Pine and fir sap as fluxes?


Active Member
After reading Ian's stuff about reducing and cleaning alloys, I got to thinking (oops, there I go again) that since I don't produce much sawdust but have an abundance of sap from the fir trees that might be usefull. There's also a lot of needles on the ground.
I normally use wax to reduce the oxides, but would the needles and or sap be good for cleaning and reducing?


Active Member
When I've tried sap, I get a greasy like goo on the edges of the pot, & spoon. Sometimes it cleans the crap off the edges, other, it is a mess. I've smelted some pretty foul wheel weights though.
Table saw dust works best for me. Ymmv.
I've used sap, and the goo that the tree secrets from the pine bug infestation.
Can't hurt to try whatever you got,
Shouldn't say it, but to get the carbon, dead tree carcus out I use the air hose. Gets the stuff off the top, then tilt pot to get the stuff on the bottom. Makes a big mess sometimes. :eek:
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St Lawrence river valley, NY
I'm still getting by fine with the trusty old paint stick. Yeah, the freebies they give you when your wife decides the room you repainted 4 months ago is 3 shades too dark. Honestly, I just stir and scrape and repeat. The wood is nice and dry and chars and the carbon is down in the mix, all the way to the bottom for sure. Even in my stainless pot it gets scraped off as I work the alloy. In a rougher cast or steel pot it's more of the same.

I tried Eastern White Pine pitch ( I had about 3 lbs saved up for some project once), White Cedar pitch, Spruce gum and I tried pine tar too. The paint stick is worlds better IMO. Pine needles work but they create a LOT of smoke sometimes flare up rather spectacularly, and you still end up with the ash on top of the alloy and not down in the mix where it needs to work.


Well-Known Member
pine pitch works just fine.
you want the hard crumbly dried out white on the edges stuff.
the kicker is your turning it into carbon stirring it in the alloy anyway.
but it smells like,, well like pine trees in your shop when you use it.
either way you gotta get the carbon back out of the alloy.


Redlands, Kalifornistan
I have been using Pat Marlin's California Flake Flux for close to 10 years. It is basically sawed Douglas fir or white pine shavings from his shop, and like the sap it gives the shop a nice piney smell while casting. It does a pretty good job of getting the crud and debris out of the melts, too.

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
I'm still using hamster bedding. It's like $14.00/ton at the pet store. It's truly beautiful for the initial cleanup on WWs and range scrap.


Staff member
I'm still using hamster bedding. It's like $14.00/ton at the pet store. It's truly beautiful for the initial cleanup on WWs and range scrap.
Pretty similar to what I use. I think mine says it is aspen. Works fine and is cheap as hell. A big handful goes in with range scrap after jackets are mostly skimmed off.


Well-Known Member
Well there is a what I would call a young guy here that has thought me alot about the difference between "flux" and "reductants"! ( I believe his name starts with "IAN")
I flux the heck out of my alloy when I'm smelting! I will then reduce with white pine sap and Beeswax ...this makes the top of the smeting pot like a mirror......Ladling this out gives me clean casting ingots! When I start getting oxidation in the smelting pot I reduce again! and continue to cast clean ingots.

Since I bottom pour from my Lee for casting .......Only Beeswax ( reductant) goes in my casting pot!
I like this because I get clean pours