How to Use Pine Pitch

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Pitch can be collected oozing off the bark of pine trees.
Pitch can be collected oozing off the bark of pine trees. (Image: Shunsuke Yamamoto Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Pine pitch is the sticky resinous sap that oozes from the roots and bark of pine trees. Pitch from coniferous trees has been valued by both Native Americans and Europeans who treated the resource as a cash crop. As pine pitch is flammable, it can be used to make a fire starter or torch. The most common use for pine pitch is as a glue and waterproofing sealant for wood. Since pine pitch can be collected from the bark of a living tree, it is also a renewable natural resource.

Things You'll Need

  • Hot plate
  • Metal pot or large metal can
  • 1 cup pine resin chips
  • Stick
  • 1/2 cup saw dust
  • 1/2 cup ground charcoal
  • 1 inch piece of beeswax
  • Paint brush
  • 3-foot long, 3-inch thick piece of wood

Heat a metal can or pot over a hot plate. Because making pine pitch glue creates smoke, you should do this outside or in a well-ventilated garage.

Add chips of pine resin into the can so that it will start to melt. Add a little bit of resin at a time stirring with a stick.

Mix in the saw dust and charcoal powder once the resin is completely liquefied.

Remove the metal can from the heat and stir in the chunk of beeswax. The melted wax helps keep the pine pitch malleable once it cools.

Apply the pine pitch to wood with a paint brush while it is still hot if you are using it as a water sealant or glue. You can apply it in a thin even coat if you are using it to seal the wood. You may need to apply a liberal amount between wood planks if you are using it as a glue.

Roll a piece of pine pitch glue into a flat disc and wrap it around the end of a 3-foot long, 3-inch diameter piece of wood to make a torch. When at room temperature, the pitch glue should have the consistency of thick putty. When lit, the pine pitch torch should burn slowly and without much smoke.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when working with liquid pine pitch as it could cause severe burns.

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