As I was writing an article for the About.com Survival Skills website on the topic of how to make a pine pitch torch, I was confronted by many different terms: sap, pitch, resin, tar, among others. Most people seem to use these words interchangeably, but I wanted to know more about what they’re supposed to mean, so here’s what I can gather:
Sap: more of a liquid, like honey or less viscous than honey. Sap is the sugary secretion from plants as well as trees (think raw material for maple syrup).
Pitch: think of an intermediate between a liquid and a complete solid. Pitch is like that crystallized honey you find in your pantry after it’s been there for quite a while.
Resin: usually refers to the most solid of all these forms. If you’ve played an instrument with a bow (like the violin), you’ve probably used a solid block of resin on your bow, as in the photo below right. People seem to use “pitch” and “resin” more interchangeably, while sap usage is reserved more often for the seeping, liquid form.
Now that you’ve got the terminology straight, check out my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
1. © Flickr® user Ian.
2. © Flickr® user Petr Gladkikh.
3. © Flickr® user McBeth.