happen to me.

Just recently I noticed a particular obit in the NYT which caught my attention.  The headline was: "Sister Frances Ann Carr, 89, One of Last Three Shakers."  She had joined the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, in New Glouchester, Maine, in 1937. Her death leaves two surviving Shakers, Brother Arnold Hadd, 60, ad Sister June Carpenter, 78.  Literally the end of an era.

I have had a long and personal relationship with Shakers, Shaker communities, furniture and their beliefs for most of my adult life.  I first discovered their existence by reading antiques books in the 1960's and was intrigued by the perfect simplicity of their designs.  When I created my first television series in 1973, "Welcome to the Past, the History of Antiques," I devoted an entire half hour show to the Shakers.  To gather information for this show I travelled East to visit many of the existing Shaker communities.  I consider Shaker furniture to be perhaps the only authentic American style of furniture, with designs transmitted by angels from heaven, not emigrants from other countries.

The term "Shaker Furniture" is not well understood and there are many examples of simple furniture  identified or sold as "Shaker" which is not accurate.  True Shaker furniture is extremely rare, as it was made by them for their use in their communities, which at their peak during the Civil War, reached a limit of 6,000 members.  They preferred to be separate from the outside world, and kept these furnishings to themselves, with one exception.  Robert Wagon, a Shaker in New York in the 1870's, operated a rocking chair company at Mt. Lebanon where he sold a range of sizes of rocking chairs, with woven tape seats.  These were the only items of Shaker furniture sold outside the communities, until nearly a century later when Dr. Edward Deming Andrews and his wife, Faith, were invited to see objects in the private rooms at Hancock.

The story of how the Andrews "discovered" the Shakers is wonderful, and I encourage you to research it yourself.  I only point out here that it was their first book that I discovered in the library so many years ago that made me aware of this wonderful sect.

In any event, I spent a lot of time and gas driving around to visit as many old Shaker communities as I could back in the early 1970's.  It is during one of these trips I found myself in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts arriving in Pittsfield.  I knew the community of Hancock was just outside town and, since it was late in the day, I stopped in the local YMCA to clean up.  I remember standing in the showers, enjoying the hot water after a long day on the road.  As I was getting dressed one of the men in the locker room asked me where I was from.  I told him I was traveling around visiting historic sites and intended to go to Hancock.

"Well, then," he replied, "I think you should meet Faith. I am the town postman and I know everyone in this place.  She is on my route and I know she enjoys meeting students of the arts."

We walked up into the lobby and he got on the telephone.  When she answered, he said "I have someone who wants to meet you."  Then he handed me the phone.

I couldn't believe it.  She immediately told me "Go to Hancock first, then come see me."

It was off season and the weather was brilliant for that time of year.  I had the village of Hancock completely to myself.  It had just finished raining and the sun was shining through the clouds, pouring through the open windows of the buildings.  I was alone with the ghosts of the Shakers.  There were no other visitors.  After a few hours I felt a strange connection to the place.  It was like I had lived there my whole life. There was a place for everything and everything was in its place.

The next day I visited Faith Andrews and we talked for hours.  She invited me back the next time I was in the area and over the next few years I visited her many times, often staying in her spare bedroom.  She was an amazing and distinguished woman, who took the time to educate me on many aspects of the Shaker philosophy which remain with me today.  My wife, Kristen, made a stained glass window of the Tree of Life and I made a simple cherry frame.  We presented it to her during one visit and she returned the gesture, giving me some personal Shaker items, which I may discuss in another post.

I do not intend to go more deeply into the history of the Shakers here, as you can do that for yourself. The point of this story relates to the recent passing of Sister Frances Ann.

On one of these visits with Faith she confided in me that there was something I could do to resolve a controversy among the surviving Shakers.  It involved the remaining dozen or so Sisters who were rather evenly divided between Canterbury and Sabbathday Lake.

