There are numerous devices and substances that we take for granted in our modern lives. Things we think are simple turn from unimportant to the value of gold in survival situations. Well glue is one of those substances that can come in very handy when making things. So being able to make a quality glue on your own is a very useful skill.
Pine Pitch Glue is one of the best glues that you can make naturally. So what is pine pitch glue and how do you make it? The first step is to get a bunch of pine sap. Longleaf pine is the best at producing sap but any pine tree will do. Pine pitch is simply the sap that oozes out of a pine tree whenever it is cut or has wounds. The sap is designed to seal the wound and prevent infestation of beetles that like to eat the inner bark of the tree.
The sap is most free flowing in the warmer months but is actually easier to collect in the winter when it is hardened.
Step two involves your second required ingredient, charcoal
. You can get it out of a fire. If you ever had a branch burn part away the part right next to the burned away part will be charcoal. You won't need much, only a couple of small pieces.
Take the charcoal and grind it into a coarse powder.
The third step is to collect some droppings from a vegetarian animal such as a rabbit. Rabbit pellets or poop is easy to collect because the rabbits will poop on top of stumps or other such places.
If you want you can use dead brown dried grass as a substitute but you will have to do some work grinding it into a powder first. Up to you... work or poop. Haha.
OK now that you have the ingredients the next step is to melt the sap. But you must be careful with the heat. A double boiler is the preferred survival tool for this task. You want to heat up the sap so that you can strain it through a sieve to remove contamination such as bugs and bark.
A double boiler is nothing more than a pot of water with another pot in it that will contain your sap. The purpose of this setup for heating the sap is because it allows you to control the temperature of the sap and not overheat it. As you may know at sea level you can not get water above 212 degrees (100C) no matter what you do to it as long as it isn't in a container that can contain pressure, like a pressure cooker.
If you add more heat to boiling water it doesn't get hotter it just boils off more quickly. A cool way to see this is to take an old paper cup and fill it with water and place it in a fire. You might expect the paper to catch fire but it doesn't. The water will start to boil and as the water level drops as the water is boiled off the exposed above water part of the cup will burn. But nothing at or below the water line will ever catch fire! The water is boiling at 212 and prevents the cup from getting any hotter as well. Pretty cool to watch.
Once you have melted and stained all your sap, start adding charcoal powder slowly. You must stir constantly and maintain the heat to keep it liquid. Once the mixture gets to be like a heavy batter you add the powdered rabbit droppings.
Now mix. Do this with a ratio of 4 parts of sap to 1 part charcoal to 1 part rabbit droppings. You can vary this somewhat if you like.
Now you have your hot liquid glue. As it cools you can mold it into small pieces for storage and later use. You can roll it into string or save it in chunks.
When you are ready to use your pitch pine glue just reheat it over a flame and wallah! A great glue that when it cools will be very hard and durable.