Survival Foraging & Gardening

How To Make Primitive Hot-Melt Glue

Aram von Benedikt Avatar

Okay, you are ready to make glue. Put your dried pitch in a clean, standard size bean can. set on the stove or fire and slowly melt the pitch, stirring occasionally. Try not to let the pitch boil—that will make your glue brittle. Once the pitch is fully melted, skim away any impurities. Handle with care—hot pitch will leave a nasty burn if you are careless.

Native American folks used glue too—especially to attach stone points, knives, and other implements to a shaft or handle. Primitive hot-melt glue is fun to make and adds a real cool factor to your gear. Here’s how to make it.
First, you will need some dried pine sap, or pitch. Trees that have been damaged by insects, construction, and shooting will often have good deposits of pitch on them. Gather enough dry pitch to fill a tuna can.
Second, you will need some ground charcoal. Simply pull a few coals out of a fire and grind them to a fine powder. A shovel blade and fist sized rock from a good makeshift mortar and pestle. Fill another tuna can about half full of charcoal powder.
Next you will need some poop. Yup, that’s not a misprint. Native Americans used dried scat from deer, elk, or other ungulates along with the charcoal powder to temper their glue. It strengthens the glue and helps prevent brittleness. Gather and grind another half a tuna can of powdered poop. This will take some time—be patient and thorough. The finer your temper, the smoother your glue will be.
Once the pitch is fully liquid and you’ve skimmed off the impurities, carefully add the powdered charcoal and deer poop. Stir thoroughly. If it sets up before you get it mixed, just re-heat it. When it’s mixed thoroughly just wad the glue onto the end of a stick like a little corndog and let it cool.
This hot melt glue will work well for any and all kinds of primitive uses. Just hold it over a candle or fire to melt it for future projects.