How to Extract Pine Sap

Written by jamie peacock
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How to Extract Pine Sap
Pine trees can be tapped for sap to make turpentine or resin. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Pine trees contain a sticky sap that can be extracted. Unlike maple sap which makes delicious syrup, pine sap turns very hard and caustic. It is not edible but it can be turned into turpentine, resin and pine pitch. The process of extracting pine sap is much the same as tapping maple trees.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drill
  • Tap
  • Bucket
  • Rope
  • Lid

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  1. 1

    Select a pine tree suitable for tapping. It should be at least 10 inches in diameter. If the tree is over 20 inches in diameter, you can install two taps. If it is over 30 inches, you can use three taps.

  2. 2

    Drill a hole in the pine tree using a 1/2-inch bit. The hole should be about two inches deep. Alternatively, because pine trees emit a lot of sap in damaged areas, extract sap from these areas without tapping.

  3. 3

    Insert the tap into the hole, pushing it in until it feels secure. The tree should begin to drip sap.

  4. 4

    Tie a bucket to a branch with the rope. The bucket should hang directly beneath the tap. Make sure that the rope is strong enough to accommodate the weight of a full bucket and that it is tied securely.

  5. 5

    Cover the bucket partially, making sure the cover does not obstruct the dripping sap. Leave the bucket to slowly fill, checking on it after a day or two. The weather and the tree will determine how quickly the bucket will fill. Once it is as full as you'd like, remove it.

  6. 6

    Remove the tap when you have collected enough sap. It is not necessary to fill the hole. Pine sap hardens quickly and will do this on its own.

Tips and warnings

  • Warmer weather is better for collecting sap.
  • You can collect dried resin that has oozed naturally instead of tapping.
  • If you are going to boil the sap yourself, use extreme caution since it is highly flammable.

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