Here is the entry on this topic in Wikipedia:

In 1957, after "months of prayer", Eldresses Gertrude, Emma, and Ida, the leaders of the United Society of Believers and who were based out of Canterbury, voted to close the Shaker Covenant, the document which all new members need to sign to become members of the Shakers.[27] In 1988, speaking about the three men and women in their 20s and 30s who had joined the Shakers and were living in the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, Eldress Bertha Lindsay stated, "To become a Shaker you have to sign a legal document taking the necessary vows and that document, the official covenant, is locked up in our safe. Membership is closed forever."[27]

This was about 1978 when Faith asked me to run this errand.  Since to adopt any member of the public into the Shaker faith it was required that a small group of both Brothers and Sisters approve the applicant, when the last Brother passed away (1957) the remaining Sisters voted that no new members would be accepted.  That meant the end of the faith.  The end of the Shakers.

It is important to mention that the Shakers held in trust millions of dollars of property.  There is a certain interest to join the group just considering the value of the land.  The Sisters at Canterbury were determined not to accept a new Brother, but the Sisters at Sabbathday Lake (including Sister Frances Ann) were open to the idea.  They accepted Ted Johnson, a reformed preacher, as a "Brother" and he moved in with them, living, of course, in separate buildings.  Now that they had both a Brother and Sister to accept new converts, they began rebuilding the community.  These are the "three men and women in their 20's" mentioned in the Wikipedia entry above.

Faith had been communicating with Sister Gertrude  and Eldress Bertha at Canterbury and they had decided to send me on a "mission."  Faith handed me a sealed envelope and told me to go to Canterbury.  When I got there I went on the little museum tour with all the other tourists.  At the end of the tour, I was taken aside by the guide and escorted into the main residence kitchen.  There I sat at a table with Sister Gertrude and Eldress Bertha eating a delicious tomato sandwich while they opened and read the letter from Faith.

I was instructed by them to travel to Sabbathday Lake and investigate as much as I could about these "new" Shakers and how the Sisters were being treated.  I did as I was asked and, when I  arrived at my destination I quietly asked how one became a Shaker and would it be possible for me to join?  I had some interesting meetings with those in charge, did some exploring into places not open to the public, and generally looked around.  To me it seemed to be a normal situation, and I reported back that I found nothing unusual.  Except that there were Brothers.

I do not know if one of the Sisters I talked with was Sister Frances Ann.  According to the NYT: "Sister Frances, like the other Shakers, always hoped new members would join the community and welcomed visitors."  That was the feeling I got when I visited such a long time ago.

I wonder how my life would have changed if I had decided to stay.  It was very appealing.

"It's a gift to be simple.  It's a gift to be free.  It's a gift to come down where you ought to be."

My life is not simple.  However, I am free and I believe I am where I ought to be.  Thank you, Faith.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Got Glue?

Curbside Delivery: A Ton of Glue!

When I lecture about using glue for woodworking, I usually start in the 17th century.  Although it is true that animal protein glues were used as early as the Egyptian times, traditional woodworkers in Europe up until the 17th century relied on mechanical fastening for their assembly.

First and most common were nails, which  could be fashioned by the local iron worker, if you had the funds.  If you were not able to buy nails then wood pegs would work.  These pegs were not called "dowels" but rather "treenail, trunnel, or some variation of that term".  When used to pull together a draw bore mortise and tenon joint they were quite effective.  More useful is the fact that they could also be easily removed, as they were not glued, thus allowing larger pieces of furniture to be taken apart and moved upstair or across town, where they could be simply pegged back together again.

It was not really until ships began returning from overseas with more exotic timber than the usual domestic oak, walnut, cherry and beech.  Harder woods, like ebony, would check and split when exposed to the climate of Europe.  New methods were devised to saw these timbers into thin veneers, which could be then glued to a domestic substrate wood, combining the beauty of imported wood with the stability of air dried domestic timber.

These veneers, and the methods developed to apply them, created a new tradesman, the "ebeniste."  This term was a direct reference to a woodworker who worked with ebony, and, as a logical extension, exotic wood sawn veneers.  The golden age of ebenistes included such legends as Gole, Boulle, and Roubo.  Without protein glues their craft would never have existed.

