How To Make A Pitch Stick
In more circumstances than not, at some point in a survival setting it sure would be nice to have some type of adhesive or sealant. The issue becomes how to get it and more importantly, how to get it in a large enough volume to really make a significant impact in easing the load in what can be a most difficult situation. One of the most intelligent solutions to this dilemma is to make what is commonly referred to as a pitch stick.
We have all heard of using tree sap as sealant and adhesive, but the problem with this is that pure sap or tree tar is brittle and needs to be gathered constantly every time a need is presented. While this may not seem to be a big deal at first glance eventually it will be realized that much time will be spent gathering and replacing cracked adhesive. What is worse is when time is stolen from addressing other issues such as obtaining fire or water when daylight is short.
A pitch stick or a number of them can be made at once, are easily stored and transported from location to location and if made properly are flexible and lasting in use.
The pitch in this process is a simple mixture of tree sap, charcoal from a camp fire or even animal herbivore scat if charcoal is unavailable. The first step is to gather the tree sap either in a container or on a flat rock, and while just about any sap will do pine sap works perhaps best because of it's commonality and incredible adhesive properties.
Cooled charcoal can be placed on a flat surface and crushed to a fine powder either by rolling a stick back and forth over it or by pounding it with a rock. Following this it is mixed thoroughly with the tree sap after which the heat is applied to the creation by placing it near the heat of a camp fire or if no fire is available allowing it to sit for several hours in direct sunlight. When softened the pitch is applied to a stick from which the bark has been removed.and then allowing the mixture to cool. This can be quickened by briefly immersing the pitch stick in water. Several coats of pitch can be applied to the same stick, and several sticks can be made simultaneously.
When the need to use the pitch stick arises it can be softened by holding it briefly over a fire or if no fire is available it can be softened by placing a few dry leaves around the pitch and holding it between your hands for a few minutes.