How To Make Pine Resin Glue

The Pine Tree is an amazingly useful tree to any bushcrafter or survivalist.  First of all, the entire tree is edible…the bark, the needles, the pine cones, etc…  The roots can be used as cordage.  You can make pine needle tea which is rich in vitamins.  You can also use the limbs as building materials and the pine boughs as bedding.  Pine sap also makes excellent fuel for camp lamps and fire starting.  The subject of this post, however, is  how to use PINE SAP to make an all natural and very durable glue.

Pine resin glue can be used for all kinds of applications – at home or in the wild.  I’ve used Pine Resin Glue to make fish-hooks, frog gigs and all kinds of other useful tools.  I’ve also used Pine Resin Glue at home for every day projects.  In this post, we will use Pine Resin Glue to secure Ferrocerium Rod Fire Steel Blanks inside of pre-drilled deer antler handles.

Pine resin can be found on almost EVERY pine tree.  You can typically find it where the pine tree has been wounded by either insects or a broken limb.  The sap will seep from the wound.  You can sometimes find it dried in clumps and nodules all around the tree.

Pine Sap Leaking From Wound On Pine Tree

Pine Sap Leaking From Wound On Pine Tree

 The only other ingredient besides the Pine Sap that you need to make Pine Resin Glue is charcoal.  Just plain old charcoal right out of a campfire will work just fine.  Below is a photo if some pine resin nodules I collected along with a small amount of charcoal from a camp fire.

Charcoal Chunks & Dried Pine Resin Pieces

Charcoal Chunks & Dried Pine Resin Pieces

The first step to making Pine Sap Glue is to melt down the pine sap.  I placed the sap clusters in an Altoids Candy Tin and put it on my hot fireplace.

Melting Pine Resin Clusters on Fireplace

Melting Pine Resin Clusters on Fireplace

While the pine resin is melting down, crush up your charcoal pieces into a fine powder.  I am simply using a stick.  You could easily do this in the bush on a flat rock or on a piece of bark.

Crush Charcoal Into Fine Powder

Crush Charcoal Into Fine Powder

The formula I’ve always used for making this glue is 1 part charcoal to 3 parts pine resin.  You will have to experiment with what works best for you. Too much charcoal and your glue will be brittle, too little charcoal and your glue will not be durable enough.  After the pine sap has melted down, mix in the crushed charcoal.

Mix Crushed Charcoal Into Melted Pine Sap

Mix Crushed Charcoal Into Melted Pine Sap

As your sap cools, it will harden.  Thoroughly stir in the charcoal before it cools too much.

Mix In Charcoal Really Well Before The Melted Sap Cools

Mix In Charcoal Really Well Before The Melted Sap Cools

Your glue is complete and ready to use.  Once the glue has cooled, you will need to heat it back up in order to use it again.  At this point, you have a few options.  You can leave the glue in the tin or whatever container you mixed it in.  Or, as the sap cools, you can form it on the stick – which is the way I like to keep Pine Resin Glue.

Pine Resin Glue Hardened on Stick

Pine Resin Glue Hardened on Stick

To use the glue simply heat it up over a flame and apply it to whatever you need.  In this case, I am putting some on the end of the Ferro rods that I will be inserting into the pre-drilled deer antlers.

Carving Away Excess Pine Sap Glue

Carving Away Excess Pine Sap Glue

After carving away the excess glue, these Ferro Rods are ready to use in the field and will provide years of excellent service.  I love the idea of making and using Pine Sap Glue from scratch with all natural materials and then using it to build a tool that I will take out with me in the woods and use over and over and over again.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.

3 Completed Ferro Rods With Mora 840 MG and a "Glue Stick"

3 Completed Ferro Rods With Mora 840 MG and a "Glue Stick"

Ferro Rod on Coyote Fur

Ferro Rod on Coyote Fur

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.  I’ve also posted a video below of the entire process from harvesting the sap to building the ferro rods.  Enjoy!

Cheers-

Creek

Pine Resin also makes an excellent fire-starter.  For an informative post written by survivalist JJ Johnson about this subject visit http://www.realitysurvival.com/pine-pitch-firestarter/.

