Resin-rich fire starter

There’s not much new in the art of firemaking, and most methods are a few hundred thousand years old. But in the 21st century, getting a fire started in the fireplace can still be more difficult than it needs to be. Crumpling up inky newspaper as tinder under a full size split log is hit or miss at best, and gathering up sticks as kindling is a pain, especially for city dwellers.

This winter, I’ve solved the problem with the discovery of “fatwood” firestarters: small sections of resin-rich pine (most commonly from the longleaf pine Pinus palustris) produced from stumps. They just work: criss-cross two of them, light them and they will quickly catch and burn long enough to get the big logs going. They work every time. They smell good, they’re inexpensive and they’re sustainable. They come from existing stumps and the Fatwood company plants three trees for every one they use. Start a cozy fire faster with a clear conscience this winter.

-- Matthew Perks 11/15/11

(These firestarters are really great for getting campfires going in tough wet conditions, too (that is as long as you remember to toss a few in the back of the car).--OH — editors)