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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was a discussion awhile back about homemade fire starters and one suggestion was to use paper egg cartons, fill with dryer lint, and poor melted wax in each cup. Further research on the net indicates this is pretty popular method.

I don't have any paraffin but do have some saved up solid bacon grease and was wondering if this could be a viable substitute for the wax? Would it burn as easily and as long as wax?

Where does one buy paraffin other then in candle form? I priced candles at the store the other day they are not inexpensive it seems.

Newspapers - We have to restart our wood stoves on a daily basis at times so starting fires is an important process for us. I currently use the commercial wax bricks and chop them up into smaller sizes but I find they have limited effectiveness (yes we are using good wood, good draft etc). The best method so far is to use the wax brick along with some crumpled newspaper.

After having a large stock of old newspapers for the last several years, we have finally run out. I tried to get the old newspapers from the library but they no longer give them out because they have to, "go to the secure facility for shredding". Translated that probably means they have some sort of contract with a shredding company.

Where else in the community might one find old newspapers?

Thanks
 

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There was a discussion awhile back about homemade fire starters and one suggestion was to use paper egg cartons, fill with dryer lint, and poor melted wax in each cup. Further research on the net indicates this is pretty popular method.

I don't have any paraffin but do have some saved up solid bacon grease and was wondering if this could be a viable substitute for the wax? Would it burn as easily and as long as wax?

Where does one buy paraffin other then in candle form? I priced candles at the store the other day they are not inexpensive it seems.
Newspapers - We have to restart our wood stoves on a daily basis at times so starting fires is an important process for us. I currently use the commercial wax bricks and chop them up into smaller sizes but I find they have limited effectiveness (yes we are using good wood, good draft etc). The best method so far is to use the wax brick along with some crumpled newspaper.

After having a large stock of old newspapers for the last several years, we have finally run out. I tried to get the old newspapers from the library but they no longer give them out because they have to, "go to the secure facility for shredding". Translated that probably means they have some sort of contract with a shredding company.

Where else in the community might one find old newspapers?

Thanks
usually any place they sell canning supplies, like Wal-Marts.
 

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We don't heat with wood, but I like to have some fire starters on hand for when we have a bonfire, like we will on Thanksgiving Day. The way I make mine is I pick up some fine shavings from the calf barn, and put them in a paper cupcake liner. I burn a couple of jar candles 'til there's a good bit of melted wax in them. Then I blow out the candles and pour the melted was over the shavings.
 

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this is correct. look in the canning section. it may also be labelled as paraffin- used to be used to seal jams and jellies. it also used to be real cheap, but don;t know what it is now as it is another petroleum product. do you have any candle stubs that could be melted down? they work too.
 

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Howdy Wayne

We got wax a couple decades ago from a craft store. We recently got all of the newspaper we could fit in the Subaru from first the local newspaper, and then the one in the State capitol. One had them bundled for recycling, and the other had a drop off bin.

You might also check with the Boy Scouts, or your recycling center.

Another thing I do is bag up "pickings" off of the firewood when it comes in, and we bag up what we sweep from the hearth.

Good luck.
 

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check at goodwill or the like for candles. they're usually REAL cheap. Paraffin in the area where they sell canning supplies is great. either a grocery store or a Wal-Mart type store.

As far as old papers....check with any motels in the area. They often put out papers for people to read in the lounge area. You could let people know you're looking for newspapers and have them save them for you. (we have 1 person saving/collecting egg cartons for us and within 2 weeks I had over 300 egg cartons! Another saves her newspapers for us...a full week's worth is QUITE a pile of paper)
 

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I wouldn't use the bacon grease, it will smell up the house like burnt grease. Save that savory stuff for seasoning. If you have too much please send some to me (seriously!)

Another thing that you can use and is very cheap is cotton balls soaked in kerosene. I have one of those kerosene pots that is for the fireplace, but you can just use a jar of any description. Stuff the jar full of cotton balls and pour in enough kerosene (or lamp oil) to soak the cotton balls. You don't need to satuarate them. For a pint sized jar it will only take about 4-6 ounces of kerosen/lamp oil. Place a lid on the jar and when you need to start a fire put one or two of the cotton balls in with your kindling and then add the bigger wood. Light the cotton balls and they will burn for about 10-15 minutes - plenty long enough to get the fire going. I use an old pair of needle nose pliers to pick the balls out of the jar. Old tweezers work also. A pint sized jar should last about the whole season.

Pine cones work good also as they already come with the "fire starter" built in by mother nature. Of course, I wouldn' use one of those 5 pound cones that come from some of those trees out west - just the small cones.
 

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Why not just use candles? Take a hunk of candle about 2" long and use it. Done it for years.
 

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My best "firestarter" is the old lath I pulled out of the house. This stuff is 50-75 years old and very dry. I bit of paper and lath on top, and it's lit and going in no time. I think I have enough to last for the next 10 years, and I know I'll miss it when it's gone.

We also cut up all our cardboard boxes and use that. Maybe with some junk mail to help get the cardboard going. If you rip in in half (the cut peices) it usually sort of comes apart and you have ends that are very easy to light.

Cathy
 

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I always use cotton balls smeared with petroleum jelly. They work great when camping or building a fire outdoors so should also work well anywhere else.
 

