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Author Topic: Catface  (Read 5559 times)

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Offline DanG

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Catface
« on: February 06, 2015, 10:46:57 AM »
This morning, long-absent Forumite Blake22 posted this pic on Facebook.  I'm posting it here with his permission. :)  It seems that he has adopted the practice of rescuing these relics of the past whenever he finds them in the woods. 

 

This is what is locally known as a catface.  It is the scar that is left on a pine tree from the process of collecting pitch for the naval stores industry.  Apparently the loggers just lop off the butts of these trees when they run across them.  Blake says he's going to fetch out another one soon, so I'll try to get him to take pics of the process.  :)
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Offline doctorb

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Re: Catface
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2015, 11:05:25 AM »
DanG-

Very interesting.  I am completely in the dark about this.  I'm going to have to google some of your description to get a better "picture" of what I am actually seeing in that pic.  What is the horizontal piece of metal intended to do?  Thanks for any further info on the process.

And after a little research, it all makes sense.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_stores_industry
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Offline pabst79

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Re: Catface
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2015, 11:18:10 AM »
 DanG, That is pretty interesting, the link from doctorb says that this practice mostly ended in the late 20th century, but doesn't say how long ago they started doing this? How old could it possibly be? Really cool that's for sure.  smiley_roller
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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2015, 11:43:00 AM »
Doc B, at one time that metal piece was either a deflector to guide the pitch into a pot which would be hung on a nail below it, or it may have been a metal pan for actually catching the pitch. I've seen both methods used.  The herringbone shaped grooves were hacked into the tree to help guide the pitch to the center as it seeped out.  The workers would come around every few days to collect the pitch and scrape down the catface to stimulate more seepage.

Pabst79, this was an ancient practice that I assume began in Europe centuries ago. It still exists today, and likely always will, but under greatly reduced demand.  Before we had modern plastic adhesives and boats were made from wood, pine tar was a very important substance to keep boats & ships from leaking.  The turpentine that was distilled from the pitch was an important ingredient in some paints and was used as a thinner and brush cleaner.  It was also used in medicine as a topical disinfectant.

The last time I remember seeing any major activity in the turpentine woods was in the mid to late 80s.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Catface
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 12:12:25 PM »
I don't mean to imply that you are really old Dang, but 1880's or 1980's?  ;D
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Catface
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 12:32:31 PM »
When I was down in Michoacan, Mexico in the late 1980's there was a lot of tar tapping on the trees of the high mountains there. The area is now probably to dangerous to visit safely, with lots of drug cartel types all over the place. I think this is where the big overwintering area for the monarch butterflies is located.
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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2015, 12:46:18 PM »
I don't mean to imply that you are really old Dang, but 1880's or 1980's?  ;D

I'm noticing a distinct lack of respect for one's elders here!  :snowball:
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2015, 12:50:25 PM »
When I was down in Michoacan, Mexico in the late 1980's there was a lot of tar tapping on the trees of the high mountains there. The area is now probably to dangerous to visit safely, with lots of drug cartel types all over the place. I think this is where the big overwintering area for the monarch butterflies is located.

It's funny you would mention the Monarchs on this particular thread, Mesquite.  That slab came from just a few miles from the Monarch's launch site for their trans-gulf flight.  :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Catface
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2015, 01:49:25 PM »
Much, much elder. ;D
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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2015, 02:31:11 PM »
And don't you forget it, Sonny Boy!
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Ocklawahaboy

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Re: Catface
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2015, 03:07:40 PM »
I occassionally run across one of those but that is the nicest one ive very seen. They are usually barely recognizable when I find one these days. I would LOVE to have one like that.  I was hiking through the ocala national forest and found an original clay collecting pot that would have hung at the bottom.  it has a couple of cracks but is in tact.  I was amazed that it lasted through all the pulpwood harvesting that forest sees these days.

Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Re: Catface
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2015, 04:07:10 PM »
I don't mean to imply that you are really old Dang, but 1880's or 1980's?  ;D

I'm noticing a distinct lack of respect for one's elders here!  :snowball:

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Re: Catface
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 05:35:37 PM »
When I saw that picture, it brought to mind seeing a piece of wood that looked like that when i was young.  Never could figure what caused that pattern, but now I know.   :)
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Re: Catface
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2015, 05:59:06 PM »
I think pine tar was used one time to tar twine for fishermen and even for making reeds for weaving. You can buy tarred twine, but it's probably not pine tar now.

Here's a fellow in Sweden making reeds with tarred twine. The site is a US distributor.

http://glimakrausa.com/glimakra-products/stainless-reeds 
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Offline clww

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Re: Catface
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2015, 07:33:52 PM »
Great post DanG! :)
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Catface
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2015, 09:42:14 PM »
Kind of reminds me of tapping Rubber Trees as seen on Nat. Geo. channel!

Same principle.
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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 06:50:22 AM »
Blake sent me another pic last night.  This one is of the stump before he separated the slab from the heart wood.  All of the sap wood has rotted away, but the heart and the catface wood is very heavily impregnated with pitch and will remain intact for many years.

 

As a side benefit, this thread may encourage Blake to rejoin us here as soon as he can get a computer.  He has been facebooking on his phone for several years but says he misses us.  Lets hope he does come back.  He's a really neat guy! :)
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Catface
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2015, 11:31:25 AM »
I think they used little clay pots in Mexico as well. About fist sized. ;D
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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2015, 12:28:20 PM »
The ones they used here looked a lot like a terra-cotta flower pot with no hole in the bottom.  They had a small hole near the top to hang on that nail you can see in that last pic.  They would probably hold about 2 quarts if memory serves.
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Offline Ocklawahaboy

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Re: Catface
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2015, 05:42:56 PM »
Here's some pics of the one I found out in the woods.  When I remodel the man cave, I think it would look great hanging on a cats face. I didn't really give you anything for scale but I would guess the capacity is almost a quart.




Offline Blake22

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Re: Catface
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2015, 08:15:02 PM »
I see DanG is taking care of biness.
Blake

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Re: Catface
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2015, 08:32:45 PM »
I see DanG is taking care of biness.
Blake22, I'll be passing your way and digging into one of Jimmy's burgers and some 10 layer cake next week.

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Re: Catface
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2015, 05:33:35 AM »
Must be eating at the Red Onion??  I wish I had a piece of 10 layer cake for breakfast.

Blake

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Catface
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2015, 06:32:51 AM »
Blake / DanG - very cool!  Thanks for sharing the pix.
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Re: Catface
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2015, 06:52:44 AM »
I found another nice one during deer season.  I need to go get it out of the woods today.
Blake

Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2015, 08:48:50 AM »
Hey Blake, I see you figgered out your password.  Glad to have you back, Bro!  :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline Ocklawahaboy

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Re: Catface
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2015, 09:08:00 AM »
Must be eating at the Red Onion??  I wish I had a piece of 10 layer cake for breakfast.
Yup.  Every time I go past.  Even had to drive up there from ocala to pick up a stranded trucker one time.  He got to buy me a bacon cheeseburger before we headed back.

Offline Blake22

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Re: Catface
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2015, 10:21:20 AM »
Must be eating at the Red Onion??  I wish I had a piece of 10 layer cake for breakfast.
Yup.  Every time I go past.  Even had to drive up there from ocala to pick up a stranded trucker one time.  He got to buy me a bacon cheeseburger before we headed back.

Best burger in these parts. 
Blake

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Re: Catface
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2015, 10:26:28 AM »
Hey Blake, I see you figgered out your password.  Glad to have you back, Bro!  :)

I was surprised it worked.  I just knew y'all had purged an old deadbeat member like me. If ican figure out how to post pics from my phone you still toss me out   .......I have lottsa DanG good pics of old junk.
Blake

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: Catface
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2015, 01:45:11 PM »
@Blake22

I see you live in Madison. I lived in Day when I was eleven and twelve, then after the school burned down we moved to the other side of the county, to the east of Mayo on US 27...

