The Pine Tree is an amazingly useful tree to any bushcrafter or survivalist. First of all, the entire tree is edible…the bark, the needles, the pine cones, etc… The roots can be used as cordage. You can make pine needle tea which is rich in vitamins. You can also use the limbs as building materials and the pine boughs as bedding. Pine sap also makes excellent fuel for camp lamps and fire starting. The subject of this post, however, is how to use PINE SAP to make an all natural and very durable glue.
Pine resin glue can be used for all kinds of applications – at home or in the wild. I’ve used Pine Resin Glue to make fish-hooks, frog gigs and all kinds of other useful tools. I’ve also used Pine Resin Glue at home for every day projects. In this post, we will use Pine Resin Glue to secure Ferrocerium Rod Fire Steel Blanks inside of pre-drilled deer antler handles.
Pine resin can be found on almost EVERY pine tree. You can typically find it where the pine tree has been wounded by either insects or a broken limb. The sap will seep from the wound. You can sometimes find it dried in clumps and nodules all around the tree.
The only other ingredient besides the Pine Sap that you need to make Pine Resin Glue is charcoal. Just plain old charcoal right out of a campfire will work just fine. Below is a photo if some pine resin nodules I collected along with a small amount of charcoal from a camp fire.
The first step to making Pine Sap Glue is to melt down the pine sap. I placed the sap clusters in an Altoids Candy Tin and put it on my hot fireplace.
While the pine resin is melting down, crush up your charcoal pieces into a fine powder. I am simply using a stick. You could easily do this in the bush on a flat rock or on a piece of bark.
The formula I’ve always used for making this glue is 1 part charcoal to 3 parts pine resin. You will have to experiment with what works best for you. Too much charcoal and your glue will be brittle, too little charcoal and your glue will not be durable enough. After the pine sap has melted down, mix in the crushed charcoal.
As your sap cools, it will harden. Thoroughly stir in the charcoal before it cools too much.
Your glue is complete and ready to use. Once the glue has cooled, you will need to heat it back up in order to use it again. At this point, you have a few options. You can leave the glue in the tin or whatever container you mixed it in. Or, as the sap cools, you can form it on the stick – which is the way I like to keep Pine Resin Glue.
To use the glue simply heat it up over a flame and apply it to whatever you need. In this case, I am putting some on the end of the Ferro rods that I will be inserting into the pre-drilled deer antlers.
After carving away the excess glue, these Ferro Rods are ready to use in the field and will provide years of excellent service. I love the idea of making and using Pine Sap Glue from scratch with all natural materials and then using it to build a tool that I will take out with me in the woods and use over and over and over again. It just doesn’t get any better than that.