Fatwood: Kindling or Tinder?

Fatwood: Kindling or Tinder?

What is Fatwood?

Fatwood is a non-toxic, all natural firestarter made of softwood, like pine, and its resin. It’s prized for its ability to light easily and burn very hot, even in damp conditions. 

Fatwood is formed by a natural process in pine trees. Pine trees use pitch or resin—a sticky, waterproof substance—to protect themselves from damage. In a living tree, resin flows to areas of insect activity, limb loss, or other damage. When the resin hardens it seals off the area, protecting it from boring insects and moisture. 

After a pine tree dies, the plant’s resin gradually concentrates in the heartwood—the dead wood in the center of the trunk. This process occurs whether the tree is upright or fallen, and whether it’s intact or only the stump remains. 

How do you use Fatwood?

Fatwood can be used either as tinder or as kindling, depending on the situation and your needs.

For reference, a good fire needs 3 things:

  1. Tinder
  2. Kindling
  3. Fuel, typically wood logs


Tinder is what is used to start a fire. It is the first step when building a good wood burning fire. Tinder is an easily combustible material that’s primary purpose is to ignite kindling. It consists of small shavings or shreds of material that will burn hot quickly.

To use Fatwood as tinder you simply scrape shavings off the fatwood stick using a knife or other sharp object. Collect those shavings and place them under your kindling pile, then ignite them.


Kindling is also used to start a fire, but it is larger than tinder. It’s main job is to burn wood logs and keep the fire going after it is started. Don’t waste your time starting a fire with just tinder and then watch it to go out by not using kindling.

To use Fatwood as Kindling you simply place one or more Fatwood sticks under your logs and ignite them. A Fatwood stick is quick to ignite, burns hot and long enough that it will catch the logs on fire directly.


Dired out, non-green wood is the best for burning. There are many different suggestions and theories for how to stack wood best for making a fire. In the end, if you have tinder/kindling and good dry wood, you should be able to generate heat and light.

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