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Picture of Rosin
This instructable shows how to make rosin out of pine sap / pitch. Rosin can be used for the following:

Electronic Soldering Flux:

Much like burningsuntech's instructable Make your own Eco-friendly soldering flux, you can dissolve the rosin in denatured alcohol for use as a flux.

Alternatively, you can melt the rosin directly with a soldering iron to liquify and then dip in the solder, a lead, or wire.

You can soften the rosin by adding something like vaseline / petroleum jelly to it when molten for rub-on application.

Lastly, you can take an alcohol based mixture of rosin, add water, and evaporate at room temperature to make a water-based emulsion.
 
Stringed Instruments:

Stringed instruments like violins use rosin to create grip between the bow fibers and the instrument strings. You can remelt the solder using a deep fryer and then pour it a c-shaped wooden mold.

Varnish Component:

Rosin can be used as a component in varnish, for example when added to linseed oil.

Grip Enhancement:

Athletes (baseball, gymnastics) use rosin in the form of 'rosin bags' to enhance grip on sports equipment. If available, rosin bags provide the no-fuss source for raw rosin.
 
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Step 1: Collect

Picture of Collect
00A - Sap Tools.jpg
00B - Pine Tree.jpg
00C - Tree Wound.jpg
In this step, collect pine sap / pitch.

Locate a pine tree with 'wounds' from tree trimming. These contain the pine sap / pitch mixed with wood chips, pollen, bugs, and dirt. Use a butter knife to scoop the sap / pitch into an appropriate container. An appropriate container should be made of glass or of high density polyethylene plastic (HDPE). This type of plastic can withstand strong solvents like acetone and is generally marked with a '2' in the recycling symbol.

Step 2: Dissolve

Picture of Dissolve
01B - Shake.jpg
01C - Dissolved.jpg
In this step, liquify the sap / pitch with a solvent.

Add acetone to the collected sap / pitch such that it fills up the container half way. Afterward, shake the container in 15 minute increments to help dissolve large chunks. It's impossible to dissolve all chunks, since some are very thick or are composed of wood chips so check the consistency periodically. When satisfied with the results, continue to the next step.


Step 3: Filter

Picture of Filter
02B - Funnel.jpg
02C - Filter.jpg
02D - Filtering.jpg
02E - Squeezed.jpg
02F - Result.jpg
In this step, filter the sap / pitch solution.

For this step, obtain another HDPE container with a cone-shaped top (such as windshield wiper fluid). Cut the lid-grip off, then cut the upper, cone-shaped portion off and invert it so that it behaves as a funnel into the container. Next, insert two paper coffee filters and then pour in the dissolved sap / pitch solution. If the solution is too viscous, add more acetone. It should flow at least 2-3 drops / second when full. When 1/4 full, using gloves, wring the filter to squeeze out the remaining liquids.

Step 4: Container

Picture of Container
03B - Foil Folding.jpg
03C - Foil Inserted.jpg
In this step, ready the container in which to boil & form the rosin.

For this step, you will need crisco / vegetable shortening, aluminum foil, and a suitable container for heating. Apply a coat of crisco to the inside of the heating container, then cover the inside with a continous sheet of aluminum foil. You can use the outside of the container to preform the foil. Add two more layers of foil and crisco. This will insure that the sap / pitch will be able to easily pop out of the container once the mixture has become rosin.

Step 5: Make Rosin

Picture of Make Rosin
04B - Medium Boil.jpg
04C - High Boil.jpg
04D - Toothpick Test.jpg
04E - Toothpick Stand.jpg
This step transforms the sap / pitch to rosin.

In this step, you will need vegetable oil, the heating container, and a deep fryer. Place the heating container into the center of the deep fryer and fill it with the filtered sap / pitch solution. Add enough vegetable oil to the deep fryer (but not the solution) so that it comes up to at least half the level of the solution. This will insure adequate heat transfer from the oil to the solution.

In the first stage, set the deepfryer to 'low' about 200 - 250 ºF. At this temperature, the solution will boil off acetone. Do this in a well ventilated location away from open flames to reduce the risk of fire. When the solution stops bubbling like water and becomes more syrup like, proceed to the next stage.

In the second stage, set the deepfryer to 'medium' about 275 - 300 ºF. At this temperature, the acetone disapears completely, and many of the toulenes and miscellaneous compounds that make pine sap permanently stick evaporate as well. When bubbling has receeded / lessened considerably, proceed to the next stage.

