Fatwood Coffee

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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I've been lucky enough to find some fatwood in the past, but when I saw on BCOZ that it was for sale at that hardware shop, I thought I'd try some out.

First of all let me say, the stuff I bought is way better than the stuff I found.
This commercial stuff is 100% saturated with resin, whereas the wood I found only had "veins" of saturated resin running through it !

Its good to have a comparison.

I went to my day walk location. Previously I'd gathered a couple of rocks so I have a stable base for my stove.
I guess I shouldn't be too surprised to see that someone had been at the site and left a calling card:
20170722_101345 (Small).jpg

First things first: Bacon ! I setup the pan on my Al can metho stove - it gives a nice simmer, just right for bacon.
I cleaned a stick (left end) to use as a flipper, and sharpened the back end (right)
20170722_103148 (Small).jpg

The sharp end allows me to stick it in the ground, rather than try and rest it somewhere safe:
20170722_103157 (Small).jpg

With the bacon cooking it was time for Fatwood.

I only took a few splints from the bag.
All the pieces were sawn to length, then split and they all looked roughly equally sized and of equal quality (in terms of being saturated with resin).
20170722_103429 (Small).jpg

First I tried to light a splint with a firesteel.
Not surprisingly I couldn't get it going. If I shaved some curls, chips and dust, that would light, but not the splint as it is.

Next I tried a lighter. This did light, but took a while to catch. I needed to hold it in place long enough for the resin to start to melt, then burn, and finally the wood caught fire. If you were using matches, you'd probably need to use a few to get it going. Of course, if you made some shavings it would catch more easily:
20170722_103758 (Small).jpg

Once I was ready I lit the splints and set them amongst 3 small rocks like so:
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Coffee pot on the go:
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The fatwood burns quite ferociously once its going. The molten resin runs out of the wood and catches alight so the splints were consumed in flames and burnt really nicely without the need for any tinder / kindling or "top ups" with any local sticks.
Three splints were just the right amount to boil up a coffee.

Basically the fatwood is a a good fuel, although it is quite smokey and left a thick layer of soot on my pot.
20170722_104815 (Small).jpg 20170722_105659 (Small).jpg

Using the fatwood as a fuel for a pot worked well although the soot is "worse" that hexamine.
I wrapped the pot well before putting it away.

The unburnt half of fatwood (in the pic above) I was able to snuff out and I took it with me. I think the charred end will make it easier to light next time.
 

koalaboi

Mors Kochanski
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Hi,

I've seen so many references to fatwood in the years I have been a member Bit I've never actually bothered to follow it up, ie: understand what people were talking about.

A quick GOOGLE search saw me end up at a Wikipedia site and now I get it.

Seems to me that on an Aussie site, the fatwood we should be looking at would come from our native pines. We have a lot of species and it would be interesting to see if any research has been done into looking at native pines for use as sources of both fatwood, pine tar and turpentine.

Apparently the tap roots of old pine stumps are pretty good sources of fatwood.

Be interested to see if anyone has any info here.

I do think though, that in a dry climate like Australia, if you have trouble getting a fire going you are not really thinking about what's available in the bush.

KB

Hope I'm not going over old ground but there you are.
 

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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Hi,

I've seen so many references to fatwood in the years I have been a member Bit I've never actually bothered to follow it up, ie: understand what people were talking about.

A quick GOOGLE search saw me end up at a Wikipedia site and now I get it.

Seems to me that on an Aussie site, the fatwood we should be looking at would come from our native pines. We have a lot of species and it would be interesting to see if any research has been done into looking at native pines for use as sources of both fatwood, pine tar and turpentine.

Apparently the tap roots of old pine stumps are pretty good sources of fatwood.

Be interested to see if anyone has any info here.

I do think though, that in a dry climate like Australia, if you have trouble getting a fire going you are not really thinking about what's available in the bush.

KB

Hope I'm not going over old ground but there you are.
Good points, but its such an "iconic" item for Northerners (US / Europe) that I wanted to play with some.
To me, bringing fatwood is no different to bringing metho, gas, hexa or any other "exotic" fuel which is not readily available in the local environment.

We have native pines and I've collected the resin from several species on many occasions. The resin is usable similar to the northern Hemisphere pines, but I think a bit more brittle when dry.
I haven't managed to locate a rotten stump which contained any fatwood, but I think its just a matter or looking longer and harder, I've certainly seen native pine fatwood
in joints and even patches in trunks ... so it is there.

These days our environment is severely changed too. Huge pine plantations and (at least in the high country in vic) there are many pines growing in "odd" spots in the forest;
usually these are remnants of old homesteads where only the gardens survive (in fact there are some quite lovely spots full of fruit trees, oaks, roses, pines - esp sequoias and cedars were popular - dotted about. I always love stumbling on an old garden, or ghost town.

... anyway if you're wandering about the bush in many places in the SE, you are likely to encounter exotic pines.
The rest of the country, from the outback to the Snowy have various of the native pines, so its worth exploring them.

Here's an example of a Fir tree growing on an abandoned town site:

http://bushcraftoz.com/forums/showthread.php?9545-Edible-Fir-Cones-tips&p=98023#post98023
 

Bloffy13

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I was just thinking the same as koalaboi. We have a big old bunya pine at work (at least that's what the plaque says) and it has a few battle scars. Might grab a bit and give it a go. There's also some big pines there too. Not sure what type. Definitely not native. Might do a comparison.
Cheers
Bloffy
 
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