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Cheap/free firestarting  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1093
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World's cheapest firestarter:  junk mail with some grease or oil on it.  The paper is the wick, the grease or oil is the fuel.

I've always had a can for grease that I kept in the refrigerator, mainly to keep it from going rancid, but also to keep it away from my dog and cats.  They haven't learned how to open the refrigerator yet.

So I just pick some junk mail out of the collection bucket, smear a spoonful of grease onto it, crumple the paper up, and put it in place with some twigs on top, and set it aflame.  Works great.

Put your waste to work!

Sue
 
steward
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I clean my cast iron with paper towels.  And then use that paper towel to start a fire.
 
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That is a great idea paul. don't forget dryer lint!
 
paul wheaton
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Dryer lint?  I would need a dryer for that.  I dry all my clothes by hanging them up near the fire I started with the paper towel! 
 
Leah Sattler
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oops! I knew that from your mildewy clothes thread. but still, most people do utilize a dryer, and lint often makes a great fire starter. for me a dryer is one of those modern things that did nothing but improve my life. no more nasty, crispy clothes or bug infested bird poopy pollen laden blankets. and no more tiny house being overtaken with clothes that seem to take forever to dry.
 
paul wheaton
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I'm doing a lot of inventing in the dryer-free clothes drying space ....  I hope to have more to report soon.

 
Leah Sattler
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let us me know what you come up with! it would be nice to have a reliable eco-friendly way to dry things.
 
paul wheaton
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The house I'm in now has a great room with a wood stove.  I'm about to build something where a six foot by 8 foot frame with clothesline gets pushed up next to the ceiling near the wood stove.  I estimate that clothes will dry about four times faster there. 
 
Susan Monroe
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Paul, what about a clothesline like this:  http://www.australclotheshoists.com.au/retracta.htm

A friend has one (outdoors), but I am visualizing one stretched across a room.  If esthetics are a problem, just build a wood box to cover it, and have a fold-down door on it.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
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I need something bigger.  And I need something that I can load and then hoist up to the ceiling.
 
Susan Monroe
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You need more than 120 feet of line space 

And you expect to lift it to the ceiling loaded with wet fabric?

Maybe you should do your laundry a little more frequently? 

Sue
 
paul wheaton
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My design includes the use of a lot of pulleys. 

 
Susan Monroe
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Oh-oh!  Captain Nemo strikes again! 

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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now have you been watching that new series about robinson crusoe paul? I though it was so funny to see all the funny contraptions they concocted 
 
paul wheaton
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Leah Sattler wrote:
now have you been watching that new series about robinson crusoe paul? I though it was so funny to see all the funny contraptions they concocted 



I don't have tv.  Is it available online?
 
Susan Monroe
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I don't have TV, either.  And from what I mostly hear about it, I'm not really missing much.  No time, anyway.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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I don't know if it is online. I've seen blips of it at home and watched a whole episode halloween night after the trick or treating business with my daughter at her cousins. "robinson" has all kinds of pulleys and contraptions to get places and do things. very marginal acting and it actually makes it kinda funny. not because its supposed to be funny but...... the sort of show that makes you burst out laughing in very serious scenes 

I can't imagine not having tv in storm season....or election season  strangly enough I get downright irritated when someone emails me a video. I can't stand to sit here and go through the BS to get to the video. generally there is no tv on here between breakfast and dinner (unless DH is home). not much worse than letting the tv raise your kids, but that is a whole nother thread. the book "plug in drug" is excellent.
 
paul wheaton
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I just checked netflix.  It doesn't seem to be there.  There was, however, a movie with pierce brosnan.  I put that in the queue.  I would think any of them might have a lot of idea fodder for a homesteader.

 
Leah Sattler
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i haven't seen any pieces of the crusoe show since. it was so bad they must have taken it off the air. It really did have some cool...if "not so realistic" ideas.  I want a catapult now. don't know why. maybe I could turn collecting rocks and chunking them into a pile with a catapult into some sort of pastime. 
 
Susan Monroe
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Maybe you (or we) can come up with some sort of competitive rock-chucking contest with catapults and charge admission.  It sounds like something guys would like. 

"Go right ahead, guys!  Just make sure you get them all over there in that low spot that always floods.  I'll be mulching the turnips."

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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we might be onto something here.......charge admission and get all those rocks into useful places and out of annoying ones! if we could somehow involve fire and highly combustable fluid I'm sure we could get some customers. 
 
pollinator
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Paul, did you know that Lehman's Non-electric catalog sells a clothesline on pulleys that you hoist up to the ceiling?  I was looking at it, wondering if I could build one for our house, although most of the year we can use the clothesline outside (one of the advantages of living on the dry side of the mountains!).

Kathleen
 
paul wheaton
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kathleen,

Do you have a link for that?

 
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I was interested and got impatient and found it. Here's the link: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Drying___Space_Saving_Laundry_Airer___1055315?Args=
 
paul wheaton
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I see the pic.  I see the description.  I must be doing something wrong because I cannot see the price.
 
jeremiah bailey
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I can't see it either. I didn't notice before. But from the pic, one could be modeled after it. My thought is a similar design with the same dowel stock acting in place of the aluminum cross members and have the stringers lashed to the top of the cross members with twine or leather or whatever you have available. Similar to a raft, but more sparse.  A couple of pulleys, a cleat and rope to complete the ensemble.
 
jeremiah bailey
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But back to the thread topic. I've used the bacon grease paper thing for years. Several places, including my current residence, had electric ranges. I'd occasionally misplace other firestarting methods and needed a way to start and transport fire. I'd have to light the furnace pilot or start the grill or what not. I'd dip a piece of paper in the grease with a small tip on one end left dry, and enough for a handle dry on the other as well. I'd then touch the small dry tip to the hot element and I'd have a nice roaring candle that I was able to transport to where I needed fire. Using plain paper just burned up too fast and dropped hot ashes.
 
