Monday, April 6, 2020

Fatwood is also known as Lightwood, Pine Knot, Rich Lighter or Fat Lighter

Fatwood is also known as Lightwood, Pine Knot, Rich Lighter or Fat Lighter originates from the heartwood of Pine trees (Coniferous tree sap).  Stumps and Tap root remaining after a tree has fallen or been removed is a good primary source of Fatwood.  The heartwood of Pines is impregnated with resins that make them rot resistant and hard.  In woods settings Fatwood can also be harvested from the limb intersections and can be used as a firestarter.  Most resinous Pines in the United States can produce Fatwood it is most commonly associated with Pinus palustris Longleaf Pine.

Terpene is one of the main components of Fatwood (Coniferous tree sap), it is a viscous liquid and a volatile hydrocarbon.  Terpene is highly flammable and is used for both kindling and as a fire starter, even in wet conditions it will burn and maintain a high enough heat to light even larger pieces of wood.  When using Fatwood to create tinder one would shave small curls and use them to light larger pieces of tinder, gradually working up to larger pieces of wood until a hot rolling fire is created.  It is recommended that Fatwood not be used for cooking as the pitch soaked wood produces an oily sooty smoke that can transfer to foods.

Worldwide there are 100-125 species that can be classified as resinous pine trees around the world.  Distributed around the world in various forms, some of those forms include Scots Pine, Siberian Dwarf Pine, Sumatran Pine, Jack Pine, Loblolly Pine and Caribbean Pine.  The area with the most naturally distributed diversity in the genus is between Mexico and California.  Fatwood can be found anywhere there is a pine tree or even an old pine stump, it is most concentrated and best preserved in stumps.

There are many uses for Fatwood and other resins outside of firestarting.  Fatwood is used industrially in the production of turpentine, when fatwood is cooked down in a fire kiln.  Steam that vaporizes from the cooking process and becomes a liquid, that liquid becomes turpentine.  Cutler's resin is used in the production of knife handles.  Resin is used as an ingredient in most nail polishes.  Turpentine and Pine Oil are used in many common household chemicals.

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