Unlocking the Potential of Cedar: Extracting Fatwood for Fire Starting

Unlocking the Potential of Cedar: Extracting Fatwood for Fire Starting

In the vast world of survival techniques and outdoor adventures, one of the most sought-after resources is fatwood. Derived from various tree species, fatwood is renowned for its exceptional fire-starting properties. While pine is traditionally associated with fatwood, there's a common query circulating among survival enthusiasts: Can We Get Fatwood from Cedar?

Exploring the Possibilities: Is Cedar a Source of Fatwood?

Cedar trees are ubiquitous across many regions, prized for their aromatic wood and natural repellent properties against insects and decay. However, when it comes to fatwood, pine often takes the spotlight due to its resin-rich composition. Nonetheless, cedar holds its own potential as a source of this valuable fire-starting material.

Understanding Fatwood: What Makes it Effective?

Before delving into cedar's fatwood potential, it's crucial to grasp the characteristics that define this prized resource. Fatwood, also known as lighter pine, is derived from the heartwood of certain tree species. It boasts a high concentration of resin, a sticky substance produced by trees to seal wounds and protect against pests and pathogens. This resin-rich content is what makes fatwood highly flammable and ideal for igniting fires, even in damp conditions.

The Cedar Conundrum: Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions

While pine is the quintessential fatwood provider, cedar possesses similar traits that make it a viable candidate for fire-starting purposes. Despite common misconceptions, cedar does produce resin, albeit in smaller quantities compared to pine. However, this doesn't diminish its potential as a sustainable source of fatwood.

Extracting Fatwood from Cedar: Techniques and Considerations


To extract fatwood from cedar, one must adopt specific techniques tailored to the tree's composition. While cedar resin may not be as abundant as pine resin, it still permeates the heartwood, especially in older trees or those subjected to stress. Here are some methods for harvesting fatwood from cedar:

1. Identifying Suitable Trees:

  • Look for mature cedar trees with dense, resinous heartwood.
  • Prioritize trees that have experienced trauma or injury, as they tend to produce more resin as a defense mechanism.

2. Utilizing Proper Tools:

  • Equip yourself with a sharp axe, hatchet, or saw for cutting through the tough cedar wood.
  • A sturdy knife or chisel will come in handy for extracting resin-rich sections.

3. Locating Resin Channels:

  • Inspect the cedar wood for dark streaks or pockets, indicating the presence of resin channels.
  • Focus your efforts on these resin-rich areas for optimal fatwood extraction.

4. Harvesting Fatwood Safely:

  • Carefully remove sections of heartwood containing ample resin, avoiding damage to the tree's integrity.
  • Exercise caution to prevent injuries while handling sharp tools.

The Benefits of Cedar Fatwood: Environmental and Practical Advantages

Incorporating cedar fatwood into your outdoor gear arsenal offers several advantages beyond its fire-starting prowess. Here's why cedar fatwood deserves recognition:

  • Sustainability: Cedar trees are abundant and replenishable, making them a sustainable source of fatwood compared to endangered or slow-growing tree species.
  • Aromatic Qualities: Cedar fatwood releases a pleasant aroma when burned, enhancing the ambiance of campfires and outdoor gatherings.
  • Natural Pest Repellent: The aromatic compounds present in cedar wood act as natural insect repellents, keeping pesky bugs at bay during outdoor excursions.

Conclusion: Embracing Cedar as a Valuable Resource

In conclusion, while pine remains the poster child of fatwood production, cedar shouldn't be overlooked as a viable alternative. With the right knowledge and techniques, extracting fatwood from cedar can unlock a world of possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists alike. By embracing cedar's inherent qualities and harnessing its resin-rich heartwood, we can elevate our outdoor experiences while promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship. So, the next time you venture into the wilderness, consider the untapped potential of cedar fatwood for your fire-starting needs.

Back to blog