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Tree Sap & Wood Ash - Natural Adhesives & Waterproof Sealants  RSS feed

 
Dianne Keast
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Natural Adhesives, Glues & Waterproof Sealants - Tree Sap & wood ash

I was wondering if anyone had experience with Tree Sap & Wood Ash Glue or waterproofing?

I know Native Americans have used this successfully to create very strong cements to glue tools & seal things to make them waterproof.
Even after almost 100 yrs I seen items with this mixture still hold together.

MY QUESTION IS does anyone have experience with this? Do you know what kind of tree sap to use & what kind of wood ash? or a recipe of required proportions?
 
Rose Pinder
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I would love to know this too.
 
William Bronson
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Terry Ruth
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This is next to impossible to answer and experience without all the details does not tell us alot. Until someone takes a specific test sample into a lab to develop properties or they can be found on the internet somewhere? We have no way to design applications. Once we have the that info we can look at how it would perform in certain "field studies" in certain climates. If you have the time and money give it a try and let us know, the problem with that is alot of what we need to know is not visible with the naked eye.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Dianne,

Hi William B....I will do my best...

Natural Adhesives, Glues & Waterproof Sealants - Tree Sap & wood ash...I was wondering if anyone had experience with Tree Sap & Wood Ash Glue or waterproofing?


Yes...

I know Native Americans have used this successfully to create very strong cements to glue tools & seal things to make them waterproof.
Even after almost 100 yrs I seen items with this mixture still hold together.


This is very true, and other indigenous cultures as well. The Smithsonian (et el) has some examples in there collections and if anyone is near a large Natural History museum, they may be able to speak with, and/or see examples in the collection.

MY QUESTION IS does anyone have experience with this? Do you know what kind of tree sap to use & what kind of wood ash? or a recipe of required proportions?


Yikes... Hmmm...in order of questions...Yes...It depends on species available Conifer is most common but other resins species are also employed...Experimentation from base recipes (start with 50:50 and adjust) is the best teacher...(That is the best short answer I can give...)

In general any wood ash will work, however I have found that purer hardwood (i.e all oak or ash or maple or bamboo etc) seems better. Augmenting with bird egg shell (chick/duck will do) just put in fire to "cook" and "ash out" as the wood burns down is a practice. Also keeping the egg/sea shell separate has some properties for certain glues. Bone, skin, facia/sinew is part of this conversation of "natural adhesives" as well. Egg, pitch, rice, milk, are also possibilities...

I am trying my best to be brief as I have been ask to do so...and...this is a really "huge" subject. If you can dial in some specifics of what you would like to try, I can, perhaps, make some helpful suggests that will "dial in" your efforts.

Regards,

j
 
Rose Pinder
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Jay, what kind of tree sap? Does it need to be resinous?

What situations could woodash/sap sealants be used in? Natural glues I am more familiar with, but haven't looked at waterproof ones.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Rose,

Yes, it does need to be a resin base sap most commonly coming from (but not limited to) Conifers. I make my own "body scents and deodorant" (another story/post) out of sandalwood and frankincense resin. The resin from this plant/tree has some adhesive properties too. Any "pine pitch" will work, some better than others...

What situations could woodash/sap sealants be used in?


Wood ash and/or lime is an augmentation and filler. I am still (30 years later) learning and figuring out all the alchemy myself... It is use in kayak building, other boat building, cooking/food storage vessels of wood/plant fiber, leather work, textiles, ceramics, it makes great wound dressings in some applications and forms, ...Hmmm...the longer I sit here the more that pops into my head...Grandma us to use some stuff like this for putting windows outside, but she also used simple lime and flax oil too. Oh..ya...Bonsai/Pensai work to uses some of this material...I sure there is more...

Natural glues I am more familiar with, but haven't looked at waterproof ones.


They can all be "improved" in the area of "water resistance" as none are actually "waterproof" per se. This is a vast and ongoing topic...As you find things out or learn more stuff, I might be able to expand on it, or help out possibly....Just let me know...

Warm Regards,

j
 
Rose Pinder
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What about poplar, which has very resinous buds but I think the sap is clear and fluid rather than sticky? Can it be rendered down?

Do you know what the woodash does? Is it a pH thing? Or just that ash was a readily available ingredient in traditional cultures?

Do you have a recipe? Does it need to be heated/warmed? Mixed for a certain period of time? What consistency? etc

I would love to see development of natural sealants in ecologically built houses. Many people still seem to be relying on chemical sealants in bathrooms and kitchens as well as externally. We are fortunate that there are still people with living memory of natural glues, we have the opportunity to pick this up again.
 
Rose Pinder
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hmm, I think I can answer the pH thing myself. I've made casein glue in the past, so there is definitely a process of alchemy as you say, where acid/alkali changes a substance to make it more resilient (this is true with natural plant dyeing as well).
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I am not familiar with either Polar (as in Aspen) or Yellow Poplar (as in Magnolia) having an adhesive quality...but that doesn't mean they don't. I have never worked with them in that capacity, nor seen it done?

I do think it is the ph as well as the Calcium Carbonate, and I also think it acts like a solidifier/pozzali of sorts.

Do you have a recipe? Does it need to be heated/warmed? Mixed for a certain period of time? What consistency? etc


50:50 is the base or foundation to start from on most of these ash based forms as I have seen them/used them, and I adjust accordingly base on intended application modality. I have also found different resins, time of year, etc effects the way these behave...The actual "ending proportion" are not known to me as I have be rather lackadaisical in recording this data, and just using the material and trying to keep the general skill sets alive of making such adhesives...There is some Historical Anthropology work in this area, but I just can't seem to find that info in my "stuff?"

Yes, this is done on...hot/warm stones...open fire methods,...warm water and leather bag mixing...etc...

Time is "until it looks/feels right (sorry...one of those vagaries) and the consistency is based on application purpose but usually like a paste or putty...If you are doing any "experimenting" I would love to see photos of your results and applications...



 
William Bronson
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