Tinkering with Tar

Thinking about solutions to plug our crack in the canoe, we stumbled upon an idea that had been lurking in the back of our minds for some time now- what about pitch?

Organic pitch and tars are products obtained from the dry-distillation of wood, peat or in our case, bark. Birch-bark produces some of the finest tar and has been utilised for milennia, from Neanderthal spears to the later medieval period, where it was hugely important in a large part of Northern Europe’s economy. ‘Russian Oil’ as it was known, is a brilliant waterproofer, adhesive, disinfectant and leather dressing.

We had a bash at making some during one of our regular Wednesday volunteer sessions and were seriously impressed with the ease of manufacture and the results.