Posts Tagged With: every day carry fire starters

Resin-Rich Fat Lighter’d: Nature’s Most Prized Fire-starter

by Todd Walker

Uncle Otha would tell us boys to gather some ‘fat lighter’d’ while out hunting squirrels. He was a retired Army cook and our personal camp chef. Squirrel stew at its finest!

What is fat lighter’d?

You may know it by another name – fatwood, lighter wood, fat lighter, pine knot, lighter knot, or something else. Fat lighter’d, as Uncle Otha called it, is a 100% nature-made fire starter. The resin in conifers concentrates in the base of the tree. If a pine is cut down or dies by disease or storm, the pine resin will harden and preserve the wood.

While hunting yesterday, I ran across what you’d look for when searching for fat lighter’d.

This pine tree was snapped in half by a storm

This pine tree was snapped in half by a storm

The base of the tree’s trunk had been damaged. Pitch (resin) had moved to the area to seal the wound. Though it had not been dead for too many years, fatwood had already formed around the existing injury.

 

Resin-Rich Fat Lighter'd: Nature's Most Prized Firestarter

Resin-rich fatwood!

Resin-Rich Fat Lighter'd: Nature's Most Prized Firestarter

Fat lighter’d has a unique smell and amber color

You can also find fat lighter’d stumps and heart pine core preserved on the ground. Old homestead fence posts turn into fatwood as well.

How to use fat lighter’d

Cut the fatwood into 6 to 8 inch long sections. I like to split these sections into finger size pieces.

My plumber daddy taught me the plumber's vise to cut pipe and kindling in the field.

Cutting a baton in my plumber’s vise

DSCN0159Fat lighter’d splits easily and can be done without a baton. With short pieces, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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With your cutting tool, make a feather stick from one piece of fatwood. The curled strips will catch a flame and ignite the remaining stock of lighter’d. Even if wet, it catches fire quickly.

 

Resin-Rich Fat Lighter'd: Nature's Most Prized Firestarter

A butane lighter sets the feathered stick on fire

The above photo shows me using a butane lighter. You can also start fatwood with a ferro rod.

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Use the back of your knife to scrape fine shavings off. Gather them into a pile and ignite with the sparks from a ferro rod.
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Before I could get back to my camera tripod to photo the flaming pile of fine fat shavings, the flame was all but extinguished. The resin is very flammable. Place the shavings in your tinder material before showering sparks!

Fat Lighter’d Facts

  • No chemicals or petroleum added
  • Smoke from fat lighter’d makes a great mosquito repellant
  • The long leaf pine, which was clear-cut to almost extinction, is the best pitch producing pine tree
  • The term ‘fatwood’ came about from the wood in pine stumps being “fat” with resin that was highly flammable
  • There are between 105 and 125 species classified as resinous pine trees around the world. ~ Wikipedia

If your area doesn’t produce fatwood, what natural fire starter do you prefer?

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Categories: Bushcraft, Bushcrafting, Camping, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 28 Comments

Four Easy-To-Carry Fire-Starters

[Editor’s Note: How important is fire? Today’s guest post was originally published on The Prepared Ninja and reprinted here with permission by the author, Tom Miller. Be sure to check out his bio and connect with him. Don’t let the name The Prepared Ninja fool you. Tom is anything but a mall ninja. He’s doing the stuff with practical advice on preparedness and liberty.]

EDC Fire Starting Options

by Tom Miller

Fire is one of the basic needs for survival. Whether used to stay warm, cook food, provide a light source, or ward off pests, fire can be the difference between life and death. Because fire can be started with a variety of small and lightweight elements, a fire starting method should be included as part of your every day carry (EDC) items and a minimum of two fire starting methods should be included in survival kits, get home bags, bug out bags, etc. The ideal fire starter for every day carry should be small, light weight, and sturdy enough to withstand extended periods of time in a pocket or bag. My top selections for EDC fire starting options are as follows in order from least preferred to most preferred:

4. Magnifying Glass – A magnifying glass can be a good option for starting a fire and there are a few different options when it comes to magnifying glasses; there is the traditional round and thick shape but a better option for every day carry is going to be the flat credit card style of magnifying glass. Starting a fire with a magnifying glass relies on using the magnification to focus a bright light into a fine point that produces fire through heat. Because of this, the single greatest disadvantage to choosing a magnifying glass is the need for sun light. With sun light not always being available in all areas, it comes in at number four on the list.

3. Matches – When it comes to matches, strike anywhere is the way to go. Unfortunately, the availability of strike anywhere matches has significantly decreased in the United States. If obtaining strike anywhere matches is a challenge, try to make your own. It is also beneficial to carry waterproof matches if that is your choice. A sturdy container will protect matches from damage and environmental threats such as moisture. There a purpose-built containers for matches but repurposing a prescription pill bottle or even a clean spice container can be just as suitable. Because of the bulk and each match being typically limited to starting one fire, it comes in at number three on my list.

2. Fire Steel – A fire steel is an awesome choice for a fire starter because it is durable, lightweight, and functions in all types of weather. It is a less reliable option overall because of the fact that it can provide a spark but needs to be paired with a fuel source to start a fire. The fire steel finds itself at number two on the list as a result of the effort needed to produce a fire and the fact that a fuel source is required as well.

1. Lighter – A good old-fashioned Bic style of lighter is often the weapon of choice for starting a fire. With the exception of interference from wind, a lighter will usually successfully produce a flame in most conditions. The placement of a lighter as the first choice in EDC fire starting is based on the fact that it is lightweight, durable, versatile, affordable, and packages a spark and fuel source together.

When deciding what goes into your pockets, purses, and preparedness kits…fire will always have a place. What will you carry?

Author bio: Tom Miller is the owner and writer at the survival and preparedness blog, The Prepared Ninja. His extensive military experience during both peacetime and combat give him a unique perspective on survival and the volatility of society. Visit his website The Prepared Ninja, connect with him on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Categories: Bushcraft, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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