How to Make Pine Pitch Glue

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Pine pitch glue can be used for everything from putting a knife handle on, making a basket watertight, or even making arrows.  It’s a glue that humans have been using for years and goes back to ancient times. Pine pitch glue is made from readily available ingredients in the environment. The most difficult ingredient to source for pine pitch glue would be charcoal because it can’t be the charcoal that you get out of the store. Pine pitch glue requires charcoal that is from a wood fire and that is hardwood.

  1. First collect your charcoal for use in pine pitch glue. This can be any charcoal that’s at the bottom of a wood fire in your yard, and your wood stove, or your fireplace. As long as it was homemade charcoal with hardwood it should work fine. Charcoal works as a binder for the glue. Another binder that works well in addition to charcoal would be rabbit droppings, or ground dry grass.
  2. Next, gather pine sap. Sap can be found on trees generally where there’s a cut. You can find cuts on trees in any season, but winter is best because it hardens and it’s easier to pick off.
  3. After you’ve gathered up the amount of pine sap that you would like to use, you have to slowly bring it into a liquid state by heating it over a low flame. This can be done in a old cleaned tin can over a grill as long as you’re careful not to overheat it. Overheating it destroys the terpenes which are in it. These are the materials that make it sticky. Another way to heat it without overheating it is on a double boiler. However the material is so sticky it would be almost impossible to get it out of the double boiler so that it can be used for other things later.
  4. While you’re babysitting the pine tree SAP over your grill or your double boiler, take the charcoal and grind it up into a fine powder. Once you have nice liquid pine tar in your tin can or double boiler, add the finely ground charcoal to this mixture. The ratio is a bit of an art rather than a science, but essentially what you want is something that isn’t too thick and not too thin. A rough estimate is 4 parts pine tar liquid to 1 part charcoal. If you put too much charcoal it’ll become very hard and very brittle when it cools. If you don’t put enough it won’t be able to bind things together. It’ll just be a sticky gooey mess continuously. It takes a little bit of practice to get it just right.
  5. Once the mixture cools a little, you can start adding it to a stick or forming it into a little ball. This little ball will be your glue. You can roll the glue between your hands, thin like a snake and coil it up. When it’s dry it should look somewhat shiny, but not gooey.
  6. When you want to use your pine pitch glue, you would have to reheat a portion that you would use, and apply it to whatever material you’re looking to glue together while it’s still warm. If made correctly, this glue is very strong.

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