How To Use Natural Pine Pitch Resin Glue

Pine pitch glue is an extremely versatile natural pine sap based adhesive that has been used from pre-history to modern times by various cultures across the world. Mainly composed of rendered pine sap, ground plant fibers, and powdered charcoal in specific proportions,  this glue is easy to apply and has numerous uses.  Just to name a few,  its applications can include attaching and hafting stone projectiles and blades to shafts/handles, illumination and fire starting, waterproofing basketry,  holding together wood crafts,  and even sealing seams on birch bark canoes.

Our pine pitch glue sticks have just the right amount of everything; this creates a 'not to brittle but not too soft' glob of glue on a stick that is easy to store and use whenever desired.  For instance, if used properly with sinew reinforcement for arrow point attachment, chances are that the shaft or point will break before the glue fails. You can find this natural adhesive and others in our Glues, Hafting, and Pigments product category.

Disclaimer: The author of this article and GoKnapping shall not be liable for any injury, loss or damage, direct or consequential, arising out of the use or inability to use the information on this page.

To use for your project:  Simply apply a task specific amount of heat to the end of the ball of glue to manipulate as needed. If you hold over a flame for very long at all, the glue can be dripped onto your project and quickly molded to form, or you can simply apply a small amount of heat and form a pliable ball to use for hafting/attaching points and blades with or without the added strength of sinew. Experiment with it yourself and see what works best for your project.  Over heated pitch can burn your skin so be very cautious when touching directly. 

Storage and display: First and foremost, any storage of raw glue or projects incorporating this glue should not be stored in direct sunlight, or any environment that gets hot or even warm for extended amounts of time. For example, leaving your pitch glue in an un-air conditioned car is asking for an unpleasant situation. It is best to keep sealed in a dark cool environment.

Here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your pine pitch glue:

It is best to do any pine pitch glue project in a well ventilated area and over a table top covered in newspaper or wax paper for easy clean up. 

A small hobby/craft propane or butane torch that can sit flat on a table is a great source for hands free heat.  Have it on a low setting to avoid scorching the glue. If the glue ever ignites at all, extinguish immediately by removing it from the heat source.  Having a cup of water nearby is a good precaution.

Heating gradually, then removing a wad of glue and forming it into a thin bead may work better for your task than using the ball on a stick directly. 

If you make a mistake, simply apply heat to the piece and in most situations you can start over.  Like any glue, it can get messy. Having some turpentine handy when doing your project will insure that clean up is relatively easy.

It helps if not only the glue is warm, but the pieces being glued are warm as well.  Gluing an arrow point onto a shaft should involve heating the shaft slightly, and glue, then the glued point on the shaft. You can then quickly wrap sinew into the soft glue to add strength. This also applies to knives and other blade/shaft/handle combinations.

Try masking areas that should not be glued with masking tape.

To give your project an ancient look, try dusting the glue while still tacky in dried dirt or small bits of gravel. Experiment as you would like to get the best results for your project.

Copyright 2020 Elliot Collins