This article can help you learn how to use tree sap and find the answer to the question: Is tree sap flammable?
Before we get too technical, and for the benefit of those who don’t know a tree sap, let’s go over the fundamentals first.
What is a tree sap?
It’s a sticky liquid called pine sap released by pine trees’ branches is cut. Like the human body’s immune system, pine trees also produce a protective layer when wounded. It releases pine sap to protect its wound from germs and fungus.
This sap is rich in antibacterial substances, and it is naturally sticky so that it clings to the tree’s open wound. It functions as a natural sealant, preventing moisture from leaking from the tree.
Because of all of its properties, it is also an excellent off-grid utility for humans and trees. Humans have been using pine sap (or resin) for ages in various applications ranging from medicinal to architecture.
For centuries, sharecroppers would claim rights to pine trees to extract their resin as a kind of cash crop around the time of Christ. Back in the primitive period, humanity has utilized it for survival and medical treatment purposes.
How can we collect tree sap?
To gather pine sap, look for new wounds that are already dripping pitch. Branches are routinely clipped, particularly in public parks. Harvest only the pitch that has trickled away from the wound, if feasible, to safeguard the tree.
Harvesting the pitch directly on the wound’s surface might harm the tree’s ability to resist infection.
The conventional way for harvesting pine sap in significant amounts is to deliberately cut “V”-shaped incisions in the trees. Attach a tiny container to the “V” tips such that the pitch could flow into it.
A little bark tag can guide the sap into your collecting container, similar to a maple tap.
Now that we have all these facts taken care of: let’s look at how you can use tree sap.
Pine pitch is often used as a drawing agent to assist in the removal of foreign particles or toxins from wounds. Soft, fresh droplets may be collected in the field and applied immediately to spider bites or splinters to aid in the body’s removal of the poison or splinter.
It can also be used as a counter-irritant because it helps the body send extra white blood cells to an injured area to fight infection. Pine pitch is also antiseptic and antibacterial by nature.
Put a few globs of pine pitch in oil, keep it in a warm place, stir it periodically to help dissolve the pitch, and then you can store it for a few weeks as a herbal first-aid kit.
Filter the oil using a towel to remove any leftover pitch fragments, then use the pine pitch oil straight to wounds or mix it with beeswax to make a therapeutic salve.
Pine Sap Candle
Going back to the question: Is tree sap flammable?
The answer is definitely, yes! Pine resin is very flammable. It’s ideal for building a primitive torch because of this.
However, you cannot use pine resin to make a candle. You should know this straight away. Even if the pine resin (or pitch) is mixed with beeswax while producing the candle, it will simply ignite into a big ball of flames rather than a slow-burning candle with a bit of fire at the wick.
You may create a light out of pine sap or pitch. Here’s how to do it.
First, choose a thin tree branch to hold the burning pine sap. Then, split the ends to provide a tiny opening for the resin to fit. You can use a knife to make the cuts on the tip.
Next, place a small amount of pine sap on this end. Ensure it is intact to keep it from falling off the stick handle.
On the other end, chop the tip using the same knife. Make sure it is sharp so you can stick this side to the ground deep enough to keep the sap candle steadily in place.
Finally, find a safe distance for the sap candle to be set where it will not catch anything on fire unexpectedly. Now you can light your pine sap candle with your lighter or anything similar.
Pine Pitch Glue
Pine pitch glue, coupled with sinew twine, was initially used to bind arrowheads to arrows and many other items. It is that efficient as almost minimal tools are required to make a DIY glue out of a pine pitch.
Here’s how: First, stir in the finely crushed charcoal from the fire once the pine pitch has melted gently on a stovetop or low burner. Initially, you can use three parts pine sap to one part coal in your charcoal mixture.
Make sure you don’t overdo it with charcoal since too much of it will make the adhesive brittle. Also, use it while it is still liquified. If that’s too late and has already dried up and hardened, don’t worry. You can always put it back on low fire to soften it again.
Pine Pitch Torch
Because pine sap is flammable, you can use it to start a fire. A few dried gobs kept on hand can assist a tinder bundle catch fire in damp circumstances. You can also use a melted sap on a cloth on the end of a stick as a makeshift torch.
Remember that molten resin is very hot, sticky, and easy to leak, so use caution to prevent severe burns.
There are other ways to fire with just the most basic materials and equipment. You can go to this link to direct you to an article about making a torch in the woods. For now, I’ll share with you this tutorial video to help you make a pine pitch torch.
Pine Tar Soap
Because pine is a natural antibacterial, primitive human being used pine tar soap in the past, chemical soaps are the norm, but pine tar soap is a fantastic alternative.
Knowing how to make pine tar soap is perfect for when you are out in the wild and run out of soap to use.
You can find several recipes online that teach you how to create pine tar soap, and once you do, you’ll never want to purchase chemical cleansers again. Here’s one of the many DIY videos you can use as a reference.
Pine Pitch for Waterproofing
Pine pitch is not water-soluble and has a long shelf life. You can also use it to make various waterproof items, including the seams of your survival boots.
Veteran survivalists traditionally used pine pitches to weatherproof boats and buckets. Legend has it, Noah used pine pitch to waterproof the Ark.
To apply pine pitch, you’ll need to warm it up first. Then paint it on any surface that needs waterproofing.
It would be best not to waterproof anything prone to intense heat with pine pitch. The pine pitch will dissolve! It also becomes brittle in the winter, so you’ll have to reapply it each season.
You can look at this video that shows the pine resin waterproofing of a wooden bowl.
Speaking of water, did you know you cannot ration water? Learn more by reading the highlighted article.
Trees have proven to have so many purposes for any living thing. Each of its parts has a specific function that helps animals and human beings survive.
Now we have proven further that even its resin, its protective mechanism, can be used in six different ways, and you might even think of more ways to utilize tree sap after you’ve read this article.
Here are a few more resources I would recommend checking out.
- How to Make Pine Needle Tea The Best Way
- How to Make Homemade MREs (Step-by-Step Guide)
- How To Make Seawater Drinkable The Easiest Way