Tuesday, August 09, 2005
A Cat Face
So what is this?
Answer: This is called a catface. It's a vanishing part of the south, but represents an industry that was once HUGE. Pine trees like this were cut with shallow V shaped cuts that caused the tree to "bleed" sap. The metal strips were nailed on to guide the thick pine sap down to a clay collecting pot (which is not shown). The "turpentiners" would come along every so often, collect the sap, and process it into "Naval Stores"...turpentine, pitch, etc.
Imagine working with sticky pine sap in the heat, humidity, and bugs of a southern pine forest. The catface was rescored over time to keep the sap flowing so it eventually becomes thick with hardened sap. It is usually the last part of an old turpentine pine to rot since the hardened sap acts as a preservative. The tree in the picture is still alive, but finding a dead catface is a gold mine if you have a fireplace...yes, we have them in Florida. The high concentration of resin makes the catface incredibly flammable and the very best kindling wood. We call this "Lighter" and it is hard, dense, and extremely aromatic with pine scent.
A few slivers of thinly split lighter will get any fire going in no time.
Posted by R.Powers at 3:34 PM