Is fatwood okay as a Fire starter?

The Brickwood instructions make it clear not to use artificial fire starters, but I am wondering about using fatwood. If you don’t know it, Fatwood are small pieces of wood cut from the bowls of pine trees and they are so high in resin they act like a fire starter (they burn even longer in my experience and never fail in their job). My only hesitation is that they do give off a black smoke when first getting going. Any experience with this or just thoughts about it would be appreciated.

Honestly, I have had zero troubles with using the paper packing that sone online companies are using in place of peanuts. Ball up about 3’ of that stuff, layer on some kindling, then add a couple logs and the fire is roaring in no time.


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I think you will be fine.

Welcome to the BrickWood forums!

Petrochemicals are the biggest concern; anything that leaves a residue or is potentially explosive in a closed environment (your oven qualifies as that). Kerosene liquids (like “charcoal lighter fluid”) or gasoline (no!) are the most common ones, but also some solid fire-starter blocks include those chemicals.

Thermal shock is the second-biggest concern; something that blazes hot in a cold oven is like starting up a car with a cold engine and flooring the accelerator. It’s a great way to introduce cracks in your mortar, and even in your firebrick lining.

The concern I’d have about fatwood would be whether the resin is consumed completely or if it leaves a hard coating on the hearth. That black smoke is also rich in resin and is going to coat the walls and ceiling of your oven.

If it were my oven, I’d go with @gdiscenza’s advice. With dry kindling you should have zero trouble starting a fire in the way your oven likes: low and slow building up to high and mighty. I’d save the fatwood for fire pits and other situations where you’re uncertain of your wood and you need a hot fire fast.

Thank you all for your thoughts. I think I will avoid using it in the oven.