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Old 10-06-2011, 12:09 PM   #1
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Firewood alternate

I've been away (camping) all season but wanted to share a way around the campground fire wood purchasing expense. I've noticed more so this year that this magic beetle threat that is keeping people from bringing in firewood from more than 50 miles form the source is starting to get engforced. I've had a ranger or 2 ask where I got my wood but they didn't prod too deeply.
Anyhow, at this time of year the box stores are starting to put out the lazy man fire logs which coincidetally fall inside the "kiln dried" firewood loophole of this new rule. I was able to pick up a few packs of 8ea 3"x3" x 12" long (25 lb) logs for $3 at the tractor supply sore. These bricks are simply sawdust that is compressed in a mold into the new shape with no binders or chemicals added. The brick in it's raw form doesn't give off a good flame but if you cut it up you can get a real nice fire that seems to last quite a while. 1 bundle will last close to 4ea 4 hour fires of a modest size.

I cut 1 brick into 1-1/2" tall hockey pucks (sliced like bread) and quarter the remaining 7 brikcs along thier length to make sticks. I put 1 puck on 3 pieces of charcoal to get the fire started. I can then add individual sticks to get the effect and look of a real wood fire. The pucks seem to burn for 1 to 1.5 hours while the sticks burn for about 45 min ea. At this rate I will only spend $3-$5 on a long weekend with a nice campfire vs $10 buying a bundle of wood each night (2.5 bundles typically) for the same size fire.

The trick is they only sell the all wood bricks when they put out the pellet stove stuff in the fall and early winter. The sell the fancy bricks (dura log for example) all year round at a premium price.
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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Quote: "The sell the fancy bricks (dura log for example) all year round at a premium price."

The Dura Flame logs caused our carbon monoxide detector to go off, so we stopped using them.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:44 PM   #3
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2012 will be the big year for Don't Move Wood. Kentucky and Indiana both are getting the policy added as an official rule that will enable confiscation and fines next season. (or so I hear)

From my limited experience, you really have to look for the best deal, and asking around does help. We asked last weekend and ended up getting locally packaged wood from a small grocer, about 1 or 1.25 cubic foot bundles for $5 versus most places that sell .75 cubic foot bundles for the same price.

Regardless for me it's painful. I have 3 full cords of wood sitting wasting away in my yard, but can't take it out of state to the CG.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:11 AM   #4
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Well We jsut got back from a trip and I am pleased to report that my little log project worked like a champ! The real burn time/averages are as follows:
3x3x1.5 pucks seem to burm 45 min-1 hour
1.5x1.5x 12 sticks burn for about 45 min ea
1 bundle of 8 bricks with 7 cut down into sticks and 1 cut into pucks lasted 2 nights witn a medium sized fore for 3 hours each night. I did buy 1 bundle of wood for same conditions comparison. The compressed brick tinder was comparable to the burn rate of the KOA bundle of wood which gouged me for $5.50

These times are based upon throwing a brand new piece on a well established coal bed. the result was a nice buring flame of average size perfect for cooking or general ambiance. I'll be heaading back to the tractor supply to pick up enough packages to last next season.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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When I am stuck with no wood I always have a few coffe coco logs that I carry and dont smell the wax when they burns.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:39 AM   #6
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firewood alternative

I once read about people rolling newspaper into logs to burn in their woodburning stoves. I think they rolled them into real tight logs and then soaked them in water and let dry for several days. this would be a great alternative to firewood if it worked. I think I will give it a try and then post the results on this forum. It will take me awhile to do that as I need to gather enough paper and make the logs and go camping to use them.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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I played with the rolled newspaper logs and they work but burn too fast. My best attempt only burned for 20 min. I also played with the paper pulp brick technique but it was too messy and took too long to dry the pulp bricks once you squeezed them into shape. That was the closest I have come so far to the saw dust bricks I recently tried. For the effort, the sawdust bricks work the best so far but cost the most of the 3 methods I have tried (newspaper is free once the neighbor is done with it).
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:46 PM   #8
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Speaking of fires, my favorite trick for a fun night time fire is turning the flames into rainbow colors. Get a 8" long piece of copper pipe from your local hardware store and insert a piece of garden hose cut to size.(make sure your pipe is large enough to fit the hose) place it in the fire and watch the flames turn purple, red, yellow, blue and green. The kids love it. It normally lasts about 30 minutes. Then I use a stick or poker to find the copper pipe and I fish it out. I drop it in a bucket of water or the lake and cool it off. Then I stick a new piece of hose in it and it starts all over. I had found a hose someone had at the curb to throw away, and I pre cut it into about 40 pieces, now I always have a stash of them...the copper I can use about 3-4 trips before I have to replace it.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by podfamily View Post
Speaking of fires, my favorite trick for a fun night time fire is turning the flames into rainbow colors. Get a 8" long piece of copper pipe from your local hardware store and insert a piece of garden hose cut to size.(make sure your pipe is large enough to fit the hose) place it in the fire and watch the flames turn purple, red, yellow, blue and green. The kids love it. It normally lasts about 30 minutes. Then I use a stick or poker to find the copper pipe and I fish it out. I drop it in a bucket of water or the lake and cool it off. Then I stick a new piece of hose in it and it starts all over. I had found a hose someone had at the curb to throw away, and I pre cut it into about 40 pieces, now I always have a stash of them...the copper I can use about 3-4 trips before I have to replace it.
Does the garden hose go inside or outside the copper pipe?
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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Rainbow Fire

The garden hose goes inside of thr copper pipe. If your pipe is not big enough to fit the hose, try to cut the pipe the long way, and bend it open. Put the hose inside and then pinch it closed again.
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