In the third stage, set the deepfryer to 'high' about 350 - 400 ºF. At this temperature, you eliminiate most of the non-rosin organic compounds. Bubbling should be miniscule towards the end. To determine whether this stage is complete, use a toothpick to probe the mixture. Check to see that the sample on the toothpick is not sticky, and that it crumbles with pliers into a yellow-brown dust. When finished, turn off the deep fryer and let it cool to the touch.

Step 6: Extraction

Picture of Extraction
05B - Chilled.jpg
05C - Extracted.jpg
05D - Stored.jpg
In this step, extract and store the cooled rosin.

When the deep fryer has cooled to the touch, extract the rosin. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to remove any residual flexibility that it may have. Afterward, remove the aluminum foil and store the rosin.
Tod.Rickey9 months ago

I dissolved the resin from an Austrian White Pine (tar) into pure soybean oil, using slight heating. (This is reminiscent of the fact mentioned in the article that vegetable oil may be used in the cleanup process.) Specifically, 6.0 grams tar was mixed with 100 mL soy oil into a small iron cauldron, heated by a tea lite to approx. 100 degrees C. With a little stirring, it dissolved within just a few minutes. Afterwards, the solution was poured into five (5) amber-glass, 20 mL containers with rubber stoppers. After several weeks, there remains no precipitate. I plan further trials, to ascertain the maximum tar solute load for soy oil. If interested, please email to todd.rickey@gmx.com

vreinkymov (author)  Tod.Rickey9 months ago
Are you doing this to assay the rosin or is it for varnish?
casey.harris.12 made it!10 months ago

Ignore that stray cat hairs and fingerprints. The cat can't be escaped in our house, and it was fingerprint free and glossy until I was so exited with my success that I couldn't quick poking it. Thanks for the instructable!

Changes to my procedures:
I didn't have a collection container with a lid, so I just stirred it every 20 minutes. I had more sap (almost all Sitka Spruce) than was ideal for my container, so once I reached the apparent carrying capacity of the acetone, I poured it into the strainer (a paper towel) and added more acetone to the remaining sap-sludge.

I also didn't have a deep fryer, so I added oil to a small sauce pan, put my pitch in a used diced-tomato can, and cooked it that way on the stove. I didn't have any problems with it, but be sure to turn on your kitchen fan and keep the heat low until the acetone is out! Also, waft the fumes to see if they're pitch or acetone - don't sniff them.

If possible, for the final boiling round to get rid of the stickiness, do it outside or with windows open. The smell isn't bad, but it's a thick, heavy scent and can be unpleasant to breathe.

I poured the liquid rosin from the can into a lined (as suggested above) aluminum measuring cup and and let it cool in the fridge. Since this is rosin for a cello bow, I heated a spoon in boiling water and used it to reheat the back of the rosin the next morning to stick it to my cloth. It takes several applications of heat to get enough rosin melted to properly stick to the cloth. Also, I used a knife to carefully trip off the edges of the rosin, as they had crept slightly up the cup while cooling and were possibly sharp enough to cut bow hairs.

Finally, during this production, I learned that lard (not sure about vegetable shortening) is FANTASTIC for removing sap! WAY better than peanut butter or hand sanitizer! The rosin is superb; I got a new bow in playing shape in no time.
Great job, vreinkymov!

IMG_3027.JPGIMG_3028.JPG
sugarworm3 years ago
I used to do the same thing with alcohol as the solvent! Except I always set the rosin/ solvent solution on fire to get the rosin, and I only used it as a binder for incense. Never knew that there were so many uses :D
dreamberry3 years ago
Great instructable! I love the idea of making my own rosin!
westfw3 years ago
be careful with that acetone near heating elements like a deep fryer (you do mention this, but I think it need emphasized more!) And DON'T substitute some kind of gas stove for the electric fryer! Acetone fumes are infamous for pooling and flowing along the ground to find open flames (ie when stored in a garage near a gas water heater.) At which point you get a fume "explosion" and the source of vapors catches fire...
vreinkymov (author)  westfw3 years ago
Definitely good information, thanks for providing it!
rimar20003 years ago
This is very interesting, thanks for sharing.

A question: can I use regular pine sawdust to obtain rosin?
vreinkymov (author)  rimar20003 years ago
You could try, but I don't think it would make a very strong solution of rosin.
vreinkymov (author) 3 years ago
I forgot to mention, this step is very messy. If it does get on your hands, vegetable oil + alcohol + soap acts as a good sap remover.