View Full Version : Pine resin and brittleness experiment.
An accidental experiment.
On Saturday I had my first go at collecting pine resin. I collected one lot in the morning, placed it in a small alluminium foil container and gently melted it until it was liquid and fragrant. I let it cool and set, and rolled it into a sausage shape. The consistency was like firm, sticky plasticine and it was a mid brown colour.
Later I collected a lot more resin and did the same as before. Because there was a lot more resin in the foil it was taking longer to melt and I heated it more vigorously than before. It soon caught fire and with nothing to hold or cover it with (stupid I know) it took me a while to put it out. A lot of dark smoke was given off while it was burning. This batch of resin was blackened with soot. Once the resin had cooled. It was hard, black and very brittle. It looked a lot like obsidian.
The two form of resin have a very different consistency.
Do they have different properties too?
Are you trying to make glue?
If so, YOu can turn the resin into glue by adding either charcoal wax or dried deer/rabbit dung. These allow the resin to set hard when it cools down. If you want to use resin for glue, don't allow it to catch fire. Also, the more you heat it up or boil it, the less strong the rest of the glue will become. This is the reson for pitch sticks or sausages.
Hope this helps a little.
At the time, I wasn't really planning on doing anything with it. I just wanted to collect some and decided afterwards to melt it into a more convenient shape.
As I said, there was a great difference in the two batches.
The first batch I could see being a very useful glue (even without the addition of temper). I should add that the resin was almost, but not quite pure; so I suppose it already contained temper in the form of dust/dirt etc.
The second batch (which caught fire and burned for a while) was very brittle and would be of little use without the addition of a good temper (like beeswax perhaps).
I'm a total novice at all this, but I hope my accident might help others out there mucking about with pine resin for the first time.
I don't think that the dirt and sand in the unpure batch would be enough temper. When you add temper and let it cool down, it should be hard,... superhard. Beeswax is fine to use, just remember that it is not something you would have available in a wilderness setting, unless you wandered upon a beehive. The best temper, really, is ground droppings from vegetarians such as rabbit and deer. Of course, make sure the droppings are thouroughly dried before grinding :) . In this temper there will be fibers you see... Half digested grass and plant fibers that really hold the pitch glue together. When droppings are added, the glue is generally refered to as "Loaded pitch glue". (I wonder why that is). Generally you can add about a 20th. of temper to the pitch. However, if it is still sticky and soft when cooled, just warm it up again and add more temper, until it dries out rock-hard.
PS. Next time you get a fire in the pitch, cut of the oxigen to put it out...
It's a shame I didn't collect rabbit droppings from the same place I got the resin, as there were mountains of them in places.
As for the fire, I would have covered the pitch with a pan to put the fire out, but it was resting on bbq mesh so I couldn't suffocate the fire. The foil container I made was too small to grab without burning myself. Basically, I didn't really think through what I was doing before I started. I'll know better next time.