Amber explained that they boil and bake the cones before adding them to their wreaths. So I found an old rusty tea kettle with a good opening and proceeded to try it myself. Unfortunately I think I've ruined the good meat tongs but how else could I hold the cone under the boiling water? The pitch melted off the cone immediately and the whole cone closed in my grasp as I lifted it out onto a foil lined cookie sheet. The incredibly aromatic pitch rolled to the edge of the kettle and collected there. After a while I lifted out the long yellow stickiness and gingerly placed it in the trash can. But I wonder what it could be used for?
While I baked pans full of cones in a slow oven the whole house smelled strongly of pine. In about an hour the cones had reopened and dried completely. The result is a shiny shellacked looking cone. They're beautiful and perfectly safe to handle now.
I have had several people ask me how long to boil the cones. I held them one at a time under the boiling water for only a few seconds. You can see the the pitch rolling off. Then I baked them on tin foil in a low oven for an hour or so. Hope this helps.