Using old motor oil to burn brush?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by CesumPec, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. CesumPec

    CesumPec Well-Known Member

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    I'm clearing land and most of the trees are being chipped for mulch. But some of the brush and vines are just too labor intensive to get them in the chipper. Also, As i pull out roots and stumps, they are too sandy to put thru the chipper lest I ruin my knives.

    So I'm creating several burn piles. Does any one have any data on using used motor oil to light the fires? Any significant danger of chemical leaching into the soil?
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Let them dry for few months and you will be able to get it started with wad of newspaper.
     

  3. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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    Pine straw makes a great fire starter.

    Old oil doesn't really burn that well anyway unless mixed with Kerosene

    Just do like Tinknal said and let it dry well
     
  4. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    I've seen it stored up and used many times. Crawl up on top of the pile and slowly pour it all over not letting enough get on any one area to allow it to drip to the ground. Let it sit for a day to soak in. Use some dry paper or feed sacks to build a fire under the pile the next day and watch it burn. The oil will help it to burn hotter and faster.
     
  5. Aseries

    Aseries Well-Known Member

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    Your forgetting the polluted ash from the burn will also leach in the soil, petro chemical products such as motor oil just dont vanish because you burn them, spare your property the toxic crap and just let it dry and burn it the old fashion way...
     
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  6. RonM

    RonM Well-Known Member

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    Probably an EPA violation to burn oil or tires or other petro based products.I wouldnt do it.....
     
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  7. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7

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    We have been using old motor oil to soak around the wood we dont' want to rot...like cedar posts.

    We use old cooking oil to burn brush.
     
  8. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Hey out of sight I won't tell. :gaptooth:

    big rockpile
     
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  9. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    You bet that works good.
    I use used motor oil on boards and posts and such to keep horses from cribbing on them and chewing them in half.
    Been doing that now for over 40 years. Works great, stops horses form chewing the barn and posts and fences down, preserves the wood, and makes a good use out of used motor oil. LOL
     
  10. andyd2023

    andyd2023 Well-Known Member

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    I have used used motor oil and tractor oil on outdoor wood siding and on trailer decks, works well and cost a lot less then other water repellents.
     
  11. VaFarmer

    VaFarmer Well-Known Member

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    regular used motor oil burns good, if you use synthetic oil it doesn't burn. Soak your brush a day or couple of hours then get a hot starter fire going underneath and it will take off from there and burn hot enough to burn the green wood fast. Stay down wind from the smoke especially beforeyou throw the old tires on, and only burn the tires after dark, the smoke will bring the fire dept. :)
     
  12. fireweed farm

    fireweed farm Well-Known Member

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    That way much of it will have soaked into the soil below before the fire's lit.
     
  13. CesumPec

    CesumPec Well-Known Member

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    OK, I did use oil as a fire starter. Brush pile was 8+' high and about 30' in diameter. One gallon poured in a thin line around the circumference got it burning right away. This oil burns well. Within an hour most of the fire was done but it smoldered most of the rest of the day and then I took the FEL and covered everything with sand.

    The reason I asked this Q was I probably will have to do this another 10 times and I haven't been able to find anything online as to the ash having any remaining toxicity. My guess is no but I was hoping someone might have addressed this problem before.
     
  14. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it burned this easy then you should be able to start it without the oil. Any cub scout could do it.
     
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  15. CesumPec

    CesumPec Well-Known Member

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    Tinknal, technically you are correct, but practically you are not. It burned well with a propellant but just smoldered without. About 20-30% of the pile, the parts in the center and not near the oil never really burned. Yes, I could have found some dry wood and built up a fire, but my time is worth something. I could also wait a few months for the pile to dry, but it is in the way and I'm trying to get this acreage planted this year.

    A boy scout could clear this land with an axe and a shovel, but I'll get on to the next chores sooner if I use the tools and resources I have at hand.
     
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  16. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    Used motor oil works good for burning fresh brush piles. I have done it lots of times and have never experienced any problems with it. I dont care much for burning tires though.... they leave a real mess of wire to be cleaned up. :)
     
  17. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

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    please check for burning restrictions in your area and make sure you are prepared by wetting down the area around the burn and have hose and water buckets handy..thanks..too many people killed from out of control fires every year
     
  18. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    I detect a little animosity here. I guess you didn't read the part where I said, "pouring slowly so as not to allow it to reach the ground."

    I'm not sure if your feathers are ruffled or not, but you might consider thinking about the fact that lots, and lots, and lots of Northeasterners still burn heating oil every winter. Lots of us rely upon coal for heat, wood for heat, and natural gas for heat. If you think that these types of fossil fuel don't leave a bigger environmental impact on the earth than using some old motor oil to burn a brush pile than you're sadly mistaken.

    As for burning oil in a brush pile. I'm not advocating using a drum of it. But, if the amount that was changed out of your vehicle needs to be disposed of I'd suggest using my above posted described method to kill two birds with one stone.