Finding Fat Lighter - Fatwood - Firestarter

If you live around or travel through some pine woods, take a walk one day and get some fat lighter wood. Fat lighter, fatwood, etc. is basically very old pine wood that has a high concentration of flammable sap. The tree's sap was concentrated in the stump when it fell or was cut down. Then, the sap dried. Here are a few pointers in looking for your fat lighter, should you pass through an area with pine woods.

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If you live around or travel through some pine woods, take a walk one day and get some fat lighter wood. Fat lighter, fatwood, etc. is basically very old pine wood that has a high concentration of flammable sap. The tree's sap was concentrated in the stump when it fell or was cut down. Then, the sap dried. Here are a few pointers in looking for your fat lighter, should you pass through an area with pine woods.

These are some pine woods behind my house.

After searching for less than a minute, we come across a hopeful-looking stump.

This is what we're looking for. To make sure, take your trusty hatchet and hack off a piece of the side. You should see some very rich-colored pine wood that (obviously) has a pine aroma. Sometimes, this aroma is so strong it smells like turpentine.

This is definitely what we're looking for. We could just hack what we need off the top, but if transporting a lot of fat lighter or you are in need of a little extra nourishment (even in the winter if you're in the south), it's easier just to take out the whole stump. Kick the piss out of the stump with your heel and work it back and forth a little, breaking the few remaining large roots that haven't rotted.

Now that we have it loosened, squat over the stump and grab it with both hands. Now push up with your legs and just use your hands to hold on. It is much easier squatting the stump than trying to wriggle it out with just your arms.

Many times after you have pulled it out, there will be food laying on the ground beside it. Whether or not you eat this food will probably depend on how hungry you are. Yummy!

Now take this stump and carry it to your camp. A good pointer for finding fat lighter is that there will always be something sticking up out of the ground. The less wood you can see protruding above the ground, the less fat lighter there is underground.

Compare the little bit of usable fat lighter from this stump to the previous one.

If there is nothing sticking out of the ground, there is a good chance that the only thing you'll get out of that hole is 'food' or mulch for your survival garden. Here is such a hole. Notice that no wood sticks out of the ground.

After we clean the debris out of the stumphole, we are left with this.

In this stage of decomposition, the water has flowed back into the wood fibers and the grubs and termites have eaten it down to mulch. These are rotten stumps. You won't be starting a fire with this stuff. You might possibly put one out with it.... Just for the record, this doesn't have the pine aroma.

Now we return to the house with our fat lighter and set it on fire with our tinder, lighter, matches, or whatever. A sooty black smoke comes from the fat lighter and it burns like a torch.

When looking for fat lighter, you are looking for a pine stump with:

  1. Something sticking out above the ground

  2. A firm, rich-colored wood

  3. A strong pine smell

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Published:
Jun 30, 2012
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