View Full Version : Neo-Tribal "Epoxy"/AKA Cutler's Resin

Dana Acker
04-10-2001, 07:35 PM
A few minutes ago, I glued a blade in a piece of antler using the pine pitch glue. My mix called for 3 parts pitch, 1 part bees wax, and 2 parts moose dung. The dried moose dung was hammer forged (cold) on the kitchen counter basically to a coarse powder. I melted the pitch and the wax in an old soup can, then stirred in the hand forged powdered dung to form the glue. I did this in my kitchen on the gas range. Pitch smokes a lot when melting. A lot. I've not had a wife for nigh on three years. You married men take note. Two things to keep your wife in a state of wedded bliss in this life, probably don't include hammered moose dung and smoking pitch in her kitchen.

I wrapped the blade in a cold, wet washcloth, then heated the tang in the flame of the gas range, not real hot, but too hot to touch comfortably. I then poured the melted pitch glue into the bored out antler, and liberally painted some on the heated tang with a flux brush. I inserted the tang, and pushed a 3/32" brass pin through a pre-drilled and countersunk hole in both antler and tang to keep it from moving around during setup, and, for an extra secure hold. Cleanup had to be quick, because the glue gets thick and tacky pretty fast. Acetone helped a lot in cleaning up. It seemed to cut through the resin pretty well. By the time I got the handle and blade cleaned up from the insertion ooze, what was left of the glue around the opening of the handle and the blade was easily mashed down, formed, and smoothed.

Seems I remember a post many moons ago on the old, original NT Forum, when Wayne Goddard use to contribute right much, and he said something to the effect that he had removed some knife handles off of old knives which had been glued with a pitch/beeswax/brick dust, etc., type of mix. He commented that they were not easily removed--that the cutler's resin was still holding many years later--if I am paraphrasing Wayne correctly.

Wish the Blade, Tim, Max, Wayne, if he's lurking, and any others who have used this type of ashesive would chime in with some of their experiments and experiences.

Dana Acker
04-11-2001, 08:35 PM
This morning after having sat all night, the resin was still just a slight bit tacky around the handle opening. It was stiff and firm, but one could indent it with their fingernail if they tried. I tried an old Gene Chapman trick and rubbed a little dirt over it and it seemed to be less tacky than before. Anybody else in the world using this stuff?

The Flaming Blade
04-11-2001, 09:52 PM
I've never tried the beeswax in my mix. I either use straight pinon pitch or, pitch/dung combo. They never have set up tacky, but hardened completly after they cooled. The pitch and beeswax reminds me of a mix I heard of for repousse work, without the dung. Some of the flint knappers I know mix in crushed charcoal instead of dung. All pitch seems to be a little different, so no telling what would be best with a particular kind. I've heard that pinion is best, but even it varies. I've tied some pitch from the Mexican pinion pine cones, that had a slower setting time, but was not quite a hard as the North American pinion pitch.

Dana Acker
04-12-2001, 06:12 AM
Day two, the pitch seems a little harder. OF the two balls of pitch I have, one is rock hard and must be broken up before melting, and one is more like putty, but with a hard outer crust. I used the more spongy one. It feels like it is setting up, but it's just taking it's time. The knife blade is not going anywhere though, and I would not hesitate using the knife.

Dana Acker
04-14-2001, 08:25 AM
North Carolineans were given the name "tar heels" during the American Revolution because of their bravery in battle. In the face of overwhelming odds the NC boys just wouldn't run. One English officer commented that it was if they had pitch on the bottoms of their feet, and were stuck to the ground. After having worked with pine pitch glue, and being an N.C. boy, this has special significance for me.

Dana Acker
04-14-2001, 12:15 PM
I did a hemp wrap on the piece I described above. After, I melted some pitch and painted it on around the hemp cord. It sealed it great. Then I took a little dirt and rubbed in and gave it a real old look. Will try to post photos next week. It turned out great.

04-19-2001, 11:59 AM
I saw an artical a while back in american survival guide that showed a cracked wooden bowl being fixed with pine pitch epoxy mixed with powered egg shell and it set up great!!!!.

