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Thread: Tried using pine pitch for the first time, had a catastrophy happen.

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    Default Tried using pine pitch for the first time, had a catastrophy happen.

    So a couple of days ago i filled up my canteen cup with some pine resin, i found a damaged tree with some real massive globs on it so i had a very substantial amount. I put it on my fire to melt it down (i was making primitive fish hooks) and after a minute or so, the entire thing caught flame! The resin caught fire some how and was shooting huge flames out of the cup.
    I dont really know why it did this. This was my first time trying to melt pitch.
    I put it over a very hot fire, there were some read hot coals and very active flames. If you heat it up to hot too fast will it flame up?
    Also, i had some hacked off pine branches on the fire. They had little fingerlings that suspended above the fire a little bit, is it possible that one of them caught fire and fell into the cup and set the whole thing ablaze?
    Im really confused as to why is caught on fire.


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    I am NOT supprised.........

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    Well, what do you think i did wrong? Can heating it up too much and too fast cause it to flame? If not, then a burning twig must have fallen in.

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    Super-duper Moderator Sarge47's Avatar
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    Cool Well now...

    Pine pitch is highly flammable and makes a great fuel for any type of "tin-can-stove." But you know that already...now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge47 View Post
    Pine pitch is highly flammable and makes a great fuel for any type of "tin-can-stove." But you know that already...now.
    Yeah, i have actually used it in the same way that you use esbit cubes to heat up some food or drink.

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    pitch has a particular volatility to it. That is why it is valued as tinder, for firestarter. Pitch is what makes fatwood fat. It ignites at a low temperature and burns hot. Any number of things could have gone wrong, but I'm betting that you raised the temperature past the ignition point.
    That stuff is very sticky, and very hot, and can continue burning while stuck to your skin. Be careful next time. You could have been hurt pretty bad. Glad you didn't and didn't burn the house down in the process.
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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    p
    That stuff is very sticky, and very hot, and can continue burning while stuck to your skin. Be careful next time.
    Yes, that happened to me a couple of weeks ago when experimenting with a torch of sorts. It was not pretty...i got a rather big burn streak on my leg, i mean a really bad burn. I have a really deep scab over it right now.
    But when i was melting the pitch it was in a metal container and out in the woods, no danger of burning down my house and i was far away when it started flaming. I had to pour dirt over it to get it to stop burning.
    Last edited by justin_baker; 06-02-2010 at 04:42 AM.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    In other news - California is experiencing one of the worst wild fires in its history.

    Seriously though - YCC was right on in his advice to you. Have you been able to get the resin remnants out of your canteen cup? If not, put it in the fridge for a bit and then use a stick to "chisel" it out.
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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    I am intrigued.
    How do you make primitive fish hooks out of (with) pine resin?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    The fish hook would be made of whatever material you are using (bone, wood, thorns, etc.) The resin comes into play when you are using a wrap of fine cordage to tie things together. Think of a hot glue gun and the melted glue coating the string to keep it securely in place.
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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    B. I use hide glue as it binds better with bone and wood, then cover it with pitch glue as a water sealer, since hide glue is water soluble and would dissolve while fishing.
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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    Again, forgive a newbie question...
    Why would you need to seal the knot if you make it real tight? Wouldn't the water make it swell up and keep it even tighter?

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    The terpenes in the pine pitch are highly flamable. That's what gives the pine pitch the ability to burn. You cooked off the terpenes, which then ignited much like gasoline would. Turn down the temp on your fire or don't let it sit so long.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENESSE View Post
    Again, forgive a newbie question...
    Why would you need to seal the knot if you make it real tight? Wouldn't the water make it swell up and keep it even tighter?
    Cordages will loosen over time - especially those that get wet. If a fish hook (knife, spear, or anything else) is being held together with cordage, the resin makes it more permanent. Don't think about attaching the fishing line to the hook, but rater a two piece hook that you are trying to keep togeter as one piece. Here's a youtube vid that Gene did that shows some hooks and things that he sealed with pine resin. http://www.youtube.com/trapperjacksu...48/iHkep9d0x3s
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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    Thanks Crash, I understand now. Nothing like a show-and-tell.

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    I'm glad justin shared this anecdote with the group and I kind of think that it's importance may have been underestimated. I'm not trying to pick on you justin, but from what you said, it kind of seems like you left the heating pine pitch unattended. Well, no harm-no foul, next time you'll know.

    But, we've had threads and conversation on the various uses of tars and resins from trees and people want to try the bush remedies. So, heat up any tree sap or whatever slowly, it's all flammable (it's the reason wood makes that lovely popping noise in the fire) and keep your eye on it. You'll be fine. I've used melted spruce and pine gum for things as diverse as putting a patch on a canoe to glueing a birchbark bandage closed over an injury. Anyone else here old enough to remember that old sergeant on Hill Street Blues? "And hey....let's be careful out there"
    some fella confronted me the other day and asked "What's your problem?" So I told him, "I don't have a problem I am a problem"

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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    B. I use hide glue as it binds better with bone and wood, then cover it with pitch glue as a water sealer, since hide glue is water soluble and would dissolve while fishing.
    Im using a wood base and bone barb so i will try out hide glue when i get a chance.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by BENESSE View Post
    Again, forgive a newbie question...
    Why would you need to seal the knot if you make it real tight? Wouldn't the water make it swell up and keep it even tighter?
    If you are making a small fish hook, its kinda hard to wrap it and get it perfectly tight, it will still wiggle around. Resin just gives it that extra layer of protection. Whenever ancient people mounted spear heads, knife handles, arrowheads, they always used a combination of cordage and some kind of glue.

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    Senior Member BENESSE's Avatar
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    Maybe carrying some Gorilla Glue (w/small applicator) in the pack might not be a bad idea. 'Course it's always good to know how you can make your own.

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    Junior Member Swamprat1's Avatar
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    Took some kids camping several years ago and they had no idea what lighter knot pine, also called fatwood, was. While cooking breakfast, I had some biscuits on the fire, I told one of them to put a little more wood on the food. To late, I realized that he had put about a two foot long, 3 inch round stick of lighter knot on the fire. I turned around to see about four foot of flames engulfing the skillet. Lets just say that the biscuits didn't turn out so well. lol

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