Friday, June 13, 2008

Starting Fires

Waste not, want not... that's the motto I live by. Here are two good examples of just how to do that. Everyone knows that newspaper is good for starting fires, whether it be a summer evening bonfire, or lighting the fireplace on a chilly winter day. What you may not know is that there are ways to make your newspaper go farther. There are products on the market that will turn your newspaper into logs or bricks. As the Lehman's website states, "Tightly wrapped newspaper burns slowly and provides extended periods of heat." I don't own one personally, but I would highly recommend buying one from Lehman's if you plan on buying one, because Lehman's is based out of Amish country in Ohio. Check out these two websites for two different kinds of log rollers:

You can also roll a newspaper log without those fancy contraptions. I have tried it, with some success, however I found that you get a lot of ash from burning newspaper logs rather than wooden logs, and it works best if you use a combination of both real wood and newspaper logs. Here's how: Thoroughly wet each section of newspaper. Begin tightly rolling each section together; when half-rolled, place a new newspaper section onto the half-rolled sheet and continue rolling. Continue until the log reaches desired thickness. Tie with twine when done. Use only when completely dry (this will take awhile).

A second way to "waste not, want not" when it comes starting fires is to make wax-dipped pinecones. First, amass a pile of large pine cones (we collected some in Hilton Head Island and some I purchased at garage sales or post-Christmas clearance sales).

In an empty coffee can, melt down pieces of wax from left-over candles. My friends now give me their candles that are too small to burn anymore. Carefully dip each pinecone in the melted wax and let cool and harden on wax paper. I found that this step works best when the wax isn't super-hot and instead is nearing a gel-like state and almost cool enough to harden. Otherwise the wax just drips right off and it won't stick to the pinecone. When finished, you have a very stylish, good-scented way to start a fire. Just toss it in with the wood and newspaper and light it.

I've also heard of taking dryer lint and place it into a paper egg carton. Top with melted wax and let cool. Cut apart each egg section and use just like you would use a pinecone. I'm sure this works equally well though I have not tried this idea yet.

Check out this website for more frugal fire-starting tips!

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