Glue for Line & Berry Work


Well-known member
I am working on a PA Spice Chest that I want to include some Line & Berry in the project. I have practice on cutting in the design on scrap pieces and have reached the point that I am ready for the Chest. I have researched some articles as to what glue can be used for the setting of the string & berries, with many suggesting different glues. So what I would like to know are the Pros & Cons of the glues that have been used by Sapfm members.

White glue, hot Hyde glue, Old Brown Glue, Gorilla Glue, Titebond etc.

Rich Nimetz

Hi Rich,
I do a lot of inlay work, especially Line and Berry, and I generally use Titebond. Works fine and I have never had any issues. I would not use hot hide glue due to the short working time. I wouldn't use Gorilla glue (too many reasons to list). Old Brown glue would be fine, and I have used it when I happened to have some already warmed up and convenient.
In any case, do not do the final levelling/scraping of the inlays the same day you glue it in... Leave it a hair proud of the surface... You don't want the inlay shrinking below the field as the moisture from the glue dries out.
  Rich, I've done quite a few spice chests and inlay for other pieces. I just used good ole yellow glue.  If you want more set up time, white glue is fine. I apply it with a syringe and cut-off needle (I get from a hospital) but these are also wonderful for this purpose.....


The question I have is this, do you want open time, reversibility, a glue that doesn't effect finishes, a glue that is stronger then another.  If this is of interest to you, then old brown glue is hands down the best. If you want something to set up quickly for non structural aspects then use fish glue.

Personally I don't use yellow glue and don't see the why to use anything but protein glue for there are just way too many benefits.  If you want to talk more about it call me at 860-670-2584 for I can talk to about all the pros and cons.

I prefer watered down hot hide glue. I use the plastic syringes from Lee Valley and drop the syringe in a cup of hot water between applications. This is mainly because it's all I usually have in my shop.

I have used slightly watered down yellow glue in the past. But I generally don't keep yellow glue on hand.

Patrick Edwards  uses his old brown glue, and has many blog entries on his blog explaining how he uses it in different situation.

Although I agree with Freddy that protein glues are really all you need. I usually tell people not to experiment on a project. And inlays generally once they go in, they do not come out. So I would suggest you use what your most comfortable with, since you are familiar with the working properties of it already.
I have found that the bleeding of yellow glue can cause a shading effect where different stains are not excepted uniformly. Practice on another piece before adding your coloring agent.  White or hide glues don't seem to have the same problems once scraped and sanded. Always wait a day or two after the setting of inlays and bandings for glue moisture expansion and then contraction. Elmer's white containers in a child size with a screw on and off orange tip also works well and is usually cheaper than a syringe.
Another vote for thin, retarded animal glue. The glue also acts as a lubricant for the hammer when running in the lines.
I want to thank everyone for all the information about different glues. I did some testing on some scrap material with all the glues mentioned and feel the best for me would be Old Brown Glue.

Instead of using a syringe type applicator I have tested out a 2oz Nalgene drop-dispenser from REI. I was in Denver Co. over the Holidays and while doing some shopping I found these little 2oz bottles, with a screw on dispensing cap. With a small pin hole placed through the neck it distributed most of the test materials with ease. The REI number is 63420 and their web site is The cost on line is $3.45 each. I found these bottles work very well. Now on to the project.

Rich Nimetz