Tar Burning 2017-06-22T16:02:09+00:00

Tar Burning

The inhabitants of Suomussalmi obtained a large part of their livelihood from tar-burning for almost the entire 19th century. The pines were debarked as high up as the men were able to, and the resin was allowed to extrude from the trees for three years. Thereafter, the men, standing on a platform, debarked the trees even higher up. The trees were felled in autumn and pulled to the tar pit in late winter. The blocks of wood were cut into smaller pieces, laid in the pit and covered with turf. The pit was lit on a mild summer evening. Tar burning took about one week. The yield was dozens of barrels of tar that was transported by boat to be sold in Oulu. Currently, the sites of the former tar pits are visible as round depressions on pine heaths.