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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paper fire logs

I was asked if phone books could be turned into fire logs to take camping.  Absolutely!  Back in the 70s, when we lived in a house with a fireplace, I turned old newspapers and junk mail into fire logs to burn.  Back then, we considered it quite frugal to use up otherwise wasted items so it wouldn't end up in a landfill.  These days it's called green living or sustainable living.  Hmm.... I sure wish I had a fireplace now.   

 Lehman's Hardware actually sells a device for rolling newspapers into logs.  Go to their website and put newspaper log roller or paper log roller in the search box.  I had an older version of that device back then.  It's much prettier now.   Hmm... Lehman's also sells a newspaper brick maker that looks very interesting. 

If you don't want to go to the expense of buying a paper roller here's a miniature version of how the logs are rolled.  For camping logs..... you need a phone book, some twist ties with metal wire in them, a spray bottle with some water, and something to roll the paper on.  I used a chopstick for this demo but it could be a dowel or a couple of straws hooked together. 

What you roll the paper on should be longer than the paper so you can easily remove it later.  Fold the paper over this and start rolling very tightly.

Roll about 2/3 of the way of the sheet and then

insert another sheet and keep rolling.  The  fire log should end up being about 3 or 4 inches in diameter.  Keep adding and rolling until you get a log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Now start spritzing the paper as you add a new one.

Just a light little spray will do.  What are doing is making the paper stick to itself which is making a tighter roll.  The tighter the roll the better it burns.  It's more solid like regular wood logs.

Spritz each new sheet as you add it.  You don't have to soak it.  A light spritz will work fine.

When you get the log to the size you want, wrap it with the twisty ties and spritz the log one more time to make the last sheet stick to itself.

I actually removed the chopstick after I had four or five pages rolled together.  When rolling logs by hand it's easier to remove at that time than it is after the roll is finished. 

If you are rolling newspapers into fire logs for a fire place or a campfire it's best to use tuna cans or veggie cans as the holder instead of string or twist ties.  Remove both ends of the can.  Make the logs whatever size needed to be a tight fit inside the cans.  The cans hold the paper together much better while it's burning than string would.  The cans could be reusable.  One can in the center of the log will hold it.

For those who do preparedness planning and keep a rocket stove or charcoal grill as your emergency cooking device; the phone book paper logs would work in those too.  

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