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Birch Tar - How to collect it Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 February 2008
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Birch Tar - How to collect it
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Thanks to Jon for another fantastic how to article...

Most bushcrafters know that Birch bark is fantastic for fire lighting because of all the oil concealed within it. This tutorial guides you through the process of extracting that tar from the bark. The tar is extremely useful for all kinds of bushcraft jobs, like when you want to secure arrow heads to shafts for example. The uses of birch tar are endless and it's an amazing material!


To start off you are going to need some kind metal container, a large sweet tin, biscuit tin or empty paint can is ideal.tar1.jpg
  Make a whole in the bottom of the tin in the centre.tar2.jpg

Collect your bark from dead birch trees, there is no need to go stripping fresh bark! You can take advantage of that bark that is too tatty to use for crafts. I got all the bark i needed from just one small fallen tree. Tear the bark into strips as high as the height of the tin, then begin rolling them up into a bundle.
Note: Dead birch trees are a common home to nesting woodpeckers, mice and other creatures, do not destroy their habitat!


You will notice that once the bark is rolled up tightly it wants to spring back out again, so every so often i tie a piece of string around the bark to make life easier.


Keep rolling on pieces of bark onto your bundle until it is as wide as the tin. When you put the bark into the tin you can always shove more bark into the areas that are not tightly packed.

If the bark was not rolled up and packed into the tin in this way the tar would not escape from the bark as easily. Notice that the bark is the same way up in the tin as on a tree.



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