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Strong, water-resistant casein glue, which produces joints
as strong as or stronger
than most of the common species of wood, is made from skim
milk and common
chemicals. Casein glue joints are water-resistant but not
waterproof. They will
withstand occasional soaking, but if soaked and dried, they
Tools and Materials
Mixer: paddle and bowl of wood, iron, or other material that
won't be corroded
by the alkali in the glue.
Scale or balance
Hydrated lime, [CA(OH).sub.2], also known as slaked lime.
This should be a good quality
lime: high in calcium and low in magnesia.
Silicate of soda, also called "waterglass" or
sodium silicate. The preferred solution
should have a density of about 40 degrees Baume (Density
1.38) with a ratio of
silica to soda of approximately 3.25 to 1.
Cupric chloride, [CuCl.sub.2] (cupric sulfate, [CuSO.sub.4],
also called "blue vitreol" can be
Wire screen or 20-mesh sieve with 0.033" (0.84mm)
Cloth for squeezing moisture out of curds
Making Casein Powder
Casein powder is made from skim milk by the following steps:
o Let the milk
sour naturally or sour it by slowly adding dilute hydrochloric or
until curds form. The milk will separate into curd and whey.
o Drain the whey
off. Wash the curd by adding water and draining it off.
o Press the curd
in a cloth to remove most of the moisture.
o Break the curd
into small particles and spread it out to dry.
o Grind the dry
curd to a powder and pass it through a 20-mesh screen.
Mixing Casein Glue
Proportions for Glue
Formula 11 (not restricted by patent), U.S. Forest Products
Parts by Weight
150 to 250
Hydrated Lime (powder)
20 to 30
Silicate of soda (solution)
Cupric chloride (powder)
2 to 3
30 to 50
If hydrated lime is not available, quicklime (CaO) can be
used in the following
A mixture of 15.1 parts CaO and 104.9 parts water by weight
can be substituted
for 20 hydrated lime and 100 water.
A mixture of 23.5 CaO and 106.5 water can substitute for 30
hydrated lime and
When CaO is added to the water, it must be stirred for 15
minutes to get a
The bowl and paddle for mixing casein glue should be made of
wood, iron, or
some other material that will not be corroded by the alkali
in the glue and can
be cleaned easily. All the ingredients should be weighed
rather than measured by
volume so that the proportions will be accurate. It is
especially important not to
use too much water.
o Put the casein
and water in the mixing bowl and mix them well enough to
water throughout the casein. If the casein used has been
ground to pass
through a 20-mesh screen, let it soak in the water for 15 to
before going on to the next step. The soaking period can be
reduced if the
casein is ground more finely.
o Mix the hydrated
lime and water in a separate container.
o Dissolve the
cupric chloride in water in a separate container and add it,
to the moistened casein.
o Immediately pour
the hydrated lime-water mixture into the casein mixture.
When casein and
lime are mixed, large lumps form at first but they break up
finally disappear. The solution becomes somewhat thinner.
stirring is very important at this point.
o About a minute
after the lime is mixed with the casein, the glue begins to
thicken. Add the
silicate of soda at this time.
o The glue will
thicken momentarily, but continue stirring the mixture until
the glue is free
of lumps. This should take no longer than 20 minutes.
If the glue is a
little too thick, a small amount of water can be added. If it
is too thin,
start the whole process over again, using a smaller proportion of
Using Casein Glue
The working life of glue is the length of time it stays
fluid enough to be
workable. The silicate of soda extends this time. The glue
produced by the
formula used here will be usable for more than 7 hours at
21C and 24C (70F and 75F). Working life will be shorter at
Casein glue is fluid enough to be spread by a roll spreader
or by hand with a
brush or scraper. Very heavy spreads are wasteful because
excess glue will be
squeezed from the bond. Very light spreads can produce weak
joints. A suggested
minimum is 29.5 kilograms (65 pounds) of wet glue per 92.8
square meters (1,000
square feet) of glue-joint area.
To obtain good contact between wooden members of a joint,
apply pressure while
the glue is still wet. There is not much drying before 15 or
20 minutes. Under
ordinary circumstances, a pressure of 105,450 to 140,600
kilograms per square
meter (150 to 200 pounds per square inch) will give good
If casein glue joints are exposed for long periods to
conditions that favor the
growth of molds, they will eventually fail. The joints will
be permanent only if
the moisture content of the wood is not greater than 18 to
20 percent for long
or repeated periods.
Dry casein can be kept for a long time in a cool, dry place.
Casein Glues: Their Manufacture, Preparation, and
Application. Madison, Wisconsin:
Forest Products Laboratory, Forest Service, U.S. Department
Dr. Louis Navias, VITA Volunteer, Schenectady, New York
LIQUID FISH GLUE
Cold liquid glue can be made from the heads, skins, and
skeletal wastes of cod,
haddock, mackerel, hake, and pollack. A great advantage of
liquid fish glue is
that it remains in liquid form and consequently has an
almost permanent working
life. An advantage of using it to make wood joints is that
it sets slowly and
therefore penetrates further than other glues before
Since liquid fish glues are not very water-resistant, a
casein or other glue should
be used where water-resistance is needed. Thick fish glues
produce stronger joints
than thin solutions.
Tools and Materials
Fish heads, skins, and skeletal waste
Large pan for washing fish parts
Steam bath or double boiler
Paddle for stirring
Filter, such as cheese cloth
To make the glue:
o Wash the fish
material thoroughly to remove blood, dirt and salt. If salted
fish are used,
wash them in running water for 12 hours.
o Once the material
is washed and drained, put it into a large container, cover
it with water,
and cook it slowly at a low temperature, about 60 [degrees] C 140 [degrees] F).
Cooking in an
open pot helps to eliminate unpleasant odors in the glue. A
steam bath or
double boiler should be set up so that live steam surrounds
the pot. Stir the
contents occasionally. The length of the cooking period
varies with the
kind of fish material used.
o Let the cooked
mixture settle. Skim off and discard the grease. Pour the
contents of the pot onto a filter.
o Concentrate the
filtered fluid by slow heating to the desired thickness. This
is the glue; it
can be stored in convenient containers.
o Take the fish
material remaining on the filter and cook it again to extract
more glue, then
repeat the filtering and concentrating.
Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.
Paul I. Smith. Glue and Gelatine, Chemical Publishing Co.,
Thomas D. Perry. Modern Wood Adhesives. Pitman Publishing
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