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How Fatwood is formed and why...

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  • How Fatwood is formed and why...

    We had a post about fatwood before, but I wanted to take it a step further and explain it a little more in depth along with some pictures.

    Pine resin/sap/pitch can be found in pines just about every where. We've all seen it dripping and/or formed on a damaged tree before. When a tree is damaged the sap forms a bandage you could say preventing diseases and/or insects from getting inside of it.

    This is no different when a tree is cut down or snapped off leaving the roots intact and part of the tree above ground. This is where you can find a fatwood "jackpot!" There are pictures below showing a clear cut area with stumps and roots intact and two pictures of trees rescently snapped off by straight line winds with roots intact also. What happens is the root system will keep producing sap and impregnating what is left of the stump and the root system until the wood is so impregnated with sap it actually takes on a fatty colored appearance. Some types of the pine family produce more sap then others and to be honest I couldn't tell you which ones do because I'm still learning that part myself. I've found most of my fatwood in the root system itself, towards the center of the stump, on outside edges of the stump and in areas where knots exist. WARNING!!! Chopping into a piece of knotted fatwood will chip the best knife, it is like concrete!

    Small amounts of fatwood can also be found on a living tree towards the bottom of the trunk. In the pictures below you will also see a healthy tree who's bottom branches are dead. Not all the time and depending on the tree type you will often find fatwood by breaking the dead branch off the tree. It will be found closest to the tree. I do not recommend this though unless it's an emergency. The branch may be dead, but the tree is not. As mentioned before almost all of my fatwood comes from stumps and root systems. Plantation tree stumps are often a good place to look after the tree has been cut off.

    Keep in mind the process of creating fatwood takes time. For Ex., the tree stump in the clearcut below was cut down late last year. I actually marked that stump location with my GPS and on a map to come back to in about a year. It should be PRIME then!

    This also goes for the plantation trees. Sure I could have taken some thin pieces today, but I'll wait until it is full of resin.

    I'm no expert on this subject and may have some of the terminology wrong, but I hope this helps explain a little better about how fatwood is formed. All I can do is share what I have found hands on.

    Take care and be safe out there!

  • #2
    Great info thanks.

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    • #3
      Thank you and your welcome.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Snow Walker View Post
        We had a post about fatwood before ....
        SnowWalker .... seems I've missed part one and am clueless here. What is this and what's it for? Thanks in advance.

        O.W.
        Things are seldom what they seem.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Oscar Wilde View Post
          SnowWalker .... seems I've missed part one and am clueless here. What is this and what's it for? Thanks in advance.

          O.W.
          No problem...Because of the resin content fatwood makes a GREAT firestarter! Fine shavings can be ignited with a firesteel and those shavings will in turn get larger pieces of the fatwood going. It will keep going in a little rain also.

          I always have some hanging on my firesteel cord with some waxed jute...here is a picture for you.

          Some people also call if sap wood.
          Last edited by Snow Walker; 05-23-2011, 12:10 AM.

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          • #6
            Ah, very cool.

            O.W.
            Things are seldom what they seem.

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            • #7
              OW, here's the other thread: http://www.survivalmagazine.org/surv...hlight=fatwood

              Thanks for the pics, SW.
              "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Skyowl's Wife View Post
                OW, here's the other thread: http://www.survivalmagazine.org/surv...hlight=fatwood

                Thanks for the pics, SW.
                Ah, thanks Wife .... the search feature is our friend.

                O.W.
                Things are seldom what they seem.

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                • #9
                  Snow Walker,
                  Thanks for this thread. Below is a video with Ray Mears showing how to make pine tar from fatwood.
                  Stitch

                  http://video.search.yahoo.com/search...web&fr=fp-yie8

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                  • #10
                    good thread....Echo like....:)
                    Live like you'll die tomorrow, learn like you'll live forever.

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                    • #11
                      Great info lots of pine in my area but you knew that i will have to look for a cleared area next time i am home
                      NONSOLIS RADIOS SEDIOUIS FULMINA MITTO

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stitch View Post
                        Snow Walker,
                        Thanks for this thread. Below is a video with Ray Mears showing how to make pine tar from fatwood.
                        Stitch

                        http://video.search.yahoo.com/search...web&fr=fp-yie8
                        Thanks Stitch, you know I like him so I'll check it out for sure!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Iron mike View Post
                          Great info lots of pine in my area but you knew that i will have to look for a cleared area next time i am home
                          That's the way I started Iron mike you will find it and it will start to make sense the more you do it. When you find the good stuff you will know...it will be sticky to the touch, almost smell like turpentine and have a yellowish gold color. If that area you are talking about was cut at least a year ago you should be in great shape.

                          Good Luck

                          By the way how is the food aboard ship? I was always curious about that.

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                          • #14
                            Nice post.
                            Like I said in another thread. I have to buy my fatwood at the store.
                            Living next to pine trees is a luxury.
                            The only pine trees around here are ones people buy and plant in their yard.

                            We do have our occasional white pine. That's the one you take the needles and use for tea.
                            Look for the soft needles.
                            I'll keep my guns, freedom, and money... YOU CAN KEEP THE "CHANGE"!

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                            • #15
                              good info to know

                              Originally posted by Snow Walker View Post

                              By the way how is the food aboard ship? I was always curious about that.
                              btw the food on the ship sucks, but it could be worse
                              Sic Vis Pacem Para Bellum

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