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 Rabbit-skin glue

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pollypainter



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Join date : 2011-10-03

PostSubject: Rabbit-skin glue   Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:41 pm

Does anybody know what happened to rabbit-skin glue? In a past life, I remember heating it and applying a layer on canvas before the gesso. When it dried, the glue tightened the canvas like a drumhead! It made a great taught (sp?) surface. Nobody mentions it anymore. Is it gone from the scene? Politically incorrect? Hazardous?
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Janet
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Join date : 2009-11-15
Location Location : North Bay, Ontario Canada

PostSubject: Re: Rabbit-skin glue   Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:20 am

Never used it but I have heard it mentioned several times by other artists so I don't think it's gone from the scene, politically incorrect or hazardous. I don't think it's widely used.

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dbclemons



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Join date : 2009-11-16
Location Location : Texas

PostSubject: Re: Rabbit-skin glue   Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:25 am

pollypainter wrote:
...Nobody mentions it anymore. Is it gone from the scene? Politically incorrect? Hazardous?

Nobody? Have you listened to everyone? Not hazardous, unless you're a rabbit.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit-skin glue   Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:06 pm

David,
If you have the time, could you expand on your knowledge of rabbit glue. None of us really have any experience with. Perhaps you know some links to resources that might help.
Thanks,
Judy

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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: Rabbit-skin glue   Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:09 am

Something I found interesting was this information on Wikipedia:

"Rabbit skin glue is considered to be a major cause of cracking in oil
paintings by most modern conservators. Because the glue is hygroscopic,
it continually absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, causing the glue
to swell and shrink. Over time, this constant flexing causes the brittle
oil paint to crack. Modern substitutes for rabbit skin glue are
available, such as Gamblin’s PVA size [2]
and Golden Acrylics’ GAC100. These substitutes do not have the
hygroscopic properties of rabbit skin glue, while still being very
slightly hygroscopic, and should not cause the damage to oil paints that
rabbit skin glue does. However, these modern replacements do not
stiffen and tighten the canvas as well as rabbit skin glue does, so some
artists still prefer to use rabbit skin glue."

Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit-skin_glue

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dbclemons



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Location Location : Texas

PostSubject: Re: Rabbit-skin glue   Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:57 am

Canvas itself will expand or contract in relative humidity no matter which type of sizing is used, especially cotton, but an acrylic sizing will reduce that somewhat. If you mount your fabric to a firm support first instead of stretching it over a frame then it's less of a concern.

Some things about rabbit skin glue: what you'll find on the market is rarely made of rabbits, but other animal parts. It's cheaper that way. The name comes from the strength rating (bloom strength) of the glue since RSG is stronger than what is typically made of other hides, bone marrow and hooves. This can also point to why some glue will perform better than others. A good grade of glue will have little to no odor when made into a gel. It's fairly easy to prepare but is not as simple as just opening a jar of acrylic sizing which is less foolproof.

It needs to be kept warm while in use, around 135 degrees. Sitting your container in a hot water bath with a temperature gauge is wise. RSG is a very good sizing to use on paper also. I've found that it takes 3-4 thin coats to prevent the oil from penetrating through. The first coat I apply on canvas is much more diluted than the rest so it can penetrate through the fibers better. Don't apply a solution that's too thick or too strong. You can also add a small amount of alum to the glue solution to make it tougher but still somewhat flexible.

If I'm sizing a stretched canvas, I would prefer using RSG to acrylic. It holds the paint better, in my opinion, and doesn't slide around.
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