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A glue pot is a tool which is designed to keep hot glues at a stable temperature, making them easy to work with. One of the most ancient forms of glue, hide glue, requires a glue pot to be worked with, and some modern synthetic glues are also designed to be used hot. Many craft stores sell glue pots, and they can also be purchased from companies which specialize in woodworking supplies and musical instrument making equipment. In a pinch, a glue pot can also be improvised.
Glue pots work a lot like slow cookers and other slow heating electrical devices. The glue pot is plugged in, set at a specific temperature, and allowed to heat. The temperature setting depends on the glue being used; most glues which need to be used hot come with temperature recommendations. As the glue pot heats, it melts the glue, relaxing its chemical bonds and making it easy to apply with a swab, brush, or similar tool.
Many synthetic glues come in the form of pellets which can be dropped into a glue pot; it is also possible to find sticks of glue, which can also be used in hot glue guns. Natural hide glue often comes in the form of a granulated powder which needs to be rehydrated before use. Hide glue also benefits from being heated inside a hot water bath, rather than heated directly in a glue pot; some people use a double boiler system to heat hide glue for this reason.
Once someone is done using a glue pot, it should be cleaned unless the same glue is going to be used again. Some people prefer to discard unused glue out of concern that it may pick up impurities or make weaker bonds when heated again. Many glue pots have removable glue containers to make melting easier, while industrial pots may require serious elbow grease for cleaning.
The advantages to many heated glues is that they form very strong chemical bonds as they cool, ensuring tight glue jobs which will last. For this reason, they are favored by furniture makers and people who construct musical instruments, to ensure that furnishing and instruments do not break apart with use. Hot glues also tend to bond very quickly, reducing the need for clamps, as they will start to bond as soon as they cool off outside the glue pot.