Glue in a survival situation can be invaluable. Glue can be used to repair tents, tarps, and to form tools (e.g., fletching on an arrow). It can be used as a sealant for containers (or canoes) or for waterproof coverings. Ancient Egyptians used pitch glue to coat sticks that they threw at birds to trap them. And, of course, if you cannot scavenge glue, you must make it yourself. Pine pitch glue or “pine resin glue” can be easily made, producing an adhesive material that is strong, flexible, and fast setting.
Glue uses in the wild
Pine trees (including pine trees, pinion trees, white pine trees, spruce trees, etc.) are a great resource in the wild. You can make cordage from the roots, tea from the needles, and pitch or tar from the sap. Pine resin is also flammable and can be used as an accelerant in fires for short, powerful bursts of heat. The sap also contains compounds that prevent the growth of microorganisms, making it a great sealer for open cuts or deeper flesh wounds. Pine resin is easy to carry too. Chip a hardened piece off a damaged pine tree and later, when you need to put it to use, heat it over a fire to convert it back into its liquid (easily usable) state.
How to make pine pitch glue
Here’s how to use Pine resin in a homemade glue recipe.
- Collect the resin from a pine tree. Here’s a method to tap a pine tree to obtain the sap from a tree.
- Melt the resin. If it ignites, blow out the flame and move the container to lessen the heat. Try not to overheat the resin, as the compounds are destroyed the longer they are subjected to heat.
- Add 1 part hardwood charcoal powder. This helps temper the resin and reduces its stickiness.
- Add 1 part filler material. This can be ground plant material (crushed to a fine powder) or rabbit or deer scat/droppings (dried and ground up). In a pinch, you may also substitute sawdust, bone dust, or animal hair. The filler material helps strengthen the glue compound.
- If you wish to make the resultant glue more flexible, so it can be easily worked, add one part fat, tallow, or beeswax to the mixture.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Apply using a stick.
After the glue hardens, it will resemble hardened glass (unless you choose to add beeswax or fat, in which case it will be more elastic).
Dried pine pitch glue can be reheated to convert it back to its liquid state. Dip a stick into the mixture and remove, allowing the glob of glue to harden on the stick. Re-dip the stick to add additional layers of glue (as it cools, you may wish to roll it between your hands to compress and shape it). The finished lolly of pine pitch glue can then be carried with you and reheated when needed.