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  #1  
Old 02-08-2003, 05:06 AM
Canwell Knives Canwell Knives is offline
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How to make pitch

Making pitch

I want to learn how to make pitch to be used as glue to hold on knife handles. I have no idea where to begin. Can you help?

Also, can you tell me something about the 'qualities' of pitch please.

Is it brittle, meaning would it fail as a fixitive, or is it flexable and tough and how does it perform as a fixitive to wood, metal and bone?

I don't really want to use modern fixatives. I would much rather learn the 'old ways'. Can anyone recommend a tutorial or a good book?
Some glues and resins go brittle and fail after time (several years), does pitch do the same?

Thanks,

Bear


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  #2  
Old 02-08-2003, 09:26 AM
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MaxTheKnife MaxTheKnife is offline
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Well Bear, Cutler's Resin is different things to different people. I'll give you my recipe though and you can go from there. The problem is in tracking down all the ingredients.

My Cutler's Resin recipe includes the following ingredients in the suggested amounts.

- 1 pound of brewer's or food grade pine picth.
- 1/4 to 1/2 pound of beeswax (less for hard, more for flex)
- 1/2 cup or more of carnauba wax flakes
- a pinch or two of any aggrigates you choose (brick dust, dry moose dung, diatomaceous earth, portland cement etc...)

Melt the pitch and beeswax together SLOWLY in a stainless steel or cast iron pot and add the carnauba wax flakes after it's fully melted. Pine pitch and beeswax are very flamable so be careful. Then add your aggrigate if desired. I've fuond it unnecessary for knifemaking purposes but you be the judge.

The trick is to make the mixture to your own liking Bear. Don't depend on someone else's recipe. Experiment until you come up with the right proportions for your own needs. Start with small batches until you find the right consistency after hardening. I like it to stay flexible and that's what the beeswax does for it. But it also lowers the melting point so it's a tradeoff.

Straight pitch is very brittle but if that's all I had I'd make it work. Once the tang is bedded firmly in the pitch it's not going anywhere. The same with a full tang handle as long as it's stiff enough that it would never flex and crack the pitch. You can see where this is going. The sky is the limit. Just experiment old buddy. And by all means, have fun! And here's a thread from the archives dealing with Cutler's Resin for you to look at. Email me at mburnett@cswnet.com if you need help finding all the ingredients.
Here's the link to the archives:

http://www.ckdforums.com/showthread....=Cutlers+resin

Oh, one last tip about using Cutler's Resin for knifemaking. One thing I discovered that will really help you out in the fitup of the tang to handle on full tang knifes is using a thin layer of suede leather as a shim between the handle slabs and the tang. Saturate the leather with hot Cutler's Resin until it's completely soaked and it will act as an expansion buffer and also help the slabs conform to a rough tang surface. Just lay the leather and the slab on the tang and drive your pin through the leather piece for a tight fit. Do that for both slabs and then pein down the pins. After the resin sets up you can trim the overlapping leather off flush with the handle. Hope this helps you Bear.

Last edited by MaxTheKnife; 02-08-2003 at 09:30 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-08-2003, 09:56 AM
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The pitch I use is natural pinon pitch. I collect the pitch myself. The pinons are the first pines that you come to as you head up into the mountains around here. The cone has a large seed that you can eat. That's the best way to identify them. The pitch also has a very sweet smell. They actually sell it as insense. You want to collect the hard/dry pitch, not the sappy pitch. I look under the tree for hard balls of the pitch.

To process the pitch, first I melt it to a low simmer, and strain out any needles or twigs. Then let it cool. After that I crush the pitch and dissolve it in rubbing alcohol to make the sealer. I use the pitch in other ways too, without the alcohol. It can be used as a glue, filler, and to stabilize wood. The pitch is just a good natural hard waterproof resin that can be mixed with a number of different things for different purposes. It can be used straight as well. It's a very traditional material
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Old 02-08-2003, 10:03 AM
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To use it as a glue to hold a tang in the handle, first get a good tight fit on the tang, by burning it in. Then heat the tang to about 300 degrees and just rub it with a hard/dry piece of pitch. The pitch will melt over the tang. Then just slide the tang into the handle and let it cool. I've tested it for strength. The only ways to get it apart are to either re-heat the blade until the pitch melts or break the handle off with a hammer.

The pitch is very stable and will not become brittle or break down like other synthetic resins. If it sits long enough under the right conditions, it turns to amber.

Last edited by Misternatural?; 02-08-2003 at 10:05 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2003, 02:34 PM
Hexenwolfe Hexenwolfe is offline
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Cool Pitch, Rosin, and Cutler's resin

For anyone living east of the mountain states, the pitch from a Scotch pine works well. Scotch pine have been extensively used in landscaping, reforestation, and for Christmas trees. When mature the Scotch pine is short lived. It often develops extensive leaks of pitch which collect in masses on the trunk. If one climbs the tree, or uses a ladder it is my experience that several pounds of pitch can be collected from a mature Scotch pine with no damage to the tree whatsoever.


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Old 02-10-2003, 02:42 PM
Hexenwolfe Hexenwolfe is offline
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Pitch, Rosin, and cutler's resin part deux.

