Oct 8, 2012

Pine sap, pitch, tar?? and its uses

Also Check out this post: Harvesting Pine Pollen Click Here

Sorry this post is going to have a lot of reference pages and videos, but it is only because it is an old art and I know little about it. I am still a bit confused about the terms used to describe the different products. Click Here for some info on the difference.   That is why my site is "learn as I go".

Sap is yellowish or white, sticky

Resin is normally brown or red, clear, and hard

How to make is simple….....First, score a pine tree, get the sap,  boil the pine sap and you have pure pine resin and the other crud for fire starters.

Side note: DO NOT DO this to a tree unless you have to. For small projects you can find the pine resin leaking right our of most trees and just pick it off. 


It is really that simple, but here is a video I found so you can see. The process in the video is known as dry distillation.
And note that it makes a great fire starter and large amount of the left over junk can make a great long burning candle or a even a small heat source.

IDEA: But as you watch this see the crap....take it while it is still hot and mold it into a cool small shape, poke a hole through it. And use a piece of twine or necklace leather and make fire starter pendents for Christmas presents.


Century 12,000 BTU 2-Burner Camping Stove with Case (Google Affiliate Ad)

Or you can use a downed tree to get the sap out and make clean "activated charcoal" for your water purification filters while your at it.  The possess in this video  is called Destructive distillation.


 Your pure resin will harden and can be ground into a powder, add to a heated oil or fat for ointments. This has so many uses, including food (which I will talk about in another post) Also remember that different pine trees produce different tasting, different texture, sap so try a few.

  • And one last extracting find Click Here  This is how to extract the oils. (this is not turpentine, this is a low slow boil extract that can be used in cleaning products and on small cardboard pine tree shapes.


A few medical uses
Once you have your resin  these are some of the old timer uses:

 Native Americans use to use it for bad sprain or rheumatism because of its anti-inflammatory properties. You can use this sap and make a blend of honey, sap and camphor oil in equal quantities. The mix is rubbed into the sprain or inflamed areas. Or blend it with an equal amount of sunflower oil and massage into the affected area

It can be used on cuts   People would place a little sap on a piece of cotton wool and bind this to the wound. When the cotton wool dried out, they would add a few more drops of turpentine to it. The purpose was to keep the wound clean: Turpentine was thought to have antiseptic qualities. Skin exposed to turpentine may become irritated and swollen. But in bad times this is a remedy if needed. 

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac .....Pine tar soap soothes the rash of poison ivy, oak or sumac. Washing the affected area can stop the itch and dry the rash, speeding heal

Insect Repellent   The scent kept mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks away.

all this talk about the soap....here is how you make it.

Soap and hygiene

You can make a basic soap. Not the best but better than none. Start with melting any kind of fat, add in some fire ash and some pine sap  which will melt in this mix.
Mixture should be half ash,  30-35% pine sad and 15-20% fat or oil if that is all you have. Of course the sap is a hardener so add extra if needed. And BAM...you have pine tar soap! Which will clean you because if the anti bacterial property of the pine sap. Simple! Eczema and Psoriasis  Pine tar soap has been used for over 100 years to treat eczema, psoriasis and other forms of dermatitis. It moisturizes dry, scaly skin and helps it heal. 

Hair rinse
You can even take 2 cups of pine needles boil in a quart of water. Strain...pour one cup and add sugar for a healthy vitamin C drink...then take the rest and rinse your hair with it ( even better let your head soak in the bowl of it for a few...dry (do not rinse it out) healthy shinny hair. Or just add some of your resin power to water and do the same.Remember this is a natural treatment for flaky scalp

Simple melt a little of the resin and a dab will do, right on that pimple! Let it sit over night and remove with a warm wet cloth. rub gently.


Making ink is similar to the soap recipe above . Ash, pine resin powder (as a preserver) water and pin needles. But in a jar for a week let it ferment and strain. Add to the liquid  fire or lamp black. (that is the black on the rock around your fire or on the bottom of your pans) also known as Soot even fire place soot. Play around with it to get desired color. (I am working on a fun post for the holidays about this).

Glue (pitch)
Mix charcoal, pine sap and sawdust (any dry plant can be used to)....and you have a strong glue! (add a little fat or wax to make it a little more pliable; just a little) you can add just about anything similar to the other stuff. Indians used dung. It is all a mater of what you are using it for.  The more sap the stronger.

This is a simple one mix the sap with mint leaf or ground cinnamon heat it up with a bit of oil to soften it more and you have gum.  And it helps keep teeth clean. (fill take out a filling of two if not soft enough. So be careful)

Do not forget this is an amazing waterproofing product.

Song for this post has to be one of my all time fav's Tree's by Rush


  1. Awesome information! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. This is so great! :) Definitely gonna try the ink. :)

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  4. Great article, thank you ! I'm particularly interested in using resin in food - could you point me to the post that you refer to ? I can't find it. Thanks again !

  5. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging! SAP in food industry. It was very informative.