What is Liquid Hide We’ve all heard of horses going to the glue factory. But what part of the horse did they actually make into glue. Sorry folks, no it’s not the whole horse. There were actually three glues made from a horse.
Number 1: the least common, blood glue.
This had a weak holding power and was typically used for either a stain (being washed off after application and leaving only a stain) or for very temporary holdings (the way we would use tape today).
Number 2: actually used the skin of the horse.
This was a reasonably usable glue. It was able to be made in large quantities, for obvious reasons, and it had a decent amount of holding power. But it was commonly used for jigs and fixtures and other things that you knew you’d be taking apart in a few days for weeks.
Number 3: the liquid hide we actually think of, when it’s referred to, is actually not made of the whole hide it is only made of the snout and the soft pad under the hoof of the horses foot.
This obviously meaning you don’t get to make as much from any particular horse. This is the stuff that we hear about, that held very well, started with an initial tack, would hold for decades and like all the others was reversible with nothing more than steam.
All three of these glues are made in the same fashion. Basically they throw the parts into a big pot and boil it until everything turns into mush and then boil it down a little more until it gets a little bit of thickness too it. Then it’s dried out completely into flakes, broken up and sold. To use it, you put it in a pot with a little bit of water and re-boil it, returning it to its former goo. Simple stuff, simply works, really stinky to make.