Fascinating Facts – Cheese Glue


If you were under the impression that hide glue was the only sticky stuff to be garnered from animals, think again. A restorer working on a 16th-century painting discovered that the poplar panels of the painting were held together with a casein, hot water and quicklime concoction. It’s said that the sticky and thick mixture dries as hard as stone. And that it stands up to both dampness and heat. Wait. Dampness and heat are used to soften and breakdown hide glue. So is cheese glue a better wood glue?

If you’d like to make a batch to test, the recipe seems easy enough. According to Tacuinum Sanitatis, a medieval book on health, you take old cheese that’s cut into small pieces, soak it in water for at least two full days then grind it well on a marble slab. Add to the ground-up cheese an equal amount of quicklime (calcium oxide). Mix the two thoroughly and you have glue. Use immediately, of course. If it dries it will be rock hard.

— Glen D. Huey

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One thought on “Fascinating Facts – Cheese Glue

  1. Reminds me of Milk Paint, which becomes somewhat rock-like over time by reacting with CO2 in the air.

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