Thursday, February 9, 2012

Old Brown Glue Invades Canada!

For years now we have been selling individual bottles of our Old Brown Glue to several different countries. We are, in fact, international in scope, thanks to the web. We have had people in Germany, France, England, Australia and other countries inquire about distribution and supply.

Until now, we have only sold our glue in the states, either directly from our business, Antique Refinishers, Inc., in San Diego, or through Tools For Working Wood in New York, Highland Hardware in Atlanta, Woodcraft in Alphretta, Georgia and Mahoot Tool and Supply in Fort Bragg, California.

One of the problems with international sales is the relatively high cost of shipping. For example, to send a $20 bottle of glue to a person in Canada, the postage is usually more than $34. Even at that cost we have been selling a good amount of product to that country.

I suspect that one of the reasons our glue is so popular up there is that it is not affected by freezing. As most woodworkers know, if a synthetic glue freezes, it never works properly after it thaws out. Old Brown Glue returns to its normal state after freezing, with no negative results. Think of the qualities of water, for example. Water can be frozen, liquid or vapor, depending on the temperature. It can go from one state (solid, liquid or gas) to another as many times as you want and always remain H2O.

Old Brown Glue is exactly like that (except for the vapor state). It can be solid, gel or liquid depending on the temperature and humidity. When it is frozen or dry (in the joint) it is solid. In the bottle at room temperature it is a gel. When heated to operating temperature (120-140 degrees F) it is liquid. Like water, you can go from one state to another as many times as you like without damaging its qualities.

Now for the first time Old Brown Glue is available through a major distributor in another country, Canada. We are very pleased to have been asked by Lee Valley & Veritas to supply them with our product. We were waiting for them to stock their stores and post the page in their online catalogue before we made this announcement.

I have always admired Lee Valley & Veritas over the years. During the many wood shows I participated in I would always spend lots of time in their booth. I am sure that they spent a lot of time removing the drool marks I left on their samples. It is an honor to be associated with them and I am personally glad they have decided to carry our particular glue, since it is a modern formulation of a traditional glue which is unique in its working properties.

If you are a woodworker in Canada, I suggest you get some of this glue and do your own testing with it. I believe that you will appreciate the fact that it has a longer open time, easier clean up and superior strength that makes it a joy to use. It is also important that it is non toxic and made of simple organic protein modified with common urea, so that there is no hazard to your health, your kids or pets in the workshop.

After you try it, send me a note and tell me what you think. Of course, since I have been using it every day in my restoration business for the past 20 years, I am ready and able to answer any questions you may have.


Anonymous said...


shipwright said...

Great news Patrick. I live a half hour from my Lee Valley store and love the glue. Now I won't have to bring it back from Az every year.

Paul Miller

Schuyler said...

Great news, picking some up this weekend. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Great news!

Can OBG be used for bent laminations (i.e, does it produce a hard glue line, not subject to creep?

Jim B

W. Patrick Edwards said...

Yes, of course. OBG works perfectly for laminations.

Use the search tool on my blog to find my full answer to this question.

Anonymous said...

Good news on the Canada encroachment. A tangental question but since I'll be using your Old Brown Glue maybe you can answer it. I want to make some shopmade plywood for a cabinet I'm making and was wondering how thin the plies need to be in order for it to be dimensionally stable? I have often wondered about plywood since it seemingly violates our understanding of the movement of wood. It doesn't seem to expand and contract like solid wood nor does it delaminate from the grain being cross glued.

W. Patrick Edwards said...

I have used OBG many times to make special laminations, including "plywood". I am currently making a series of marquetry boxes and I do not want the tops to warp. To solve this problem, I am gluing a 1mm mahogany core between two layers of 6mm multi ply, with the grains perpendicular. When this comes out of the press, I add 2cm of solid beech wood around the edges for the hinges, etc. Finally, I glue the 1mm face and backing marquetry on this core.

You can use very thin material or even thick material to laminate a ply. It should be balanced by having the same layers top and bottom. It also should be left in the press for a day or two, since it takes longer for all the moisture to dissipate.

The reason that plywood does not suffer dimensional shrinkage and crack is due to two primary reasons. First, the thin material used to make plywood is easier to dry out during manufacturing, compared to thick wood. Second, the ratio of glue surface area to wood is so great that the glue "wins".

That said, when the process of making the plywood is rushed, you can see the results in warped plywood every day at the lumber yard.