There are many different types of animal protein derived glues, and several varieties of each type are used for various specialized applications.

Colle De Poisson or "Fish Glue"

For example, fish glue is produced from different species of fish and different parts of each type of fish.  Fish glue is normally liquid at room temperature and has a fairly long shelf life, at room temperature.  You can expect it to remain useful for up to 5 years or more, depending on the quality of the glue.  Fish glue is made and sold in Canada by Lee Valley and sold in the US by Norland Industries.  Fish glue is what we use to hold brass, pewter, ivory, mother of pearl, horn, and other non wood materials to a wood substrate.  Fish glue cleans up very easily with cold water.  It also has a very low sheer resistance to creep, which allows the non metal elements of the surface to remain stuck as the wood substrate expands and contracts during environmental fluctuations.  Toothing the metal (on the glue side) and rubbing the surface with a fresh clove of garlic prior to applying the glue is the traditional method.

192 Gram Hide Glue and Traditional Glue Pot

Animal hide, connective tissue and ligaments, and animal bones are generally cooked until they become a glue.  Hide glue is used by itself, bone glue is used by itself, and blends of the two are also used in woodworking, usually 1/3 bone to 2/3 hide.  Hide glues are graded using a Bloom gelometer, which is an interesting tool.  You should Google it and see for your self.  It is important to note that these glues are sold in a "gram strength" number which ranges from around 50 to 500.  The confusion is that people imagine the higher gram strength number indicates a stronger glue.  This is false.

All grades of hide glue have adhesive strengths which are comparable.  The difference is that the lower the gram strength the slower the glue sets and the more flexible the bond.  The higher the gram strength the faster the glue sets and the more brittle the bond.

I buy all my protein hide glue from Milligan and Higgins.  If you have questions, I encourage you to call them directly.  Milligan and Higgins  Use extension 18 to talk with Jay Utzig, my favorite glue chemist.  If he is not fishing, then he is at work.

The use of a traditional double boiler glue pot is no longer in fashion.  I use one in my shop, and have done so for nearly 50 years.  I turn it on when I arrive and the last thing I do when I leave is turn it off.  I have many videos on my YouTube channel ("3815utah") talking about using this glue, as well as the excellent videos posted on WoodTreks:  Using Animal Protein Glue

Processed Glue vrs Organic Glue

When I researched methods to modify protein hide glues by lowering the gel point, I eventually developed a formula which I began selling as Old Brown Glue.  It has been nearly 20 years that this glue has been available and the demand is growing exponentially.  I knew that if the glue worked like I thought it did, then every woodworker who discovered it would tell two of his friends.  By this method the word of mouth has created a demand that requires me to cook hundreds of pounds of glue each month.  Lots of bottles, caps, labels, boxes, shipping labels, billing and so forth.  Old Brown Glue has become a business on its own and has exceeded my modest expectations.

I have been asked by luthiers if Old Brown Glue would work for their instrument construction.  I know that luthiers understand qualities of different glues better then furniture makers, and I believe that there is a real application for liquid glues, in addition to hot glues, depending on the project.  Years ago I was approached by one of the most famous guitar makers in America.  They wanted to test my glue to see if it would work in their production run.  They were making a special 50th anniversary edition of their signature guitar and were instructed to use methods and materials which were as close as possible to the original.  I sent them glue and they tested it for two years.  Finally they decided it worked perfectly and began ordering a lot of glue.

I repeatedly called them to ask permission for posting on this blog, using their company name.  I must say that the legal department of the guitar business is much more difficult to have a conversation with compared to the production line workers.

In any event, no response.  Thus, in trying to avoid any direct legal conflict, I will merely post this YouTube video, which I found online: Guitar Factory Tour I think you will be interested in the glue used at the 2 minute mark.  I would also like to post here one of my favorite guitars:

Favorite Guitar Patent

There is another type of protein glue, rabbit skin glue.
Rabbit Skin Glue
This glue is diluted much more then hide glue and works perfectly with gold leaf and gesso.  It is not practical to use for woodwork, as it is much too thin.

