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"Tips and Tricks"

Recovering Bellows
Using PVC-E Glue

Reference Materials

Should PVC-E glue be used when recovering bellows?

   This is a topic that has come up in many places for the past three decades. Back in the 60's, white glues and yellow glues were commonly used by professionals and novices because it was easy to use and it gave the user more time for positioning the cloth than hot animal hide glue. While these types of glues appeared to do a good job at sealing the cloth to the wood, it was later discovered that the seal wasn't always perfect, but we'll discuss that later. The real problem with these glues didn't start rearing it's ugly head (becoming an obvious problem) until it was time to replace the bellows cloth again. It was then that it was discovered that getting the old white or yellow glue off of the wood was a painstaking and messy process; often leading to the need to replace the wood for one or more reasons. This treatise will offer a methodology that will allow the use of PVC-E without concern about future problems.

   In the later part of 2016, the companies that had been supplying rubberized striker pneumatic cloth to the trade started running low on stock. So, they sent orders to the major manufacturer. Almost two years later, all of the cloth was gone! So, professionals and novices were forced to use nylon cloth, which doesn't easily glue to wood with animal hide glue. However, the recommended glue for gluing nylon cloth to wood is PVBC-E glue. So, after years of discussions and arguments about the horrors of using white and yellow glue when recovering bellows, it seemed that there simply isn't any other option. So, now what??

UPDATE: Player-Care is now recommending our ""Plastic Glue" for gluing nylon cloth to wood. It doesn't stretch like PVC-E glue.

   After considering the problem, it was suggested by a rebuilder that sealing the wood with hot hide glue, before gluing the cloth to the wood, might solve the problem of the white or yellow glue getting embedded into the fibers of the wood. And, therefore, it might be easier to remove the white or yellow glue at a future date. So, I started running some tests.

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This page was last revised October 30, 2017 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
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