We’ve already told you how to get free or cheap wood to burn in your wood burning stove, but if you don’t want to go through the effort of that or you’re simply finding it hard to find any decent burning wood in your area then there is another way. It’s possible to make your own briquettes, or paper logs, and it’s a lot easier than you think.
Making your own briquettes is not just a way to save money but it also helps the environment too. All that waste paper than your home accumulates on a monthly basis can be put to some good use instead of getting wasted or ‘apparently’ sent off to a recycling plant. You need to be careful when selecting what paper to use though; glossy magazines could produce toxic smoke if burnt because of all the wax and ink that goes into making them. Newspaper is normally made from vegetable dyes so remains safe to burn, while bits of cardboard, envelopes and sheets of paper will also be fine. If in doubt don’t use it, although sometimes the paper will tell you somewhere on it what it is made from.
Firstly you need to wet the paper you’ve gathered. Fill up your sink or a bucket and dip in the wads of paper you want to use for a few seconds. This compresses the paper far better than you’d be able to do with dry paper, which will increase the length of the burn you get from your finished briquettes.
Your sodden paper now needs to be compressed into a log shape. This is best down by purchasing a briquette maker but there are ways to still make them without one. Briquette makers are a simple to use piece of equipment that comes in the same of a box with two handles attached. You insert your paper into the box and push down on the handles. This in turn compresses the pulp inside and squeezes out all the water, making a briquette that should be around the size of a standard house brick. Easy!
You can pick up briquette makers and briquette holders for a relatively cheap price.
Unfortunately we now have to play the waiting game, but this is unavoidable if you want to get briquettes that are actually going to be useful. They take quite a long time to dry thoroughly and you should probably wait up to 3 months before using them. It should be noted that this is at least shorter than the time that fresh wood takes to season, and if you make a good number before hand – and keep adding to it throughout the months – then you should always have a ready supply of briquettes that will get a nice burn. Store them in a cool dry place until ready for use.
After you’ve enjoyed a nice long relaxation session in front of your paper log burning wood burning stove make sure to gather all the ashes up. We’ve given you 9 uses for these wood ashes before, and it makes it the ultimate in recycling waste when you combine it with making your own briquettes.
Paper logs image by Aaron Tang on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.