Updated: May 9, 2021
Once you have gathered all of your supply's, you are ready to rock! Start up your cooking space, we used our fire pit outback. make a hot but low fire, and place a cooking rack over top. You must be very careful not to overheat your resin, becasue resin is highly flammable. As long as your flames are not licking the bottom of your pot you will be fine. these lost skills, and incorporate them into their own lives.
Pine and Spruce sap can be used for many things, you can make a torch as it is highly flammable, you can make a wonderful healing balm for all of your cuts and bumps , like the one we made (here).
You can chew it as chewing gum, the resin is very good for your teeth and gums and can help to keep them clean if you are out in the bush for a serious amount of time. You can even make a lamp using some moss and a rounded out rock!
Now back to probably the most useful skill to know, Pine resin waterproofing!
You can use waterproofing for a variety of things, patch up your canoe, tent, tarps, waterproof the seams on your survival boots, use it as glue if your building a shelter. There are just so many things that you can waterproof. To make a pine or spruce pitch waterproofing mixture, you are going to need a few things. Pine or spruce resin. Hardor soft, it does not matter. Choose your amounts dependent of what your waterproofing project is.
A strong wooden stick, a bit of animal fat lard, a cheesecloth or filter of some sort, one metal pot that can be placed on the fire, and one to pour your filtered mixture into. Make sure you dont really care about these dishes, as conifer resin is near impossible to remove from dishes. It can be done, but if you can designate these as your resin pots for future uses, then all the better.
The purpose of the animal fat, is so that you can mold and shape your mixture without making a giant mess all over your project, as It helps to make the resin more plyable. It also give it a more finished look, and will decrease your drying time.
Once you have gathered all of your supply's, you are ready to rock! Start up your cooking space, we used our firepit outback. make a hot but low fire, and place a cooking rack overtop. You must be very careul not to overheat your resin, becasue resin is highly flammable. As long as your flames are not licking the bottom of your pot you will be fine.
Once your fire has nice hot coals and it burning fairly consistently, add in your Pine/ spruce pitch directly to the pot.
Allow the pitch to very slowly melt down. Make sure to stir using your wooden stick. The pile of pitch should turn into a beautiful pool of liquid sap!
Now your pot should look a little something like this. The pitch will be a dark liquid and you should see bits of wood floating around. Keep heating it up, and allow it to fully melt.
All done, now it is time to strain out the wood pieces. You will need your second bowl, and a square piece of cheese cloth. Lay your cloth over top of the bowl, and slowly pour in the mixture. Be very careful and wear protective gloves, the pot and sap are extremely hot!
Twist your cheese cloth really tight, to make sure that all of that precious sap gets out. The only thing that should be left behind will be the wood pieces. those can be discarded!
Now pour your bowl of melted sap back into the first pot and place it back onto the fire.
Allow the sap to heat up again. once it is nice and hot, you can add in your fat. If you add too much, you will have a really runny mixture and you dont want that. Rest assured, if you do add too much fat, you can always add in more sap. Its all about trial and error!
I added way too much, and had to add more resin afterwards.... Oops
So now you have your fat melting down, just keep stiring the mixture. Once its all melted down, you can start the testing process! The first round for me was too runny and sticky, and so i decided to add more sap.
To know what the right consistency is, you can place some on a thin parchment paper from the lard box, or a leaf, or even a stone. Doesn't really matter. Just spread some around and wait. Once it starts to cool, it should become pliable, with minimal stick. If, after 5 minutes, you can still swirl it around on the surface, then it is too runny. add more sap. If it becomes so hard that it cracks, add more fat. Remember to strain your mixture again if you add more resin, you dont want sticks in your finished product.
The second go for me turned out to work out perfect! It was thick, and as it hardened, it was still pliable. pine and spruce resin is not water soluble, this is why it is an effective waterproofing and it is long lasting and durable.
Now your ready to use! I decided to punch a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup to show you guys that this works. Keep in mind, it is best to let your patch work sit for 24 hours so that it is completely dry. You should be able to touch the patch without it sticking to your fingers.
Now you can spread your pitch over top of your hole. I used a stick for mine.
Now you can let it cool You can spray or pour cold water over top and it should start to dry and become very mold able. You can spread it around with your fingers now, as once it is cooled IT SHOULD NOT stick to your skin.
Now that mine is ready to test, here we go ........
We have success! Half a cup full of water and my cup is not leaking at all.
Presto ! there you have it, super cheap, and super easy survivalist must have skill! You can water proof anything and everything. Resins are very durable, but they would wear down over time, so if you are waterproofing things like wooden canoes or shoes, it would be best to reapply another layer each season.
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