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DomC

FATWOOD

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Fatwood is known by several names including "fat lighter," "lighter wood," "rich lighter," "pine knot," "lighter knot," "heart pine" or "lighter'd". It is derived from the heartwood of pine trees specifically the " pinus palustris" species or "long leaf pine" found in the southeastern parts of the U.S.

Fatwood is scar tissue of a damaged or injured pine tree. A lightning strike will scar a tree sometimes top to bottom without necessarily killing the tree. The stressed tree will send resin to "scar" the wound much like the scab that forms when the human body sustains a wound. When the wound hardens, the wood and bark around the area becomes rich with the flammable hardened resin. 

The stump (and tap root) left in the ground after a tree has fallen or has been cut is an excellent source of fatwood. Other locations, such as the joints where limbs intersect the trunk, can also be harvested. I have also harvested fatwood from the fallen trunks. When I worked as an arborist for Davey Tree Company in the early '80s in Florida, I felled many Long Leaf pines to make way for Florida Power & Light to lay electrical poles and hang power lines in the unincorporated acreage. Those stumps are still there and rich in resin.

Today, I almost take fatwood for granted as it is found relatively everywhere in the Florida scrub. My question is, does anyone use fatwood as an alternative TINDER? I know I do, it's one of my favorite fire starters bar none...

DomC

Edited by DomC
double name
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Great post. Thanks for the details !

I have never had the “need” to use sap as a starter but it should always be the back one’s mind should other material not be available.

I have used it for cuts when the first aid kit was back at base camp.

PJL ________________________________________________________________________________

       In the time it used to take to make just one mistake  ~~  we can now make so many more.

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We have a lot of Pines up here where I am, and some species do not deal with the cold so well, and some limbs get damage, or parts can even explode, makin some whorls and knots.

From what I recall the terpenes are a nice flammable part, and I collect these often weird alien  pieces, and let them dry in the cabin for later.

Some folks make handles for their firesteels. It is an easy way to carry a chunk for shaving.

Anyways, one trick is to shave some into a dried pine cone, and hit it with a spark.

It is awesome. I should play with my crude fire skills more..i run a woodstove and am alwaus playing with lighting a fire, and a garbage bag full of pine cones lasts me all winter.

Here is how lame I am. You know those Styrofoam trays under the chicken legs or pork chops.

Just break a few 'shrimp chips' off that into a few pine cones. hit it with the zippo, lay on the kindling, walk away and get my split wood..so sad..

cheers

 

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knivesandfatwood011_zpsc9179999.jpg
Some JUICY Florida Lighter knot (fatwood).

knivesandfatwood031_zps50bd6a05.jpg
Flaming Lighter Knot and Bushman.

knivesandfatwood033_zps04b32e50.jpg
The Good Stuff....harvested in 2012 from a four foot stump in an oak hammock...

DomC :) 

Edited by DomC
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Some JUICY Florida Lighter knot (fatwood).

Flaming Lighter Knot and Bushman.

The Good Stuff....harvested in 2012 from a four foot stump in an oak hammock...

DomC :) 

Jesus………….    That looks close to spontaneous combustion !

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That is some amazingly rich fatwood DomC! 

I have soaked a chunk of fatwood and a ferro (ferrocerium rod) underwater for two weeks, shook off, scraped off some fatwood then scraped the ferro and had flame. A fellow on another forum had asked if fatwood and a ferro was suitable for a twoo week kayak trip. I'd say it is! 

While F&S (Flint the rock & high carbon Steel) is my day to day primary means of igniting fires, a chunk of fatwood and a ferro are always with me! 

Note: Wood scrapings are much finer than shavings. Thus I prefer them for the initial ignition. 

 

Happy Trails! 

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Lots of sap in my neck of the woods, just need to find a good source of fatwood. Is pine the only consistent producer of it or are there other trees I can keep an eye out for?

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So far I have found fatwood in Jack Pine, Scotch Pine, Red Pine, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Eastern Red Cedar and Paper Birch. 

Red and White are the most consistent producers so I concentrate my efforts on them. 

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I have had some half decent results from cutting off and splitting 1 or 2 year old conifer stumps. A bunch of sap accumulates after the tree is cut down. Maybe I should check a Xmas tree farm:)

 

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