Ever since I began thinking about fatwood a few months ago, I’ve been intent on finding it. Apparently, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack around here though. From what I’ve watched and read online, all I need to do is locate a pine tree that’s fallen over, chop it up a bit with my hatchet and there I go. Fatwood in hand. Unfortunately, finding fatwood isn’t that easy. It’s not that easy at all. After hunting around my property throughout the winter and digging into some dead wood, I haven’t found anything. Well, I guess I found some dead wood, but certainly not any juicy caramel colored fatwood.
A few days ago, I was walking through one of our trails when I passed by an old pine stump that appears to have been dead and rotting for years and years. I’m not sure how long it takes for a piece of wood to rot this far, but it’s got to be a while. At least five years, I’m guessing. Probably even longer. Take a look.
The stump was actually still standing and I kicked it down. It took a little while because the interior is still solid. It’s been winter for about six months up here in Maine, so this is the first time seeing this stump. I think it’s been frozen and buried since November.
Anyway, I kicked this stump down a few days ago and I just went out with my hatchet in hand to see what was on the inside of all that rot. Since it was tough to kick over, I thought there might just be some fatwood in there. From what I gather, the actual fatwood is preserved by all the resin that’s settled inside the tree. So if there’s rot on the outside and a solid inside, there’s a decent chance that it’s a fatwood interior. I was very excited to find out if that’s what I had.
I took my hatchet and began chopping all the dead exterior away.
I was pleased when I found a perfectly preserved core. I kept chopping until I got a nice chunk. I wanted to smell it to see if it smelled like turpentine like everyone else describes.
After I chopped a few more chunks and smelled each one of them, I decided that I had some sort of wood that smelled very much like pine. I wouldn’t describe the smell as a strong turpentine or anything, but it did smell like pine wood.
I continued to dig around for a few more minutes to see what else was in there.
I think there’s probably a 50/50 chance that this is fatwood. I’d like some opinion on this from anyone who has actually found this type of thing in the wild. What does this look like to you? Am I onto something? My next step is to go out and cut a few pieces away and then split them up. After that, I’ll shave a few slivers from one of the pieces to see if it lights with my sweet new ferro rod. I’ll definitely write another post after that happens. And if it lights, there will be a celebration. Thanks for reading!