I created this simple chart for understanding protein glue:

Temperature vrs. Humidity

Hide glues and their working characteristics are a function of temperature and hydration.  Dry glues are first hydrated with cold water, approximately 50/50.  The better quality the glue the faster it will absorb the water.  Then the hydrated glue is heated to around 140 degrees where it becomes liquid.  Glue can be heated and cooled as many times as you want, as long as the temperature does not exceed 180 degrees.

Animal hide glue, both Old Brown Glue and Hot Hide Glue, is unique in that it can be in various states (solid, gel, liquid) without damaging the quality of the glue.  It can be repeatedly frozen, thawed, heated, cooled and so forth as many times as you want, as long as it doesn't get moldy or heated to the boiling point.  The same process used to mix it (add cold water and then heat) reverses to cure it (loss of heat and then loss of moisture.)

The rapid loss of heat in hot glue makes it perfect for a fast tack.  Then, more gradually, it looses moisture into the wood and into the environment, for a full cure.  Old Brown Glue takes much longer to tack, so it has a much longer open time.  It then cures more slowly as it looses moisture much more slowly, achieving a full cure in a matter of a few days.  Both types of glue create an equally strong bond.

Why not try some of my Old Brown Glue today?  After all, I make it fresh every day.  I will leave you this email, one of many such emails I receive every day from satisfied users of OBG.  I asked Dave for his permission to copy this message.  He said it would be fine with him.

I came across your glue whilst researching how to build a cigar box violin. I had made plenty of cigar box guitars but a violin was a whole new challenge so required lots of research and reading. I saw many articles mention hide glue as being the way to go for musical instruments because of the potential to reverse the glued joint without damage to the wood so I looked in my local store to see if they carried any - I knew Titebond did a hide glue, I had seen it on a TV show once and figured a big store would carry it. Fortunately, as it turns out, they did not. 
More reading made me think twice about their version, seems it has extra additives and is not as simple and 'traditional' as your product. Thankfully my local Woodcraft store carries OBG so I picked up a small bottle.
I played around with it on a few test samples and very much liked the grab I got from just a plain rubbed joint with no clamping at all, a couple of days later the bond seemed very strong.
So I used it exclusively on the construction of my first ever cigar box violin. Much to my pleasant surprise this instrument actually played pretty well - I am no violin player but it made a good strong sound and stayed in tune quite well.
However after sharing some video of me playing it on a fiddle forum and reading more articles I came to the conclusion that the angle of the neck/fingerboard was wrong and the 'action' (the height of the strings above the fingerboard) was too high at the end near the body. If I had used regular white woodglue this would have been un-repairable and I would just have to have put up with it and learned a lesson for my next build. Because I had used OBG however I figured I would have a go at fixing this. I wrapped the body of the fiddle in a plastic bag to make sure I did not loosen any glued joints there, set up a small pan on a simple electric ring my wife uses for cooking her plant dyes and got the water boiling away. I held the neck of the violin over this and moved it back and forth for about ten minutes, then applied some very gentle pressure between the fingerboard and the neck using the handle of a metal knife. The end of the fingerboard nearest the body immediately separated a fraction of an inch away from the neck so I held it open and let the steam play in the crack. A couple more minutes and a little more gentle pressure and suddenly the whole fingerboard popped right off. There was no damage at all to either glued surface and only a couple of very small flakes of glue sticking up which sanded right off very some very fine paper. Since I understand that your glue will stick to itself I do not even need to worry about trying to clean up the surfaces before gluing anything else to them. I made a long thin wedge which I have now glued to the neck, that should be dry enough today for me to glue the fingerboard to it and the repair will be complete!
So I shall be using your glue for many more projects (where it is appropriate) and recommending it to anyone else I talk to. I love the nature of the product and the way your business works and wish you all the best of success.
Many thanks
Dave Perks (Sacramento Ca)

This Just In!  It seems that Popular Woodworking magazine is out with an informative article by Christopher Schwarz called "The Best Glue for Furniture?"  He discusses liquid glue and you can either pick up a copy or click here for a taste: Popular Woodworking Magazine: Glue