Question for the firebugs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mountaineer, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Excluding a burning tire......
    How do you start fire in a pile of wet wood (2x4's, pallets, brush etc)?
    It seems like people are burning wet piles all over but I've never seen how they do it. I've used regular gas with little success.
    And being on a pasture, any trick to picking up nails/staples etc?
    THANKS if you can help.
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    The easiest way to burn a big wet pile is to start small. Pick a spot on the upwind side of the pile and BUILD a small fire just like youd build a campfire. Pine needles make a great fire starting material. Once its lit, keep adding small sticks or boards until youve got a good base fire going. If youve picked your starting spot well, it will dry and spread into the bigger pile. Patience is needed to burn big wet piles. It's tempting to try and light it all at once, but it seldom works. Flammable liquds are too dangerous, but if you resort to them use kerosene instead of gas. Its less likely to explode.

    A large magnet will pick up lots of nails, but unless you drive there a lot Id just let them rust away. They wont last long after being burned. Maybe throw some dirt over the spot to help the process
     

  3. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sprayer full of diesel and leaf blower after it gets going. Put some leaves or needles down, light them, douse everything with diesel to get it going. Use the leaf blower on idle to start it really burning. Once the water gets heated out of the wet wood, the rest will go.
     
  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are forgeting about hardware disease. Most hardware stores or lumberyards sell magnets designed to pick up nails at building sites.
     
  5. KoehlerHills

    KoehlerHills Western Wisconsin

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    We use our burnt out motor oil for starting wet wood. Even then, like mentioned earlier patience is still required....start small. We usually have newspapers and cardboard on hand to keep fire going as most times if your "big" wood is wet so is your kindling wood/starter wood/leaves/ etc.... ya need to get a good hot starter fire going first.
    We've burnt alot of stuff with nails and hardware in it and I agree with the others. Once all is burnt and after a day or two go out and rake area, wheel barrow or 5 gallon bucket works good for depositing in, then use a magnet. Its usually pretty dirt work so dress appropriatley. Have fun! ;-)
     
  6. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    Gas is too dagerous, and it is too volatile. It will burn too fast to be effective. Use diesel fuel or kerosene. And as the other poster said, it works well in a pump up type garden sprayer. Just keep spraying a little ino the bottom of the pile. It might take awhile, but it will work.
     
  7. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Several good tips here. One thing I've done is take several old feed sacks, and soak them good in diesel fuel. Put them in different spots around the pile and light them.

    You can use old burlap bags or paper feed bags. Either will work.
     
  8. horselogger

    horselogger Well-Known Member

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    propane weed burner...I regularly burn green slash as a warming fire....get <a good bed of coals...then keep adding bigger chunks
     
  9. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you use gas you're playing with fire! :rolleyes:
     
  10. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Great ideas here, thanks for all your help! I will be picking up the nails etc, so a big magnet will do the trick, I think my brother has one.
     
  11. Betho

    Betho Well-Known Member

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    my father in law soaks sawdust in diesel fuel and stores it in big ziplock bags. It works really well. Also dry pine needles, especially if you can find a dead pine tree with the dry (orange) needles still on the dead branches, that stuff is what dh calls "nature's gasoline."

    a leafblower will help with a big fire but if you are starting small, a hollow arrow shaft works excellent as a blower - you can position it to where you want to add oxygen and blow at the pressure you want.
     
  12. Farmerwilly2

    Farmerwilly2 Well-Known Member

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    I'll second the old crankcase oil. I like it for oiling tools and starting fires, works dandy on burning out stumps.
     
  13. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you need a really strong magnet get an old stereo speaker and take it apart. They have some real strong ones in them.
     
  14. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    FarmerWilly,

    What technique do you use with the oil and the stump?
     
  15. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    I soak an old towel or rag in kerosene or diesel. And build my wood pile around it. A soaked rag will burn over ten minutes. If you need it to burn longer use bigger or more rags. (You want them balled up) Or you can pore a coffee can full and leave the rag hanging over the side, so it can wick the fuel up.

    You no i never thought about it or tried it before. But id bet it to work pretty good on stumps.
    You could just tack the end of the rag to the side of the stump, and drop the other end in a can full of fuel for a long burn time. Guessing that would take out a pretty good size chunk at a time. :shrug:

    Best way Ive found to burn stumps is to dig under them and set/build your fire.
     
  16. Sammy

    Sammy Well-Known Member

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    You should NEVER use gasoline on a fire. KaBoom !!! :nono:
     
  17. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, THESE stumps are in the side yard close to the house. One is ash and one maple. They both exceed 36" in diameter. I was planning to put planters on them until they age quite a bit, but wonder how long it would take to burn a stump that size with oil? I have lots of used motor oil.(change my own, and the Dodge takes 11 quarts a change)
     
  18. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the spirit of being 'all natural' try the soft stuff on a cedar tree between the bark and the actual wood.
     
  19. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    I recently burnt a very large stack of pallets 5 rows worth in a downpour (only safe time because of where it was )
    I put about a bundle worth of old wood shakes against the front stack along with a few more shake shoved into the pallets a cup od kerosene and a lighter.
    worked great the shakes made enough heat to dry and start the first row and in turn by the time it was nearly burnt completely down the next row would start.
    Old shakes will start anything :)
     
  20. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "The soft stuff." Do you mean the peeling bark from the outside of a red ceder? I can get that, no problem...