Dana Acker
04-19-2001, 01:28 PM
Powdered egg shell, cool. Thanks Rufus.

Dana Acker
04-19-2001, 02:20 PM
Here's another recipie I found while scrounging around some primitive technology sites:

5 Parts Pine Pitch
1 Part Wood Ashes (Substitute moose or deer dung, brick dust, or powdered egg shells)
1 Part Tallow (Substitute beeswax or carnauba wax)

(the substitutions are mine from ideas put forth on the forum by those who chimed in on the discussion.)

05-13-2001, 07:34 AM
Also try diatomaceous earth in place of brick dust or dung. I used it with my first batch and the only thing I noticed was that the diatomaceous earth seemed to settle out durning cooling. So, you have to keep your resin stirred up while you're using it. I could see no benefits to adding it, but it certainly can't hurt. Diatomaceous earth is available at plant nursery's and most any place you can buy insecticides. It's used in the garden for controlling all manner of bugs, especially suited to soft bodied worms and hard shelled beetles. It's composed of crushed diatom shells from the bottom of the Ocean floor. Microscopic razor blades that get into the joints of bugs and slice them to ribbons and dehydrate them. Neo-Tribal pest control!

I brought up the subject of cutler's resin with some of the teachers and Master Smiths at school. I got mixed opinions. But mainly what I got was blank stares. They didn't know what I was talking about and had mostly never heard of it. Even Bill Moran didn't know anything about it. They all wanted the recipe though. He he. We're on the cutting edge here boys. Cutler's resin rules!!!

Dana Acker
05-14-2001, 07:37 AM
Max, welcome back, Bro. We missed you, big guy. Tell us all about what you learned--got any pics?

05-14-2001, 08:41 AM
Thanks Dana. Here's a link to Photopoint with some pics in it of school and the hammer-in. (
I haven't had time to get them all in there yet. There's a bunch of them. I took at least 100 or more. I'll be adding them as I get time. Keep checking back because there's some real good coverage of the school and hammer-in.

You'll see a pic of Bill Hicks among the ones I've uploaded. He really got on top of the Cutler's Resin idea. He's an amazing fellow. He makes black powder rifles and does some restoration work on old ones. I mean he makes the things! Lock, stock and barrell. He's excited about the possibility of bedding his barrells and breech in Cutler's Resin and because of our many conversations on the subject, he's finally figured out what the glue in some of the old pieces is. Cutler's Resin! Or, gunsmiths resin maybe. But definately a pine pitch glue of some type. Very exciting to rediscover an old secret so he can be more accurate in his re creations. He's trying to figure out some kind of natural masking compound to coat the barrells in to keep the resin from sticking to them during the bedding process. Cutler's Resin will stick to almost anything, so it'll be a tricky business. Any ideas would be helpful. I'll pass them on to him and also give him the link to this forum so he can come visit and share some of his wisdom with us.

I met a bunch of amazing folks in the month I was staying there. Jim Crowell, Bill Moran, Jerry Fisk, Kevin Cashen, B.R. Hughes, C. Houston Price, Billy Nations, Mike Williams and many, many more. What an experience! Bill Moran is one of the most easy going and easy to talk to people I've ever met. He's a genuine human being with stories to tell that'll make you bust a gut! His Damascus class was pure poetry. The man can teach you to do anything! You'll be seeing some knives I'll be forging out of some of the damascus billets I forged up during the class. I got very creative with it. I forged some 384 layer billets from 01 and 1018 mild steel. That's his 'Moran Recipe' for damascus. The cool part is that you don't have to draw a temper on the finished blade. You just leave it as quenched. I also forged some cable damascus, chainsaw chain damascus and my last billet was a 'Moran Recipe' billet with a maiden hair twist of 328 layers with a little chainsaw chain added on the 5th fold and folded 2 more times. What a beautiful pattern! I'm almost afraid to forge it out because of the possibility of losing some of the pattern.

Sometime soon, I'll post a short narrative of the classes I took and the experiences I had during those weeks at the school. I'll also share some of the tips and tricks I learned.

