Fat wood/featherstick question

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mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,711
76
uk
I was messing around in front of the woodburner with tinders and kinderling tonite (as you do....) and made yet another featherstick. I usually use splits of willow or bits of roofing lath cut into 1o inch lengths, then shave them. But didnt try lighting one direct with the fire steel, until tonite. (I usually use fluff out the
tumble dryer for dry tinder) I made a featherstick froma bit of lath that had a large live knot in it. It had a very strong resiny turpsy pine smell. WOW the instant the spark hit the featherstick was away like a sparkler :eek: Bright sizzling and hot. Is fat wood essentially the same material as a live knot in pine softwood, what is fat wood?
cheers Jonathan :)
 
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Chinkapin

Settler
Jan 5, 2009
746
1
79
Kansas USA
Mr. Dazzler, "fatwood" has been discussed in quite a few posts. I recall that Mistwalker posted pics of finding fatwood in the forest. I think if you will use the search tab located above, and search Mistwalker you should be able to find these. There are others as well, but his sticks in my mind.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,532
400
Mercia
Short answer is yes - its very similar. Pine knots have been gathered to throw into the fire as a poor mans candle. I remember struggling to get a feather stick to light from a spark - but doing so improved both my ferro rod technique and my feather stick making :) Once you ahve done it once it gets a load easier!

Red
 

mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,711
76
uk
Thanks Red! I kind of understood that fat wood was residue in dead pine roots, what I wanted to know was if its the same material composition as you get in "gummy" live knots....It worked exceptonally well on its own as a featherstick
I tried very fine shaved willow with just some scrapings of the resin dust sprinkled on, that made it easier to get a spark. I also tried very fine shaved birch bark as a featherstick, that worked well....dont know why I never thought of that before :rolleyes:
cheers Jonathan :)
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,532
400
Mercia
De Nada :)

Pine knots used to be called "candle wood" for this very reason in the 17th Century

If you are interested specific legislation was passed in the American Colonies to cover harvesting pine knots the practice was so endemic for this purpose

Lots of interesting related trivia here in the "evolution of the candle"

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ed011p367

Red
 

The Cumbrian

Full Member
Nov 10, 2007
1,852
5
48
The Rainy Side of the Lakes.
Since I first read Mistwalker's tutorial, and found fatwood for the first time, I'm seeing it everywhere now. This is in the Swedish woods, but when I get home I'm going to have a look for it, and now that my eye's in, I think that I should be able to find it reasonably easy in the UK.

Cheers, Michael.
 

mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,711
76
uk
LOL all those past trips into the Stang and Hamsterley forests, I thought there was nothing much there......:) I will look out for fat wood but there are not many pine trees round here. Spolit for hardwoods.....
 

The Cumbrian

Full Member
Nov 10, 2007
1,852
5
48
The Rainy Side of the Lakes.
LOL all those past trips into the Stang and Hamsterley forests, I thought there was nothing much there......:) I will look out for fat wood but there are not many pine trees round here. Spolit for hardwoods.....
Just have a kick about at anything that looks like a rotten pine stump. If you find something solid, it's either a rock or fatwood.

Cheers, Michael.