Survival by Cellphone: NAVIGATION

As many of you know, I’ve just finished my new book titled SURVIVAL BY CELLPHONE. In the book I explore all kinds of ways to use a busted cell phone to meet basic survival needs such as fire, signaling, cutting tools, navigation and the list goes on and on…

Below is the 1st video in a full series where I bring to life all of the ways you can use a busted cell phone to meet basic survival needs in a survival situation.

NAVIGATION

In a self rescue scenario, NEVER WANDER aimlessly. Always walk with purpose. Walking with purpose means walking with a certain direction in mind. When in a survival situation, knowing direction is critical. Being able to stay on course once you’ve chosen a route is imperative. I have heard countless stories of people who were lost walking days only to find themselves right back where they started. Clearly, this style of self rescue is a total waste of valuable time and resources. Not being able to stay on a chosen course of direction, whether on land or a sea, can be a costly mistake. Taking the guesswork out of survival drastically improves your chances of rescue. A reliable way to determine direction is a huge survival bonus that should not be underestimated.

Zipper Pull Compass

Zipper Pull Compass

Mother nature can often point us in the right direction. For example, everyone knows that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west or that there is a north star in the sky. However, you can’t always depend on Mother Nature to give you clear advice. Cloud cover can block clear signs of the sun and stars for days at a time. You may also be in such a dense forest that you can’t get a clear view of the sun or stars. At the end of the day, a compass is going to be your easiest and most reliable way of finding direction and staying on course. Chances are though, you won’t have a compass. That is just the reality of the situation. However, you do have the resources (in your cell phone) to build one.

To make a compass you must first understand how and why a compass works. The entire concept is based on magnetism. The earth generates a magnetic field – one end of the field being at the north pole and the other end being at the south pole. A compass contains a magnetized needle that is suspended and allowed to freely rotate. In reaction to the earth’s magnetic field, this magnetized needle will always align itself along the north/south line – thus one end pointing north and the other end pointing south. With a store bought compass, the red painted end of the needle is magnetized and will always point north. You will not have this luxury when you make your own.

So if the heart of a compass is a magnetized needle, you will first need to figure out how to MAKE a magnetized needle from your cell phone parts. This is actually easier that you might think. Did you know that all speakers are powered by a magnet? Even the speaker in your cell phone! The magnet is located behind the ear piece of the phone and is typically a circular disk that resembles a watch battery. Once you locate this magnet you can use it to magnetize a small piece of wire (1” or less) or thin metal. Be sure the metal piece is magnetic and capable of being attracted to the magnet. It has to contain iron or steel to work properly. To magnetize the needle, stroke it with the magnet back and forth about 15 times.
Now, you have to create an environment in which the needle can spin and pivot freely to align itself with the earth’s magnetic poles. The best and easiest way to do this is to “float” the needle on a thin shaving of wood or leaf in a small undisturbed pool of liquid. Your container can be anything really – just as long as it is out of the wind and does not have a flowing current. You can use a depression in a rock, a hollowed out stump, a big leaf, a puddle or the bottom of a cup or can. The liquid can be anything also – water, urine, pop, milk, gasoline, juice or even spit.

At this point, assembling the compass is pretty simple. With the magnetized needle on the small wood shaving or leaf, place it in the middle of the undisturbed liquid and watch the magic. Slowly the needle will rotate and align itself with the north/south line.

At this point you will at least know the north/south line. The next step is to determine which way is actually north and which way is actually south. The most reliable way to do this is to determine the general direction of east and west. If the sun was clear in the sky then you wouldn’t need to make a compass. However, even on a cloudy morning and evening you can tell the general direction of where the sun is rising and setting by the glowing hue in the horizon.

Once you know the general direction of east or west you can easily determine which way is north and south on your needle compass. After north and south are determined you can then use your compass to stay on a direct path by setting it every 15-20 minutes as you walk and realigning yourself with your chosen direction. Choosing a landmark in the distance that aligns with your direction will help you stay on a straight course.

