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Yesterday, Glen Huey squeezed out equal amounts of Old Brown Glue and Titebond liquid hide glue onto two glass plates, then we walked around the offices accosting F+W employees, thrust the plates under their noses, and said, “Here , smell this!” We got some strange looks , especially when I whipped out the camera. But most people were game, even though Glen prefaced the sniff test with, “Which one smells worse?” Now if a stranger (we don’t get out of our area much) walked up to me with unidentified brown gooey stuff on a plate and said, “Which one smells worse,” I’m pretty sure I’d recoil and decline to participate. But just about everyone was game, and the results were surprising.

Glen is working on a liquid hide glue story for the Winter 2009 Woodworking Magazine (on newsstands Dec. 15), and one objection we’ve heard to hide glue is that it has a rather noticeable and pervasive scent (though that’s usually in reference to cooking hot hide glue). So, we were trying to get a consensus on which liquid hide glue was most offensive on an olfactory front, just for fun. Among the woodworking staff members, 100 percent picked Old Brown Glue as the most redolent.

We then took the test to the staffers for our art and writing magazines, a couple support staff people, IT and creative services. Among the non-woodworkers, Titebond was the smelliest. I don’t know what that tells us…¦except that if you’re on a date with a woodworker, go for eau de Titebond.

– Megan Fitzpatrick


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Showing 6 comments
  • Kerry Doyle

    could a scratch & sniff fold-out of the glue of the month be next? Having returned earlier this week fromn the sawmill, I can attest that even the olfactory sense is mightily employed in woodworking, Glues, woods, shop conditions- it’s always good to have an awareness of what’s going on.

  • Steven Burton

    This article reminded me of sniff-er ah smelling model airplane glue as a child. No wood glue that I know of smells that rank.

  • Blaine Harrison

    Hey Glen,

    Sometimes ya just gotta have fun. Look at this as humorous, not necessarily informative… unless you’re into smelling stuff others don’t care about.

  • Glen Morgan

    Thank you,for this inciteful waste of time. I expect to learn from this website. Didn’t learn much hear.

  • Robert Finley

    This is the smellyest story I have read. LOL
    Oh, well. I quit using hide glue years back and have no desire to ever return to using it. No, I do not restore antique furniture.

  • Rob Young

    The Titebond reminds me of the smell of wet, slick, dog-slobbery, rawhide bones. Hmmm, wonder why that is Wilber?

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