                                
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My top 3:
3) Fritos in a paper towel.
2) Fatwood. Resin-saturated wood from the top of a pine stump. Burns well even wet.
1) Charcloth. Just gauze or cotton washcloth and um, make charcoal out of it. Bake in an Altoids can with a 2mm hole in it, when it just stops smoking plug the hole. The smallest spark gets it going and a little bit goes a long way. So make some extra and hand it around...

Rick
 
jeremiah bailey
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I presume you mean stale fritos... I wouldn't think of wasting perfectly good fritos on firestarting.
 
                                
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You don't need the whole bag - just a few crunched up, plus the crumbs, will get your paper nice and greasy!
(Go ahead and consume the Frito fragments and just use the paper if still hungry)

Ever try steel wool and a 9V battery? Another one of my favorites.

Dryer lint & paraffin has enough staying power to light charcoal.
 
            
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Location: Northport, Wash.
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A good tinder for fire starting is fine steel wool, believe it or not.
We keep some in our emergency kits along with magnesium fire starters.
Also, paul, at manytracks.com, they have a decent looking inside clothes dryer similar to what you are talking about.
We use clothes lines in and out, and much prefer it to a dryer.
Neither my wife nor I have any problems with clothes hanging from the ceiling on ropes.  We figure we are heating the space anyway so might as well use that heat for everything we can.
 
pollinator
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being partially handicapped and finding it difficult to haul clothes outside..i have several areas set up in our small laundry room to dry clothes..and they dry quite well in about 24 hours..even jeans..i have a pull out clothes butler, accordian style hung on the wall..I also have a rod that is about 8' long and it will hold hangers..and i have hooks over the back of two doors (family room and bathroom go into this room) and they hold shirts hung on those hangers that have special shoulder things to keep them from causing bumps.

i will admit..sheets and bedding get dried in the dryer..but that is about it..although I will throw towels in with the sheets to fluff them.

as for fire starters (that was where this thread started)..we always would go into the woods and gather old pine stumps (there had been a forest fire here years ago and the stumps remain)..you can break up a couple pine stumps and the resin pieces left will last you a year or so for fire kindling ..great stuff..

also i f you know a carpenter..gather up their ends and pieces for kindling..otherwise it will go to the landfill..the truss companies around here will even drop them at your house for you for free..(with a bunch of sawdust)
 
paul wheaton
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KurtW wrote:
A good tinder for fire starting is fine steel wool, believe it or not.



Weird.  How does that work?



KurtW wrote:
Also, paul, at manytracks.com, they have a decent looking inside clothes dryer similar to what you are talking about.



I looked around a bit and couldn't find anything.  Link?


 
Leah Sattler
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I'm curious how the steel wool works too 
 
                                
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Fine steel wool ignites with a touch of battery voltage. A 9V is easiest but you can get a D cell or C cell to work with a few inches of insulated wire.
Maybe Kurt is setting it with a flint spark, I haven't tried that. Kids think the battery trick is very cool!

For dramatic effect a campfire can be started suddenly and remotely with an Estes Rocket ignitor (on a circuit with a 6V battery). Flash paper makes it even better.
Clap clap - Whoosh - "whoooah!"
 
jeremiah bailey
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I'd add to the steel wool that it should be extra fine. 0000 is best. I have tested and an electric range element that has just started to glow is hot enough to ignite 0000 steel wool. And yes, kids do think its very cool. I should know, as I learned that trick as kid in scouts. Very cool to have in you bag of knowledge as well. That's an idea: wire up your rocket igniter to a "clapper." Just don't do that with an actual rocket, as you'd be violating some safety rules. I still have a few of my old rockets. Hopefully I'll have a chance to fly them someday soon.
 
            
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Hmmm, Sorry Paul, I don't see the clothes dryer on their site anymore.  It was basically just  some dowels mounted to some boards, they looked like 2x4's on the ends, and pulled up with some rope on pulleys towards the ceiling.  We just have some eyes screwed into the wall and string some rope up for indoor drying.  My wife and I prefer practical over artistic so our home is pretty much set up in a utilitarian manner.  Sorry to give you a bum lead, they used to have a pretty good picture of it on their site.

Regarding the steel wool, we just use a match.  We keep emergency kits in all the cars and in those we have the steel wool, some matches, and also some magnesium fire starters just in case.  Never tried starting them with a battery.  I am not sure why they work so well, it was just something I ran across once and have used it ever since.
 
Leah Sattler
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Sminfiddle wrote:
Fine steel wool ignites with a touch of battery voltage. A 9V is easiest but you can get a D cell or C cell to work with a few inches of insulated wire.
Maybe Kurt is setting it with a flint spark, I haven't tried that. Kids think the battery trick is very cool!

For dramatic effect a campfire can be started suddenly and remotely with an Estes Rocket ignitor (on a circuit with a 6V battery). Flash paper makes it even better.
Clap clap - Whoosh - "whoooah!"



now that sounds like fun! now I have another cool thing to do when my nephews are in town! thanks!
 
steward
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I've used a magnifying glass.  It takes a minute to get going but does the job. 
 
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