Mullein: 4 Fire Making Tools in 1 Plant

Mullein in Winter

Mullein in Winter

Mullein is often referred to by botanists as “Common Mullein”. Well let me tell you up front – there is NOTHING common about this amazing plant. As a BushCrafter & Survivalist, the study of plants should be a part of your outdoor regular regimen. Besides wonderful foods and medicines, plants can provide an outdoors man with incredible tools as well. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is a plant that provides nearly all 3! In this post, though, we will explore the 4 main fire making components of the Mullein plant.

Mullein In Summer

Mullein In Summer

Mullein typically grows from 4 to 8 feet tall and is easily spotted in late summer by its beautiful flowering yellow spike. Once the plant has died in late fall, the dry mullein stalk will stand for months afterward – well into winter and even the next summer.

Mullein in Winter

Mullein in Winter

For fire making, this season is when the Mullein plant is most useful. Below is a break-down of the 4 Fire Components of the Mullein Plant:

Component # 1: Mullein Leaves

Dried Mullein Leaves used as a Tinder Bundle

Dried Mullein Leaves used as a Tinder Bundle

No matter the method of fire-making… you need to start with great tinder. The dried soft and fuzzy mullein leaves make a perfect tinder bundle. Because mullein stands straight and tall off the ground, its leaves are often dry when many other tinder materials are not.

Component # 2: The Dried Flower Spike

Dried Mullein Flower Head - Nature's Feather Sticks

Dried Mullein Flower Head - Nature's Feather Sticks

The dried dead flower spike of the mullein plant has several great uses when it comes to fire. My favorite is to cut up the long dried seed pod spike and use the pieces as fire kindling. These are nature’s perfect Feather Sticks and do the trick EVERY time for me.

Another slang name for Mullein is TORCH PLANT. This comes from when people actually used the dried flower spike as a night-time torch. They would soak the flower spike in pine resin and once set on fire it would act a huge wick and burn for up to 1 hour.

Dried Flower Top Used as TORCH

Dried Flower Top Used as TORCH

Component # 3: The Stalk

When dry, the mullein stalk is very hard on the outside but has a soft pithy center. Because of this, sections cut from the mullein stalk make EXCELLENT spindles for a bow drill or hand drill. Thicker sections of the stalk can also be split in half and used as the Hearth Board to a friction by fire set.

Section of Mullein Stalk before Splitting into Hearth Board

Section of Mullein Stalk before Splitting into Hearth Board

Split stalk to be used as a hearth board for bow drill set

Split stalk to be used as a hearth board for bow drill set

Pieces from the mullein stalk also make great fire wood. They work best to build the fire from it’s fragile stages until it has life of it’s own. It can be easily split into very small sections that take a flame very quickly.

Component # 4: The Root

Mullein Root - A Fire Tool?

Mullein Root - A Fire Tool?

Besides being a great piece of firewood itself, the root can serve as an effective fire making tool as well. If carved properly, the root can be used as hand socket for a bow drill set or as a mouth socket for a hand drill set. Being the hardest part of the plant, the mullein root lends itself well to a socket material.

Mullein Spindle, Hand Socket & Hearth Board

Mullein Spindle, Hand Socket & Hearth Board

**Note in the photo above that I have spliced a piece of GREEN MAPLE on the the top of the mullein spindle. When I was building and testing this set the top of the spindle kept splitting off as I was using it in the bow drill set. I inserted a piece of green maple into the top of the mullein spindle and lashed it on with a piece of paracord so it wouldn’t split out. This solved the problem.

So as you can see, the Mullein plant can pretty much get you from A to Z when it comes to building a fire. I’ve also filmed a video about using the Mullein plant to make fire – I have posted that below.

Hope you enjoy! As always – would love to hear your thoughts and comments…

Cheers~
Creek

How to Make BushCraft Style Stick Bread

I have to admit, bread is probably one of my favorite foods. I love everything about it actually…the taste, the texture but mostly the smell. There is nothing quite like the aroma of fresh baking bread. Whenever I venture into the woods and I know I will preparing a meal, you can bet I’ll pack one of my favorite bread flour mixes.

To pack the flour I use a drawstring leather pouch – lined with a ziplock bag to keep the flour dry.