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It helps to know how to properly lay in a fire by criss-crossing the kindling over the firestarter, and then getting that going before piling on the heavier wood. We always use crumpled up newspaper as the firestarter, but I do like that idea of the kerosene soaked cottonballs. I also shred all the paper that comes into this house, either by hand or by using a paper cutter. I stuff this into individual small paper sacks and twist the top shut. One of these is a pretty decent fire all on its own.
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Everyone has a different way of starting a fire. Whatever works for you is great!

The good thing about the wax/lint or wax/shavings firestarters, is you don't HAVE to build a great crisscross of small twigs then larger twigs, then branches, then after it's going add more...All you do is lay a piece of paper or two (twisted) down, put a firestarter on it, lay a few small pieces of wood on, and then your regular logs. Light one, or both ends of the paper twists, and walk away. Also, they're easy to carry around and they don't break or melt quickly. they will get mushy in a hot car, but the lint holds the wax in one place.

I used to use the petroleum jelly cotton balls, but it's messy. so is the kerosene. We always have ends of candles, extra wax laying around. easy wayto use it up. Using just a candle end doesn't work well because you only get a small flame, so it takes a while to start the logs.
 

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We save paper towel and toilet paper rolls, fill in with wood shavings (large bag at walmart 5.00) and add a little melted wax..works great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Everyone has a different way of starting a fire. Whatever works for you is great!

The good thing about the wax/lint or wax/shavings firestarters, is you don't HAVE to build a great crisscross of small twigs then larger twigs, then branches, then after it's going add more...All you do is lay a piece of paper or two (twisted) down, put a firestarter on it, lay a few small pieces of wood on, and then your regular logs.
Yes, this is the situation I'm aiming for.

I'm not talking about building an occasional fire, I need to fire the wood stove almost each day in the house and in the shop, so I'd like a method that didn't require a lot of tending. The thing I like about the wax/lint in the egg carton idea is it seems I could make up a whole bunch of them at once without too much effort. I also wonder if the torn/cut edges of the egg carton sections would act as a good lighting wick.
 

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We lived in a cottage in the woods of Montana for 17 years, and heated primarily with wood. At first we thought that crumpled/twisted newspaper was great for starting fires, until someone gave us a box of commercial fire starters for Christmas one year. OH MY, what a difference! That was so easy it was almost terrible. We didn't want to buy them all the time, so here's what we ended up doing.
We would routinely go to the thrift shops, garage sales, etc and buy candles. Broken or stubby burned candles are really cheap, as are barely burned seasonal ones. Take the candles home and remelt them in an old pot, strain out the wicks and stuff like that, and re-pour into loaf pans . We did it by color, just cause thats what I liked, and about an inch thick, so it was easy to stack and store. Wax pops right out of metal molds.
We had chickens, so we bought bales of wood shavings from the farm supply store to use as bedding for the chickens. It is pretty cheap, and makes great filler for fire starters.
Got an old muffin tin, although you could probably use paper cupcake liners. We actually had several old thrift store bought muffin tins just for making fire starters. We would just fill the muffin cups about halfway with CLEAN UNUSED wood shavings, melt a chunk of wax, and cover the wood shavings, drizzled wax on and sorta stirred it up. Then when thats set add enough wax to make a little cake. We found that no wick was needed, and it works best if some ends of some of the wood shavings are exposed a little. I just lit them with a match or a lighter. You can make a lot of these really quickly, they're cute piled up in a basket, and they really work. I used one fire starter, no newspaper, a couple of smaller pieces of wood, and a few bigger pieces of wood to start a fire. By bigger wood, I mean about 20-24 " long and maybe 3-4" across, not the big manly wood that some prefer.
Thats what worked for me for many a Montana winter. I have lived in Wyoming for 9 months now, in a bigger house in town, with a furnace and a thermostat. There are some things I miss keenly at times, but hauling wood is not one of them. Right now I kinda miss my wood stove though.
Good luck!
 

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Wayne, yes, the cardboard type cartons do act like a wick. they'll light right up (sometimes takes a whole match of time tho...you need a little of uncovered fiber, either lint or cardboard, to catch fire so the wax can then feed it)

My SO loves them. I've made them in loaf pans, too, using shavings (shaving DO work better than lint, but lint is free and plentiful around this house ;) ) I put a piece of heavy aluminum down the center the long way so I have 2 fire starters...long and narrowish.

HomeinMontana...yah...hauling wood SUCKS, but wow...sitting next to that warm wood stove...nothing better! :) The muffin tins would be a great idea.
 

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for an alternative to the sawdust in the egg cup. take a cotton ball, and coat it in vaseline, most women have both for makeup removal im told. this will take even a slight spark so the match will work wonders. this will burn for some minutes and will get your kindleing lit in short order. i use these in my survival kits and in my demonstrations to survival classes that i taught for several years, taking a break from those for now but still need to get a fire started on a regular basis.


dean
 

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I've made these, using the paper egg cartons and just cutting the cups away individually as needed. I'm interested in the muffin tin idea, though, and may have to see if I still have the old warped one in the shed I left for dead years ago..

At any rate, on obtaining the wax, I got mine for free. I had a friend who worked for the local educational co-op and access to the local elementary school as well, so at the end of the school year, she'd bring me a couple of big plastic bags of the used, broken crayons the teachers would have otherwise tossed. After three years, I begged her to stop--I have a lot of these leftover still!

Anyhow, if you need free wax and know someone with ties to an elementary school, check into it--the teachers don't usually mind raking the broken bits into a bag for you. All you have to do is peel the paper (if any) and melt and use as above.

Susan
 
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