(photo courtesy of traybellakc.blogspot.com)
I have found that this IS NOT even close to being as efficient as some good dried hardwood…or even softer woods like Pine. However that being said most if not all of us are constantly getting reams of junk mail and newspapers in our mail box and dropped on our door. Im sure you can also easily get this from your friends and neighbors who will be MORE THAN HAPPY to offload this. It makes a neat little project and also offers you the ability to ‘create’ your own heat. In hard times im sure it will be harder to find, but you may be able to find large amounts laying around even in hard times.
Just something to take note of and stick away in your brain, another tool in the toolbox.
- Large (or small depending on how much you want to make) amounts of newspaper/Junk Mail
*Be aware that some of the junk mail/magazines that come in that have the “coated” heavy shiny paper can burn quite badly with thick black smoke, so try to avoid those.*
- Large bin to soak the paper in, something like a rubbermaid tote will work great (Sink can work as well, but doing it outside is better and cleaner)
- Cotton Twine/String. This can be other types of twine like Jute, just not anything poly based (it has to burn!)
Get your newspapers and/or junk mail and soak them, not to the point where the more weaker newspaper falls apart, but get it wet/soaked
Hang the paper out to drip dry on a line, or wherever you can hang it. You only need to do this for a few seconds to a minute, the goal is just to let the excess water drip off, not dry it out.
Roll the Paper. Now looser rolls means it will burn faster, tighter means it will burn longer. After you roll the first bit, put it on top of another amount of paper and roll that into it, until you get the size of the log you want. Now you can roll quite a bit each time, but don’t try to do too much or it will be a mess and a pain in the butt, this is just a learning curve issue, you’ll figure it out after the first few logs.
Once you have the size you want keep a hand on the roll so it doesn’t unravel, and use the twine/string to tie it securely (both ends and middle). Set it somewhere to dry, let it sit for a day or so (depending on how large it is). Stand it up so one end is up and one is down. Sunny, Dry, Windy locations work best.
Now some of the paper may develop mold on it, so you can lay it on a rack if you want to avoid that.
Now just start your fire as normal and throw some of these logs on!