Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DIY Glue: Pine Sap Pitch

I watched Bort make some black glue using dried bamboo leaves, charcoal powder, and pine sap. Other then gathering the pine sap from the tree and helping dry out the leaves, I simply stepped back and learned the process... cause this can get a little strong smelling. In spite of the cooking and some smoke during pine glue's creation, I believe it is alot less toxic then chemical based adhesives- it's 100% natural and far more sustainable then a plastic squeeze bottle of elmers. (Which BTW is made with wheat and can't be used by those with Celiac Disease, like me.) After gathering a good amount of sap off a pine tree, you'll need some extremly dried grass. We used bamboo leaves since it's been raining like a motha' here for over a month now. We wrapped the leaves in foil and heated them in the toaster oven to dry them out. You can also dry grass or leaves over an open fire or candle too. The point is to get it dry enough that you can powder it, even in the picture below it could be powdered alot more- but the humidity in the air made this as tiny as it would get.
First you put the pine sap alone (without the powdered grass!) in a container to heat it up. We used an old bean can and held it over a candle for controlled cooking.
Bort made a cool make shift handle with a screw driver to easily hold the pine sap can over the candle. You can see the pine sap beginning to smoke and heat up! Supa' neato!
Once it gets cooking it's good to stir it with a stick (or whatever you like to stir with) before dropping in the dried grass.
It bubbles like a pine smellin' witches brew...
Once it got really bubbling, the dried bamboo leaves & 1 tablespoon of powdered charcoal were added in and stirred, then it turns into this awesome black as night gluey substance.
This is a kind of glue that can be stored in the dry form and then re-heated to make it into glue again. In order to store it you can scrape it out the cooking container with a dull knife or the stirring utensil you were using....
Then it will actually roll onto a stick, which you can twirl around on a smooth surface like the rock picture below. Once it's cooled off enough you can shape it with your fingers too! It dries rock hard and if powdered grass is not added it will be very brittle- the dried grass is the binder holding the glue together in place.
I never knew glue could be so pretty, but that stuff looks mystical. Xoxo

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