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Anyone have experience making fire logs from things like trash paper  RSS feed

 
Posts: 45
Location: Northern michigan
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I have a Harbor Freight 12-ton press and I'm wondering if I can turn it into a fire log maker by liquefying some paper and some water especially since I just moved I've got cardboard coming out my rear end I'm wondering if making fire logs is worth the time and effort and if anyone out there has setups for doing this regularly I'd be very interested to see what you have come up with

Also I would be interested to know what type of materials work best I hear paper and sawdust are among the best but I wonder if fluffing it out a little with ground up leaves or wood chips will do more harm than good
 
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I'm curious to hear the answers you get, Ryan. I work in an office where the paper waste is ridiculous. Every time you print something you get a blank sheet on top with your name. I'd be curious to find out if you could turn paper into fire logs using a press as you described. At the same time I wonder if turning the paper into fire logs is better or worse for the environment than recycling it. I know nothing about how paper is recycled.
 
Ryan Sleep
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I know you can turn it into fire logs I've seen it done it's a bit of a process I'm not sure if it takes more time than it's worth but I imagine once you perfect that process you might be able to make it more worth the time invested especially with people using things like rocket mass heaters it'd be a lot easier to throw One login there that you know will last so many hours maybe even get through half of your winter without ever touching natural wood just burning Amazon boxes and junk mail turned into a log

The process I saw the simplest way was with 5 gallon buckets they would 1 with water put a bunch of paper in it let it sit overnight and Stir It Up Until It's slushie of soggy paper or as I like to call it garbage Goo then you pour it into a bucket with holes in it put another bucket inside of that and then sit on it to compress it though I imagine using an actual press would work much better but once compressed it squeezes out the majority of the water and then you have to let it sit and dry out at that point they should burn for comparable amount of time as the store-bought fire logs  

I would like to test this process out more come summer but I thought perhaps I could spare myself the work if other people have already done some testing
 
Audrey Lewis
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Now you've piqued my interest. I'd also like to hear if fire logs can be made efficiently in a way that is worth the time and effort, as there is an over-abundance of cardboard and paper in most places. You'll have to post your findings if you end up experimenting with it this summer. Hopefully someone else with more experience will chime in.
 
pollinator
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Paper that is already packed tightly, like magazines, newspapers, and office type paper neatly stacked, I simply roll up as tight as I can get it by hand and tie with a bit of wire.  They will burn slowly like a log of wood of similar size, but do not put out as much heat.  A black flaky char is left which I imagine is rather like biochar, and therefore good for soil or compost.  I have tried to soak cardboard and then roll it up too, but this seemed more trouble than it's worth and so now I just cut up the cardboard that comes into my place and compost it.
 
Ryan Sleep
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Here's the over simplified concept

90% of the vids i see are some dude like omg it burns so it must work lol well no shit its paper the question is can you make them burn long enof to make it worth the time to make it  i figure if you can make it last close to as long as a store bought fire log of the same size  then we got something usefull
 
steward
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When I was a kid, many years ago, dad bought something like this. We would take the daily newspapers and roll them up.



Took a lot of time, but hey kids have time right? We also went to the mountains and cut pine for firewood , which was probably easier at the end of the day.

This guy does it faster and seems to like them. He has a short comment about making blocks with shredded paper and a press. He seemed to think it was not worth doing.



I wonder if one could figure out a way to easily "soften up " cardboard if one could roll them into logs like he does?
 
Ryan Sleep
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Yes if seen this as well but what actually works best most of these videos are just speculation nobody really approaches it with any kind of serious test even the comparison tests that I see are completely different size logs or they're not time to write for the fire they use to start it is inconsistent where the paper log they made was wrong most of them don't soak it long enough or mix it right for that matter I will definitely be testing this in the future and I'll probably use a standard store-bought fire log as a control
 
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Hi, I personally collect a lot of egg carton and im looking for a way to make some firebrick with this material since I dont feel too comfortable with using old magazines and newspaper. Ive seen videos online and Im thinking of soaking it in water, then once its soggy ill put it in a press and let it dry. I have tried burning it by itself (before making the brick) and it burns initially but it only smolders so I think that something needs to be added. Ive thought about adding some paraffin wax and I have tried it, it burns pretty well even with a little bit but it does produce a lot of smoke. I have some beeswax and Im thinking of adding it to a firebrick to test it out. Ill see when I have a chance to try it out.
 
Mike Autumn
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I think that by themselves: paper, cardboard and all those dont burn so well and will probably smolder quite quickly.
 
master pollinator
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I've played around with various methods. They all worked. Didn't feel it was worth the effort for the small amount of paper I had available.

90% of the vids i see are some dude like omg it burns so it must work lol well no shit its paper



That reminded me of the time I was building a camp fire in the pouring rain. Some joker asked if gasoline would help. Of course it would .... it's highly flammable.

I have some beeswax and Im thinking of adding it to a firebrick to test it out.



Oh yea. It will definitely burn & it will burn hot. Even in the pouring rain.

 
Ryan Sleep
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I saw one guy using used engine oil as an additive and I like the beeswax idea to
 
pollinator
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I'm not crazy about burning engine oil,  but used veg oil works great in the fire pit,  so it should do well in a paper log.
I saw a product that was basically a length of stove pipe capped on both ends.
You loaded it with biomass and lay it in your firebox like any other log.
The heat of the fire pyrolizes the content, producing combustion gasses and biochar.
I imagine you could ram something like this full of moist paper and make some very fine, crumbly char.
 
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The question that immediately comes to my mind: Is this (making fire logs) the most sensible use of the type and quantity of paper product you have on hand? IOW, a big part of this question is what _other_ uses are there for scrap paper product? And then, how much time and energy can you _responsibly_ spend on making paper logs that don't burn as well as real wood? Is that the best use for beeswax? For used engine oil (slightly poisonous fumes and all)? And consider whether burning something that doesn't really do the job is worth the carbon toll, compared with good wood that _does_ the job and maybe has a smaller carbon toll.

IOW, Big Picture...  Maybe there is some other use of compacted paper than burning? Assuming it's fast and easy enough to compact it.


Cheers,
Rufus
 
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Last year I had the brilliant idea of converting firewood to charcoal, and burning that for winter heat, but my attempts of making charcoal on a large scale were dismal to say the least. Had it worked though, it would have allowed me to have intense heat with all the benefits of burning coal, but without the issue of buying coal.

Years ago we used recycled paper for bedding for the cows, but no one reads newspapers anymore which made the best paper for absorbing urine, so that ended and we went back to sawdust.
 
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