Noriko glue or something that'll do the job


Does anyone out there have a source for Norkio glue? Or perhaps might have a recipe for something that’ll work for putting a skin on a tsugaru shamisen. Such as … regular rice glue (Mochiko) with a good dollop of gorilla glue … though I have to say that something tells me that that won’t work very well.
Catherine in Canada


I wondered about this as well. I searched far and wide for ingredients that I could mix with mochiko to make noriko but alas to no avail.

One on the things I considered was mixing traditional Japanese seaweed glue (traditionally used to mount ink paintings) with noriko but I couldn’t find a source for it to give it a try.

I did come across some kind of Chinese glue called noriko that apparently is used for ping pong. Not only could I not get my hands on any but I couldn’t find out its ingredients either :blush:

It would be really awesome if someone came up with a recipe for noriko (or something noriko-like).


Nori is very easy to make and it works very well, but I have only used it on nagauta shamisen. It is 4 TBS glutinous rice flour and 4 TBS water. In a pot heat the mixture over low heat until it gets very sticky and thick. I have found that using less water makes the glue thicker and stronger.

It does work and is very strong.


I was under the impression that plain rice flour was mochiko and noriko had an extra ingredient like PVA or something.


For attaching a skin you would use pure rice glue as Jessica mentioned. It is very strong and can be removed without damaging the wood the next time the skin is replaced.


Oh my, there’s so much I’ve missed out on!

Catherine, and others, we can get that for you, if you desire.

Cody: I didn’t know about that, but I wouldn’t be surprised. There is sure something synthetic in there. There’s a warning to keep it away from children.

Regular rice glue works great for nagauta shamisen. However, for getting the tension for tsugaru shamisen, it’s simply not strong enough. When the clamps are removed, the skin is under enormous tension as it wants to return to it’s natural state. Thus, even with the strong noriko, the craftsman has to work really fast to get the sides glued down, otherwise it will pop off. With plain rice glue, it would pop off as soon as half of the clamps are removed.

The dou actually doesn’t get really damaged. It dissolves with water, so you just have to do a light sanding after scraping the dissolved glue away.


Hi Kyle,
oh, that would be great if I could order some through you guys. Is it possible to add it to the order i recently put in?


Sure! I’ll write Nitta san now.


For my last go at skinning I used hot hide glue. I used hide glue for joining the rest of the instrument; it seems even more appropriate for attaching the hide!

Being very strong, yet reversible, it is commonly used for stringed instrument construction (western, at least). Here’s a description:

I mix my hide glue in a small bottle, using equal volumes of dry glue and water. Mixed glue can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Many people find baby bottle warmers work well as a heater. I found a “potpourri crock pot” at a thrift store, which holds a steady 135°F. For a quick job, I often just reheat the glue in the microwave for ten to twenty seconds.

I used a “skin-stretcher” approach for my last shamisen build. Before removing the tension, I checked for any spots that hadn’t attached well. Using a heat gun, I could remelt the glue locally to get a good bond. You can’t do that with rice glue! It also worked better (for me, anyway) for gluing down the skin overhang.


you gotta give us a vid so we know what it sounds like :smiley:


Really interesting!

I bump Liam’s idea!


I’ve used waterproof classic Titebond with optimal results… I know it’s for wood, but in my experience works well on goat skin…


Old Brown Glue is pre mixed hide glue. Put the bottle in boiling water to heat. I used Kyle’s stretching method with heavy duty tarp clips and got an amazingly taut and well secured skin (calf).


Turns out that I’ve used old brown glue on all my shamisens. Works really well (never had a skin pull off) and has a nice long open time.
One thing, in my experience putting it in some hot water at around 140 degrees F or a little less seems optimum. I think that boiling water could weaken it, though to be fair I haven’t tried that.
The old brown glue is very different than say the titebond hide glue. The old brown only has hide glue mixed with, i think, urea to lengthen the open time. Have used it at times in my guitar making as well.


With no thermometer handy I just heated until it ran well. My craftmanship style is sloppy, impatient, and safety averse. If I’m not bleeding on my work I’m not working fast enough :face_with_head_bandage::wink:


After 4 skins successfully glued, a couple more comments: one skin was tight but had a few small sags. A little heat gun took them out and raised the tap tone a fifth overall. Glue had dried full 24 hours. For the last little edge of the skirt that hangs over the side I used StewMac guitar binding tape to hold down for gluing: a great thing to have around the shop for holding things down when clamps just don’t fit.