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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I wasn't sure where to post this because this forum doesn't seem to have a forum for DIY or toys for our birds, so I figured I'd just put it here.


Many of us desire to make our own perches out of trees growing nearby, but the question of what is safe and what is not is always an issue. Pine is safe, but only when cured. Cured means the pitch has been removed. Pine pitch contains turpentine, a somewhat toxic substance used to remove oil paint from surfaces. It's more than somewhat toxic to parrots. Lumber workers cure their lumber by stacking it a certain way and leaving it for about four months to air dry. But we don't want to wait four months to use our perches. I decided to do an experiment.

If it can evaporate into the air, it can dissolve in water, right? So I stuck three pine sticks, all stripped of bark, in my swimming pool under the ladder for 24 hours.

The three sticks were all different ages. One was fairly fresh, one was extremely old and even had a little rot I had to scrape off, and the other was in between and still extremely sticky to the touch once the bark was removed because of the excess of pitch.

Success! Soaking in the swimming pool for 24 hours seemed to remove all the pitch from the greenest branch. I decided to proceed with the method I generally use for sterilizing branches for perches, and baked them all for an hour in the oven on 180 degrees. 180 degrees is the temperature at which no organism can live, but is well below the burning point of wood, thankfully.

However...

Upon removing the sticks from the oven, I found my supposedly clean branches covered with pitch! And not just the youngest branch, either, though that one had the most! All three of them had sticky spots.

It would appear that the baking process forced all the pitch left inside the branches to the surface. I've got them in the swimming pool right now to remove it.

If a second baking does not make the branches produce pitch again, then I believe I will have succeeded in finding a way to remove pitch from pine branches in about two days!

I will update this post with my findings after the second baking. Wish me luck! And I hope my findings are a help to all the other DIYers who love to make things for their parrots! Maybe when I am finished, if the experiment is successful, this can be a sticky?
 

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This is interesting! I hope you succeed in removing your pitch :) I'll move this thread to the Housing section, and in the future, it might make a great sticky.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
This is interesting! I hope you succeed in removing your pitch :) I'll move this thread to the Housing section, and in the future, it might make a great sticky.
I was unaware that this forum had such rules about text since it gives all the options to modify. I always use size four violet bold comic sans for all my posts on all the forums I am a member of. Why are those options there if they are not allowed? I find the larger text makes things far easier to read, and the colors make it interesting to look at. It's not like it was neon yellow or something...
 

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I can't imagine that would be very easy. Pine is a very soft wood which means if you remove the pitch, the gluey substance holding it all together the wood becomes very frail. Which also causes it to splinter very easily too. If you succeed I suppose that might be good for those living in pine forests like in the state of my birth Michigan, but pine as I know isn't going to last long, heavy chewers will tear through it meaning it will need to constantly be replaced.

For those not familiar: despite how large they grow, pine roots aren't very deep so there is a limit to the amount of nutrients they can draw in. When tornados passed through my parents neighborhood as a kid I saw some uprooted pines plucked right out of the ground. As a material it has poor qualities unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I can't imagine that would be very easy. Pine is a very soft wood which means if you remove the pitch, the gluey substance holding it all together the wood becomes very frail. Which also causes it to splinter very easily too. If you succeed I suppose that might be good for those living in pine forests like in the state of my birth Michigan, but pine as I know isn't going to last long, heavy chewers will tear through it meaning it will need to constantly be replaced.

For those not familiar: despite how large they grow, pine roots aren't very deep so there is a limit to the amount of nutrients they can draw in. When tornados passed through my parents neighborhood as a kid I saw some uprooted pines plucked right out of the ground. As a material it has poor qualities unfortunately.
Just because the roots aren't deep doesn't mean it is lousy building material. There is a good reason Home Depot sells tons of pine lumber, you know. It's not as strong as, say, oak wood, but it's certainly not as soft as balsa wood or a sunflower stem. The wood actually becomes stronger when the pitch is removed, but the elasticity is less. My desk, my bed frame, even my dresser are all pine and all beautiful and holding up very well. I have used pine branches for my birds before, but only if I could find ones that were already old and dried out, and those often had some sort of damage from being overly soaked with rain or insect damage or fungus or something (Sterilized by baking though). Only one of the dozen or so pine perches I made was chewed with any real speed by my Cockatiel, and the rest are still in use after years with minimal wear. These younger branches that needed debarking should last even longer, I think.
 

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Just because the roots aren't deep doesn't mean it is lousy building material. There is a good reason Home Depot sells tons of pine lumber, you know. It's not as strong as, say, oak wood, but it's certainly not as soft as balsa wood or a sunflower stem. The wood actually becomes stronger when the pitch is removed, but the elasticity is less. My desk, my bed frame, even my dresser are all pine and all beautiful and holding up very well. I have used pine branches for my birds before, but only if I could find ones that were already old and dried out, and those often had some sort of damage from being overly soaked with rain or insect damage or fungus or something (Sterilized by baking though). Only one of the dozen or so pine perches I made was chewed with any real speed by my Cockatiel, and the rest are still in use after years with minimal wear. These younger branches that needed debarking should last even longer, I think.
My father builds houses. Pine is used often only because its cheap, make anything with pine and without adequate support it will warp. I have seen it time and time again. Houses with studs that seem to bend after years of holding a roof up in a time before building codes were strict and often its pine. Don't get the wrong idea, you can build a good house with pine studs; it just needs more support than other harder wood.

I would think, the life of the branches would also depend on how much your bird likes to chew on them too.
 

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I was unaware that this forum had such rules about text since it gives all the options to modify. I always use size four violet bold comic sans for all my posts on all the forums I am a member of. Why are those options there if they are not allowed? I find the larger text makes things far easier to read, and the colors make it interesting to look at. It's not like it was neon yellow or something...
No worries that you didn't know! Most new members don't :) It's just something that's always been in our rules since before I was even a member: it aims to make reading less strenuous and the threads flow in the same size etc.
Here's a link if you want to read it for yourself: http://www.talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=1 :)
I have to admit, I'm not sure why the options are there. It's possible that it's simply the default forum model?
 
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