Fatwood kindling or fire starter is a name that comes form the South. It is made from the heartwood of pines that are naturally saturated with dried resin, also called pitch. Fatwood fire starter is much easier to light than regular wood, it even lights when it is wet. The resin in fatwood kindling will also burn much longer than regular wood kindling.
This wood often comes from stumps of trees or from logs from trees that died standing. Under the right conditions after a pine tree dies, the hartwood will fill up with resin, which eventually crystallizes and hardens. It’s also common in pine stumps. This wood is very resistant to rot and will usually last until it is burned. It is the same material that amber is made from. It is common for the sapwood to rot away from the fatwood and the fatwood will be all that is left of the tree or stump.
It only takes a small amount of fatwood kindling to get a fire started. You can light a piece of fatwood fire starter directly with a match or lighter, no paper is needed. Some people like to cut shavings off of it with a knife to make it even easier to light. I like to break a piece in half while twisting both ends in opposite directions. This sometimes makes it splinter and the splinters are even easier to light.