The pine tree is one of the most common types of trees in the world. Different types of pines can be found from North America to Asia. So there’s a fair chance you can find one near you. If so, lucky you!
If you’re able to set up a tapper, you can collect the pine resin, or sometimes called pine pitch. While not exactly fun on pancakes, the resin has a handful of practical uses, including as a glue, waterproofing, fuel source, and medical salve. Let’s break it down.
Pine Resin Glue and Waterproofing
Like most resins, the material is strong, sticky, and doesn’t easily play with water. And since pine resin hardens at room temperature, it can create a strong bond when left to dry. If you heat the resin, it’ll melt back to liquid, where it can then be applied to the surface that needs gluing. While not the most convenient, it’s one of the easiest ways to make a completely natural and renewable source of adhesive.
When not being used to glue two things together, this process can also be used to waterproof things. Since the resin isn’t water-soluble, it can be soaked into or coated over certain things to keep water out. Some popular options include buckets, barrels, boots, and boats (alliteration unintended).
Just keep in mind that both of these ideas don’t work well in high heat environments. Otherwise, it’ll just melt.
Pine Resin Lamps and Torches
One interesting thing about resin is how flammable it is. It ignites well and doesn’t burn out quickly. It can actually act as a self-sustaining fire. Simply place the resin into a fireproof bowl of metal or stone, add a wick, and let it burn. As it goes, you can add more to keep it going.
This can be expanded on by making it a torch. Either wrap the end of a stick in thin cloth and soak that in resin, or find a stick large enough to bore holes into and let the resin fill the gaps. Light the end and bam, you have a torch that should last a decent while.
One thing to note, though. Do not make candles from the pine resin. Some sites might suggest it, but it can burn too well compared to bees wax. A candle made of the material can become engulfed in flames.
Pine Resin Salve
What is tree resin actually supposed to be for, anyway? Trees don’t produce the stuff for our benefit. It acts as an antibacterial wound treatment. In a way, they’re like the platelets of trees, which makes the idea of resin harvesting seem a lot more brutal, really.
Either way, the point we’re making is that we can also utilize this aspect of pine resin. For humans, it can be used to make a wound salve that is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and really helps with eczema. The sticky nature can help close the wound too.
Start by melting the resin and combining it with olive oil. This will give it a softer structure when cold. Once mixed, add in some bee’s wax. This will help give it a firmness without becoming hard. Once made, store somewhere cool and apply to wounds as needed.
Don’t have a pine tree to try all of this? Plant one! Assuming you have the property to do so and live in the right environment, that is. Maybe then future generations can benefit from our efforts.