Kevin Isler
05-14-2001, 09:53 AM
Glad to have you back, I figured you'd have some tails to tell and some new tricks & pics to share. :)

05-14-2001, 11:28 AM
Look out 'ole Max is back in Town :D

Dana Acker
05-14-2001, 02:11 PM
Very cool photos Max. Must've had a good time.

Dana Acker
05-16-2001, 08:39 AM
Hey Max, would you tell us one more time how you use the cutler's resin in fastening slab handles. That wsa a good and informative post that got lost when the old Outpost went down. That's one we ennd to hear again, and put in the archives. Now that we've got you back, Max, we're going to put you to work. No free lunches on the Outpost. :)

05-16-2001, 08:48 AM
Yeah, maybe I'll work up a tutorial on that too Dana. It's easy, but would be better communicated with pictures. Cutler's Resin rules and that's a fact!

Dana Acker
05-17-2001, 07:53 AM
So far I have only used it on hidden tang knives, but with good results. I really like sealing my hemp cord wrappings with it too. I posted this picture earlier, but here it is again. The knife tang is both pinned and glued into the antler with the pine pitch glue. Also the hemp cord "ferrule" is sealed with it.

05-17-2001, 04:41 PM
That's a dandy Dana! Send it to me and I'll trade you out of it. Who know's what'll be coming from my forge in the days and weeks to come. I've got to get started on my IITH friction folder pretty soon so I'll be geared up for something Tribal. I love to trade!!!

Dana Acker
06-01-2001, 11:37 AM
Hey Max, How do you glue slab handles on with cutler's resin, Bro? :)

06-01-2001, 01:14 PM
It's easy Dana. Just lay the tang in the hot resin while you're getting the slabs ready. Then ladle on lots of resin and lay your slabs on one at a time. Dip the pins in the resin before inserting in one of the slabs until about 1/4" is sticking through. That way, you can lay the other slab directly onto the tang using the pins for alignment. Of course, the pins have to stick through the tang a little for that to work.

Since the tang is hot, the resin will stay liquid long enough for you to get the handle in a vise to set up. Peen the pins almost flush, then heat up the handle again with a heat gun or torch and finish peening the pins. Coat the entire handle with hot resin now and wipe off the excess with a lint free rag. After you do your finish sanding, coat the handle with resin one more time and wipe off the excess. There you go. Easy as pie! After the handle cools, rub it with a lint free cloth to shine it up. Works great and is way better than epoxy!

Dana Acker
06-01-2001, 01:58 PM
Do you find it holds well?

06-01-2001, 02:06 PM
It's not about holding Dana, it's about sealing. You know that. The pins hold the slabs on. The resin just seals out any chance for rust to set up. As for sealing, it has proven itself quite well. Look at amber. It's acutally the sap from a deciduous tree like pine, cedar, spruce or cypress. Little insects have been found in that sap that carbon date to millions of years old! Of course it seals well.

Wayne Goddard wrote a report about a knife he was commissioned to re-handle once. It seems that the handle slabs were sealed on with cutler's resin. He had to litteraly beat the slabs off to do the job! I'm thinking it's the best way to go. Time will tell, but I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Dana Acker
06-01-2001, 09:43 PM
I read that article by Wayne Goddard too, Max. I wish Wayne would chime in once in a while. He used to be a regular on this forum--back in the old days. He got taken to task a few too many times on the forum though, rightly or wrongly, I can't say as I wasn't involved in his posts, but he probably got sick of it. I miss his input. Wayne, if you're out there, your welcome to come back on board, Sir.

Anyway, after reading his article, that's when I figured there might be some real "holding" power to the cutler's resin mix, depending on the mix. I know when I get it on something, like my hands or the kitchen sink or stove, it sticks to that real well. It sticks so well to kitchen appliances, that it's probably better off that I'm single for now. :)

Dana Acker
07-16-2001, 07:07 AM
Lots of good info here--just keeping it current.

04-13-2003, 01:04 PM
Good thread! Did Wayne ever come back?
Dana, how is your catche of pitch? How much pitch does one usually catche? And does it really matter if you are pitchin' or catchin?:D da bump....