Rabbit skin glue is a rabbit collagen (Animal protein formed from the process of boiling the skin) It was traditionally used to protect the canvas from the damaging effect of an acid called linolenic acid contained in Oil Paint.
Rabbit skin glue, also known as hide glue, is a traditional adhesive that has been used for centuries in various forms of art, including painting, printmaking, and framing. It is made by boiling the skin, tendons, and bones of rabbits, or other animals, to extract the collagen, which is then dried and ground into a powder.
One of the main advantages of rabbit skin glue is its versatility. It can be used as a size, a sealant, a binder, and an adhesive. It can also be used to make gesso, a ground used to prepare surfaces for painting. When mixed with water, it forms a liquid adhesive that can be used to mount paper or canvas to a board, or to attach a mount to a painting. When mixed with chalk or clay, it forms a paste that can be used as a sealant or a binder for paint.
Another advantage of rabbit skin glue is its reversibility. Unlike modern synthetic adhesives, it can be easily dissolved with water, making it possible to remove and restore artwork without causing damage. This feature is especially useful for conservators and restorers working on delicate or valuable artwork.
Rabbit skin glue is also known for its excellent aging properties. It is pH-neutral, non-toxic, and does not yellow over time. This means that it will not affect the color or integrity of the artwork, and it will not become brittle or crack with age.
When using rabbit skin glue, it’s important to keep in mind that it needs to be heated and then cooled before use. The glue should be heated to 150-160 F, and then cooled to around 110-120F before it can be used. Heating the glue too much can cause it to lose its adhesive properties, while not heating it enough will make it difficult to dissolve.
One of the disadvantages of rabbit skin glue is that it has a strong odor, which can be unpleasant for some people. It also requires some care in handling as it can be flammable.
In conclusion, rabbit skin glue is a traditional adhesive that has many advantages, including versatility, reversibility, and excellent aging properties. It is a useful adhesive for many forms of art, including painting, printmaking, and framing.