How to Use Pine Tar Preservative

Pine tar, when mixed with linseed oil and turpentine, is sometimes called Old Down East Deck Coating or boat soup.
Pine tar is a protective coating for wood and dates back to the nineth century Vikings. Pine tar helps to waterproof and protect wood. This pine tar mixture is also absorbed into the oakum, or rope caulking, and acts as a preservative. It dries in the open air and does not feel sticky when touched. .

Step 1

Mix together 1 quart boiled linseed oil and 1 quart turpentine. Use a bucket large enough to contain the amount you need. You can pour it into smaller buckets when everything is mixed.

Step 2

Add 1 cup pine tar and 1 cup Japan drier. Mix thoroughly until well combined. If you want a darker color to the wood, add more pine tar to the mixture. For a lighter color, use less pine tar. If you use more boiled linseed oil and turpentine, adjust the amounts accordingly.

Step 3

Apply a thin coat using a mixture with a higher ratio of turpentine. This will soak into the oakum and the wood. The tar will seep through the pinholes and large gaps.

Step 4

Check to see where the tar is seeping out. This will show you where the wood needs attention. Make repairs to the wood before you proceed with the next step.

Step 5

Apply a thick coating of the pine tar mixture to the repaired wood.

Things You Will Need

  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Turpentine
  • PIne tar
  • Japan Drier
  • Bucket
  • Brush


  • To protect your wooden items, paint the wood with a pine tar mixture once a year. This will help preserve the wood and keep it from rotting.
  • Tinting the tar mixture with iron oxide colors or zinc white will help improve the anti-rotting protection.
  • If the mixture becomes too thick, thin it down with more turpentine.
  • There are different varieties of pine tar. Some are for veterinarian use, but can be used for the purpose of preserving wood. Stockholm tar is specifically for wood and has a better smell.
  • The above mixture in the amounts given will cover approximately 100 square feet.


  • Better pine tar and linseed oil mixtures do not have protein added. Some products have a 20 to 30 percent protein added and this protein leads to mildew.
  • You may heat this mixture in a melt proof, fire-resistant container over a double boiler if it becomes too thick.
  • This mixture is combustible. If you heat the mixture, do not spill any on the open flame.
  • Be extremely careful.
  • Use in a well-ventilated area.

About the Author

Gail Delaney is a writer in South Dakota and has articles published online at various websites. She is the garden editor for BellaOnline, with years of gardening experience. Being the caretaker of her parents led her in the direction of medical issues, especially natural remedies.