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Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2015, 02:44:42 PM »
Blake, Jeff doesn't purge members who have posted before.  You don't get purged for not being able to post pics either, just laffed at a lot. ;D :snowball:
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline Blake22

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Re: Catface
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2015, 12:17:02 PM »
Blake, Jeff doesn't purge members who have posted before.  You don't get purged for not being able to post pics either, just laffed at a lot. ;D :snowball:

Are you pickin on me DanG ?
Blake

Offline DanG

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Re: Catface
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2015, 03:11:08 PM »
Well yeah.  :D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline caveman

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Re: Catface
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2015, 10:13:56 PM »
The clay pots used to collect pitch were referred to as Herty Cups.  They were developed by Charles Herty.
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Offline Ocklawahaboy

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Re: Catface
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2015, 10:28:22 PM »
The clay pots used to collect pitch were referred to as Herty Cups.  They were developed by Charles Herty.
If I'd have known that 2 years ago, I could have exclaimed to my friends on the FL trail, Hey look, it's a Herty Cup!

Seriously though, I am going to add that to my mostly useless-make myself look smart around a select few Floridians- store of knowledge.

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Re: Catface
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2021, 02:30:42 PM »
 

 

 

 I took these pics in the Museum at the home of a friend of mine, Steve Melton, who lives in Trilby, Fl.  He has a lot of really cool stuff, some of which used to belong to my Great Grandfather (cane grinder and various railroad tools).  The catface which is from an old longleaf pine, the tins, Herty cups and the hacks which were used to create the catfaces are pictured.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Catface
« Reply #36 on: September 29, 2021, 08:56:26 AM »
Surprised to se so many replies under 'cat face' , that would be a knot scar that is a grading defect on a hardwood log.                          So there is another cat face found in the southern pine woods, very interesting.

Offline Wudman

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Re: Catface
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2021, 09:25:26 AM »
The "catface" posted by Caveman is a turpentine scar.  Trees were deliberately injured to collect turpentine.

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Re: Catface
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2021, 10:48:18 AM »
The cut marks to stimulate resin flow in the old longleaf pines resembled a cats face. 
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Offline Claybraker

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Re: Catface
« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2021, 12:36:31 PM »
The horizontal metal piece in the first post is to give a horse something to brush your leg against. Makes a nasty wound. 

Offline florida

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Re: Catface
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2021, 04:29:36 PM »
I found these turpentine videos years ago and while the first 2  are rough for different reasons they are still enjoyable. I've looked for a cat face for years but I don't think they did much turpentining here in south Florida. I have found 2 hand hewn cypress ties though. Meant to go back one day and get it but it was deep in a Cypress slough and we never went back.







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Re: Catface
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2021, 09:19:15 AM »
When I was starting out as a new young Forester (last century 1979) turpentining was still being done on a pretty significant scale.  
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Offline newoodguy78

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Re: Catface
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2021, 07:43:38 PM »
Is it still being done on any sort of a commercial basis?

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Re: Catface
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2021, 09:24:57 AM »
Not that I am aware of.  I believe the natural products have been replaced by synthetics or are obsolete, and turpentine and tall oil soap are byproducts of the pine Kraft pulping process so most of the turpentine is produced that way. The old ways of using the trees and catch pans/pails have been replaced by the modern pulping process for pine pulp.  The big pulpmill that I procured wood for for many years produced a lot of turpentine and tall oil soap.  
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Magicman

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    • Knothole Sawmill
Re: Catface
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2021, 01:58:26 PM »
But around here anyway, we still call any scar on the side of a tree a 'catface'.
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Offline Claybraker

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Re: Catface
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2021, 03:36:53 PM »
There's an outfit in Patterson Ga that offers artisanal products. Sort of a niche market. Maybe one step below niche.

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