The pine tree is known by many names. One of which is the super market of the forest, and for good reason! Today we will be focusing on the resin of the pine tree and using it to make a very basic and primitive glue that has been used by natives and bushcrafters for centuries. Everything we need to make this glue we can get right from the pine tree with minimal effort and tools.



Harvesting pine pitch

Step 1: Locate some pine resin.

      Pine resin (also known as pitch),  not to be confused with sap (which is mostly water and sugar),  is the sticky substance that trees use to heal themselves and close up wounds. Look for resin on trees that are damaged; it will typically appear as either a clear, amber, or milky white blob on the side of the tree. Over time this may harden to become more of a crystalline form, but can still be collected and used in the same manner. 


Melting pine pitch

Step 2: Melt it down.

        Once you have a good amount of resin, we will need to melt it down. Start by gathering an arm full of squaw wood in varying thicknesses.

        Next, you will need to find a few handfuls of dry pine needles. These make an excellent tinder and take a flame well.  The needles can also be ground into a powder that will easily ignite with a few strikes of a ferrocerium rod. After that you can add in your squaw wood until you have a nice little fire. If you have trouble keeping the fire going, adding in some pine resin may help since it is extremely flammable.

        After you have a decent fire going put your resin inside of a metal container and place near the fire. Slowly heat the resin while mixing it with a stick. Be careful and make sure you heat the resin very slowly. Since it is flammable, it has a bad tendency to catch on fire, even while in the cup, if it gets too hot.


Mixing ashes into pine pitch

Step 3: Add in your thickener(s). 

       For the next step you will need to mix ashes from your fire with the pine resin you have melted down in a ratio of 3 parts resin to 1 part ash. 

        For a stronger glue, strain the impurities from your resin by pouring it through a piece of cheesecloth or an old tee shirt you no longer care about. Next (while the resin is still in liquid form) after you strain it once or as many times as needed, add either crushed, dried dung of a grass eating mammal, finely chopped dried grass, or finely chopped pine needles. Then add in your ash/charcoal dust and mix. The ratio for this recipe is 4 parts resin to 1 part dung/grass/needles to 1 part ash/charcoal dust.


gluing stick together with pine pitch glue

Step 4: Storing and usage.

         The traditional way to store this glue is to put a heaping glob of it on the end of a stick and allow it to dry. Then once you need to glue something you just hold the "glue stick" over the fire and allow it to melt some and become pliable. Use the stick to smear and spread the glue where needed.


Knife soaking in olive oil

Step 5: Cleaning up.

        If you happened to use your knife to collect the resin or inevitably got some on your hands there is a simple solution to cleaning off this nightmare substance. Olive oil. Allowing the knife blade to soak in olive oil or spreading some on the area you wish to be cleaned for 15 minutes will cause the resin to start to break down and easily be wiped off with a rag or cloth.


Heating pine pitch

        Now that you know how to make a super simple all natural glue from the super market of the forest, the pine tree, get out there and try it out during your next woodland adventure! You may be surprised just how strong a glue made out of ashes and pine resin can actually be. 

        Be sure to check back regularly for new how-to and gear review posts and videos. Thanks for stopping by and remember, waiting.


~The WG Team


With 15+ years of outdoors experience, dirt runs through my veins. When I was a child, often I would slip away with nothing more than a pack of matches and a kitchen knife to go on my "outdoor adventures". More than a decade and a half later I'm still here, with new adventures, a little nicer equipment, and a bit more wisdom.


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