The discussions in this thread have been using the term "pitch" throughout. IMHO the more proper term for the hardened, processed, substance derived from pitch is "Rosin". In historical and nautical terms pitch indicates a liquid or semi-liquid material which is the sap of various evergreen trees. Rosin on the other hand is what is created when the volatile lighter molecular weight components of pitch evaporate, or are cooked off. Rosin is hard, amber-like, and a dense solid at room temperatures. Rosin is waterproof but soluable in alcohol, and petroleum. It is rosin, not pitch that is used in stitching wax, cutler's resin, adhesives, and many other products of the pre-modern society. :cool:


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Old 02-10-2003, 03:21 PM
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Chuck Burrows Chuck Burrows is offline
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hexenwolfe welcome to the Outpost and thanks for the info.

You're right about the name, but everybody I know always calls it pitch and I know it is often sold as brewer's pitch, of course maybe we could start a movement.....

For those who don't have easy access to pitch/rosin you can get it at James Townsend and Sons for $7.00 a pound here's a link.
http://www.jastown.com/bulk/bp-293.htm

They also carry a very good grade of golden beeswax for the same price. http://www.jastown.com/lantern/bw-290.htm

Chuck


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  #8  
Old 02-10-2003, 08:53 PM
Hexenwolfe Hexenwolfe is offline
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Pitch, Rosin, and Cutler's resin...

Here is a photo of some pitch/ rosin I made from Scotch pine. I harvested the pitch from 5 mature Scotch pine trees and ended up with 28 lbs of rosin. I originally made it because I needed a small amount of rosin for stitching wax. One thing lead to another and now I have a lifetime supply! The photo shows the reddish brown color and hard shiny surface. This rosin is very hard and not at all tacky. It melts easily and blends well with wax and linseed oil.


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  #9  
Old 02-10-2003, 11:25 PM
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The correct hillbilly term is "hard pitch".

Just kidding, thanks for pointing that out. Hope you can hang around and keep us straight.
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Old 02-11-2003, 01:00 AM
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Jamey Saunders Jamey Saunders is offline
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Well, that picture of rosin looks familiar. I get to see that every fall. The small town I'm from (Portal, GA, outside of Statesboro) has one of the two remaining old-time turpentine stills in the state (maybe the country, not sure). Every fall, they fire up the still for making turpentine, and once they've boiled all the turpentine off, they pour the remaining stuff out into a pan about 3 feet wide and 15 feet long. When it hardens, they break it up with axes. They sell it off to be powdered and used in stuff like a pitcher's rosin bag.

I'll have to post an announcement for any of you in the area who would like to see turpentine being made when the time comes around. My grandfather helped build that still. Kinda has sentimental value for me.


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Old 02-11-2003, 08:14 AM
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MaxTheKnife MaxTheKnife is offline
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Hey Hexenwolfe, please share your harvesting method with us. How did you get all that resin out of the pine trees? I've seen the old method of building a fire under a suspended pine tree trunk but that must take days of tending the fire. How'd you do it?
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Old 02-11-2003, 08:31 AM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Hexenwolfe and Bear, Welcome to the forum! Good topic. Yeah, I'm interested in your harvesting methods as well.


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Old 02-11-2003, 09:54 AM
Hexenwolfe Hexenwolfe is offline
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Harvesting pitch

It would make a better story if I could claim some exotic and secret technique. In fact, Scotch pine secretes pitch from every hole as it ages. All I did was scrape the piles of pitch from the locations on the trees where they had collected. I did not harm the trees in any way. As I recall, I collected about a five gallon bucket of dirty pitch. I heated it in an empty coffee can on the kitchen stove on a low heat. (smelled great, just like pine incense until I dripped some on the burner and it scortched!) When it was melted, I strained it through coarse cheesecloth to remove the debris. My yield was about 40 percent clean rosin. I discarded the rest. I probably could have crushed the consolidated trash and recovered another 20 percent as powdered rosin, but I had no need. Historically, pitch was collected by slashing the trunk of the pine and collecting the sap that was secreted to seal the injury. Very much like collecting latex for making rubber.


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Old 02-11-2003, 09:55 AM
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I know alot of you have already seen this, but here's how I find and collect the pinon pitch... oops I meant rosin.
http://pub14.ezboard.com/fthecrucibl...picID=30.topic
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Old 02-11-2003, 12:00 PM
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pitch, rosin, gunk

Ok. So, I've read the old recipies for cutler's resin, seen all the threads and posts and opinions on the subject. Now I have one final question...

At what rate does the addition of wax (bees, carnauba, maybe even parrifin) affect the final hardness of the rosin/pitch/whatever?

My reason for asking is, I want to do some reprousse work on copper sheet, and need a firm but somewhat flexible backing for this. Theophilus reccomends a pitch mixture, but the proportions are not well explained. When I hit the copper with hammer and chisel, I need the stuff underneath to give way - not crack and powder. Sooooo... are we talking 1 part pitch to 1 part wax, or what?

Anyone who's messed with this before, I'd appreciate the input. I suppose I could just trial and error this until I get it right, but I'd like to save a little time.

Thanks.


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