This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
(Formulas for Glues and methods of manufacturing Glue will be found under Adhesives.)
Stuebling finds that the usual mixture of bichromate and glue when used in the ordinary way does not possess the waterproof properties with which it is generally credited. If mixed in the daylight, it sets hard before it can be applied to the surfaces to be glued, and if mixed and applied in the dark room it remains just as soluble as ordinary glue, the light being unable to penetrate the interior of the joints. Neither is a mixture of linseed oil and glue of any use for this purpose. Happening to upset a strong solution of alum—prepared for wood staining—into an adjacent glue pot, he stirred up the two together out of curiosity and left them. Wishing to use the glue a few days later, he tried to thin it down with water, but unsuccessfully, the glue having set to a waterproof mass. Fresh glue was then mixed with alum solution and used to join two nieces of wood, these resisting the action of the water completely.
Dissolve the glue in water, by heat, and while hot, add a mixture in equal parts of oxalic acid and zinc oxide, to an amount equal to about 1 per cent of the glue. After the color has been removed, strain through muslin.
The glue is soaked in cold water and dissolved in a hot 25 per cent solution of magnesium sulphate. The hot solution is filtered, and to the filtrate is added a 25 per cent solution of magnesium sulphate containing 0.5 per cent of hydrochloric acid (or, if necessary, sulphuric acid). A white flocculent precipitate is obtained which is difficult to filter. The remainder of the glue in the saline solution is extracted by treatment with magnesium sulphate.
The viscous matter is washed, then dissolved in hot water, and allowed to cool, a quantity of weak alcohol acidulated by 1 per cent of hydrochloric acid being added just before the mass solidifies. From 2 to 3 parts, by volume, of strong alcohol (methyl or ethyl) are then added and the solution filtered, charcoal being used if necessary. The glue is finally precipitated from this solution by neutralizing with ammonia and washing with alcohol or water.
The product to be examined is heated with hydrofluoric acid (50 per cent). If bone glue is present in any reasonable quantity, an intense odor of butyric acid arises at once, similar to that of Limburger cheese. But if dextrin or gum arabic is present, only an odor of dextrine or fluorhydric acid will be perceptible. Conduct the reaction with small quantities; otherwise the smell will be so strong that it is hard to remove from the room.