How to extract pine tar using a Dutch Oven or heavy stainless steel pot and make your roof water-proof

chrysolite By chrysolite, 22nd Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>DIY>Maintenance

Pine tar extracted from any pine was used to caulk ships, to make roofs waterproof and it still plays a big part in natural medicine where it's used for skin conditions and cough.

There are many varieties of "tar"

Unfortunately there are voices out there that claim that tar causes cancer. Like all half-truths this is dangerous and confusing knowledge, but it gets widely distributed. Petroleum based tar as used on roads or tar paint based on crude oil may be unhealthy if combined with a unhealthy lifestyle, but natural tars manufactured from the sap of trees can be considered as a healing agent and is even used to protect the hooves of racing horses.

One can extract the golden coloured pine resin fairly easily "by hand". We should use roots, stumps and blow downs of the Pinus Silvestris, in other words "left-overs".

Materials needed

  • Good wood saw (manual, electric or motor chain saw)
  • Broad rounded chisel or Stanley Scraper
  • Hammer
  • Storing jars
  • Small bits of firewood
  • Clay
  • Flat piece of wood about 1 to 2 cm thick
  • Roots, stumps and blow downs from Pinus Silvestris, cut into approx. 5 cm chunks
  • A place where one is allowed to make an open fire or an indoor fireplace
  • A Dutch oven or any thick walled stainless steel pot with heavy lid, the bigger the better
  • If you want to make medicinal tincture from the end product, you also need a fairly high percent alcohol as pine tar dissolves in it.
  • If you want to make a good "drawing" cream, you also need some beeswax and either some good olive oil or freshly mashed Aloe Vera.

Procedure of how to extract pine tar

  1. Look for "left-over" pine roots, stumps, closed cones or blow downs of a pine tree
  2. Cut the wood into small bits approx. 5 cm
  3. Wedge the bits into the Dutch Oven or heavy stainless steel pot and cover with lid (remove handle if necessary). Pieces should be pressed in tightly so they will stay in place when turning over the pot.
  4. Cut groves into a flat piece of wood that is slightly larger than the pot.
  5. Place one end of the flat piece of wood on a pile of rock or bricks so it slants slightly. Under the other end of the wood, place a container to catch the tar.
  6. Now turn the covered pot upside down towards the "higher" end of the board.
  7. Cover the lid with a thick layer of clay.
  8. Build a fire on the clay covered pot

Watch and wait always keeping the fire burning. It may take about 30 min. until the tar starts flowing. Depending on which pine you are using, this method will approximately yield 2 to 3 cups of pine tar. When finished extracting the tar and tar has cooled down you can use the "bits" for firewood and store the tar in screw top jars.

As mentioned above, pine tar dissolves in alcohol. This tincture is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

To make the drawing cream, put some water into a pot, put with some pine tar, olive oil, bees wax into a bowl that fits into the pot with water (double-boiler or bain marie). Add other healing ingredients of your choice, i.e. Aloe Vera. Put the bowl with the ingredients into the pot with water and bring water to the boil. Wait until ingredients have dissolved, then fill the mixture into jars and cover after the mixture has cooled down.

Neat pine tar can be used to fill the cracks in roofs (especially in hot countries like Spain where the sun ruins simply every paint or material used to cover roofs). In summer the tar "melts and flows" into the cracks waterproofing the roof for the winter. Petroleum based tar sold in liquid form also works, but is very expensive.

If you don't want to go to all this "trouble", I've found a few German web sites where they sell "Fichtenteer" = pine tar and "Buchenholzteer" = beech tar which is equally good, if not better at around € 4.50 per kg.

Yes, "natural" is best, especially if it's the only thing that works ...

Thanks for calling in!


Cough, Dutch Oven, Eczema, Extract, Healing Cream, Natural Medicine, Pine, Roofs, Sealant, Ships, Skin Complaints, Tar

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author avatar chrysolite
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author avatar rajaryanme
23rd Jul 2010 (#)

A very fine post with useful tips.

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author avatar chrysolite
25th Jul 2010 (#)

Thank you rjaryanme for your comment! Will have a look at your articles too! See you there! ;)

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author avatar Retired
28th Jul 2010 (#)

I love all your articles, they're full of useful information and easy directions. Great writing:)

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author avatar Donald W.
13th Dec 2011 (#)

Just the how-to I been looking for.

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