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Cheese-Glue-art - 10/29/17


"Cheese Glue" by Mistress Alexandra Hartshorne, OL.


NOTE: See also the files: cheese-msg, Aged-Cheese-art, glues-msg, milk-msg, dairy-prod-msg, Dairy-Prodcts-art, sealing-wax-msg, Working-Horn-art.





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Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



You can find more work by this author on her blog at:



Cheese Glue

by Mistress Alexandra Hartshorne, OL


Participants: Alex, Georgia, Fiona, Clare

Items: Milk as two forms of cheese and milk


Original Recipe


Cennini - To Make a Glue out of Lime and Cheese.

Chapter CXII

Ends the Fifth Section of this Book


There is a glue used by workers in wood; this is made of cheese. After putting it to soak in water, work it over with a little quicklime, using a little board with both hands. Put it between the boards; it joins them and fastens them together well. And let this suffice you for the making of various kinds of glue.




Firstly this recipe does not specify the type of cheese to use, soft, semi-soft or hard. So this needs to be attempted with all types of the cheese to test for the most appropriate type.


Attempts using different quantities of water (ie think/thin mixtures) will be needed as well.




Cheese, quicklime, water, milk.




Soak cheese in water (until soft?)

Mix quicklime (be careful as this will release heat) using boards (not your hands)

Mix in a little milk if it is too thick.

Put mixture between boards to set.


Our Process




One attempt at making an Asiago cheese has failed. I will use the good parts of the cheese as the hard cheese attempt for this recipe.


I have also made some quark, which is a soft cheese. I will use this as the soft cheese attempt.


As I am unable to make semi-soft cheeses (I have no way to control humidity accurately enough) I will buy some cheap camembert or brie for the semi-soft attempt. [We never got to this part!!]


Making Quicklime


Lime can come from limestone or from sea shells.




Heat the lime to red hot for a minimum of 3 minutes.


Our Process:


Attempt 1: We attempted to make quicklime, using limestone from a paver.


We had two different types of limestone paver, a light coloured one called 'natural' and a darker coloured one called 'honey limestone'.

These paver also had different striations and shattered differently. We broke these into manageable pieces and filled two crucibles with them (Hulk, smash!).


We then used the furnace to bake the limestone. Firstly lighting the fire in the furnace from char cloth!


Unfortunately the provider of the furnace (Master Owen) was a little over zealous with the time taken to heat up the crucibles and they both cracked. Which you can see in the pictures.


We also tested the limestone at several points to see if it began to fizzle (a sign that it has been at temperature long enough).

This doesn't seem to have worked, mostly we believe, because it was possibly reconstituted limestone and may have had other additives, which inhibited the process.


Breaking up the pavers - Starting the furnace - getting the pavers hot


Crucibles heating up - testing for quicklime


Attempt 2: Next attempt will be sea shells.


This time we used sea shells from shell grit for birds (which is tiny, tiny shells and almost sand like).


We heated the shells red hot for about 5 minutes using a gas torch. This seems to have worked, creating a small amount of quicklime.



Shell grit - heating shell grit with the gas torch - quicklime!


Final Product:


We made the quicklime in the evening and let it soak overnight to create a lime water. We then used this lime water, mixed with the cheese, to make a glue solution.


Making the lime water - asiago mix - quark mix


Bits of wood stuck together - samples for display/final entry


Final Entry




·      We tried two sets of quicklime with only one working. I will know better for next time what to look for in regards to colour changes (red hot and white hot) as well as products to use. Don't use pavers!

·      The asiago was a complete fail. The intent of the recipe is to use the glue straight away and this cheese (and probably any hard cheese) will take too much time to soften sufficiently in the implied timeframe.

·      Quark makes pretty awesome looking glue. Not sure of its effectiveness as yet, but good start. It has the consistency of Aquahere, which is good.

·      It was very fun to have tried the furnace approach and starting it from char cloth and steel.

·      Don't eat the paste....


Additional Notes after the fact:


The glue held really well. I needed a hammer to separate the two bits of wood I had glued together.



Copyright 2016 by Alex Rapp. <alexandrammrapp at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>


Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org