Leather Flour Container - Drawstring Closure

Leather Flour Container - Drawstring Closure

Leather Flour Container: Zip-lock Liner

Leather Flour Container: Zip-lock Liner

If you’ve never heard of Bob’s Red Mill, they are company out of Portland, Oregon that makes a huge variety of all natural flour mixes. They have a mix for everyone – from Gluten Free to Buck Wheat Pancakes. And they stone grind all of the grain like our ancestors did 100’s of years ago. You can find Bob’s Red Mill products at most supermarkets or on-line at http://www.bobsredmill.com. One of my favorite bread mixes to use in my bushcraft adventures is the 10 Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix. It includes Wheat Flour, Buttermilk Powder, Baking Powder, Millet, Oats and all kinds of other ingredients that make for awesome Stick Bread.

Making Stick Bread is very simple.  Below are the key steps:

Step 1:Prepare a hot bed of coals by burning a fire for 30 mins or so…

Step 2:Cut a Green Limb about the thickness of a quarter.  Choose a non-poisonous tree such as Pine or Maple.  Strip all of the bark off with your bushcraft knife.

Step 3: Mix your bread dough and roll into thin strips – about 1/2 inch thick and 1-2 inches wide and 12 inches long or so.  I always pack a couple plastic flexible cutting boards in my BushCraft Pack.  These are easy to clean, durable and I use them ALL THE TIME when preparing meals.

Step 4: Wrap the bread lengths around the stick you have prepared.  Use multiple sticks if necessary.

Step 5: Stick the stick in the ground beside the fire so that the bread is leaning over the hot coals.  Rotate as necessary while cooking.  Your bread is ready when you can stick in a sharp little stick (like a toothpick size) in it and the stick comes out clean.

I’d love to know how you prepare bread in the bush.  I’m sure everyone else would too, so feel free to share by posting your thoughts below.

Mora Sheath Modifications Video

A few days ago I made a blog post about some sheath modifications I made using a layering velcro system to my Morakniv 840 MG knife. Since that post several people have e-mailed asking me to do a short video so that they can see the system in more detail. Below is that video – hope you enjoy!

Thanks – Creek!

Wild Rose Hip Trail Mix Video

I just uploaded a video about how to gather and prepare Wild Rose Hips for one of my favorite trail snacks – Wild Rose Hip Trail Mix.

Here is the video or you can also view it in the Video Gallery.

Hope you enjoy!

Creek

Pine Tree Winter Survival Snow Shelter Video Post

On a recent winter adventure in the Rocky Mountains I was able to film a video about a quick “Mother Nature” winter shelter idea to reduce exposure from the harsh winter elements. In deep snow, pine trees create a natural shelter at their base…and with a little work it can be a huge help in getting out of high winds while ‘regrouping’.

Pine Tree Winter Exposure Snow Shelter

Pine Tree Winter Exposure Snow Shelter

Below is the video post for more details or you can also visit the video gallery of the web-site. Hope you enjoy! Creek

Like what you see?? Click here to subscribe to the WillowHavenOutdoor.com Feed by Email. I’ve got some really exciting posts in the pipe-line that you don’t want to miss out on… Thanks! Creek

or

Subscribe in a reader of your choice

Getting Started With A Bow Drill – Part 2

I just added the 2nd part video in the 2 part series about how to get started with a bow drill.  Here is it below or you can visit the Video Gallery:

New Bow Drill Video Added

The most popular question I receive here at Willow Haven Outdoor is how to get started with creating fire using a bow drill.  In my opinion, when you are first trying to create fire with a bow drill, it is more important to learn how a bow drill works than actually getting a fire going.

In response to these questions, I have filmed a 2 part video series titled “Getting Started With a Bow Drill”.  In the first part of this series I break down each piece in a bow drill set and explain what materials have worked best for me in my bow drill experiences.  In the 2nd video I show the process of using the bow drill pieces to generate a coal using friction and then how to blow that coal into a flame using a tinder bundle.

Starting fire this way isn’t really that difficult if you understand the process.  Like anything, it takes practice.  It is also important, especially in the beginning, to use materials that will work for you.  In the videos I suggest materials to use that will allow you to focus on learning because they are easy to use.  Once you understand the process and hone your skills and technique with easy materials you can then challenge yourself with more difficults combinations of spindle woods and tinder.  Below is the 1st Video in this series.  Good Luck!