View Full Version : Paper Log Makers

Senior Paper Monitor
22nd Jul 2011, 09:30
Spurred on by thoughts of Winter - and ever spiralling fuel costs (oil central heating and an open log/coal fire) the Director of Money has instructed me to obtain one of these paper log manufacturing devices.

While I know she doesn't make mistakes - I am not too sure whether the mess and labour involved will not be offset by an effective real log replacement/suppliment.

Anyone tried these things with any success.

We have a pretty good supply of shredded waste paper (and possibly wood chippings and sawdust which I gather can be mixed in with improved results)

22nd Jul 2011, 09:38
Anyone tried these things with any successMy next door neighbour. But then, she has acres of land (over which to sun-dry them), a huge triple garage (in which to make the mess), and she doesn't need to work for a living. She has half her garage occupied with half a dozen plastic/rubber trugs with the paper/water mixture soaking.

It really does look like a lot of effort, time and space for little return.

Me? I burn anything in my stove. Keep your ear to the ground and listen out for anyone chopping down a tree in their garden or chucking out old timber.



22nd Jul 2011, 10:15
When I had a wood stove I tried this for a short while. When the novelty wore off I found that the time and energy expended in making the wretched things was much better expended in foraging for scrap demolition timber, which gave off far more heat when burned.

22nd Jul 2011, 10:20
He who cuts his own wood, warms himself twice.

Standard Noise
22nd Jul 2011, 10:33
Indeed Radz, but remember, he who owns a Border Collie need not collect his own firewood.:ok: He may, however, run out of storage room in the summer!:(

Although the 'paper brick' idea is one way of dealing with junk mail.

Lon More
22nd Jul 2011, 11:10
I bought one once when we had to pay for old paper to be taken away. Let buckets of paper soak for a week then spent a couple of days making the blocks.
They took several months to dry out, if the paper had not been correctly mixed they tended to fall apart, didn't give off a great deal of heat and we found that you could easily consume a week's work in one evening.
A resounding http://www.sherv.net/cm/emo/funny/1/farting_smiley.gif

22nd Jul 2011, 11:19
@ whirls:eek::eek::eek:

Me? I burn anything in my stove.

take care there whirls!
somethings are just not safe to put into fires, ie,plastics,(carrier bags etc).styrofoam cartons,give of toxin's like dioxin,and a host of other nasties which aren't safe to breath.

22nd Jul 2011, 11:49
Thanks for that purplehelmet ... is arsenic and lead based painted wood OK? What about a couple of old motorcycle batteries? And the dead mice and rats the cats bring in? :}



22nd Jul 2011, 12:02
sorry whirls, didnt mean to be derogatory.
its just that the x mol, used to put anything and everything on her coal/wood burning fire in the living room, i used to dive outside for fresh air until the thick black smoke and rancid smell had gone.

22nd Jul 2011, 12:15

somethings are just not safe to put into fires, ie,plastics,(carrier bags etc).

I sorry but this is very wrong information.

Carrier bags are generally made from HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) which is a mix of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Some types may have slip agents added. They are perfectly safe to burn provided you have a decent fire. Probably the greatest danger is from CO through incomplete combustion.

Similarly, plastic bottles may be compressed and burned. They are normally made from PET (Polyethylene Tetra Chloride).

Both have a similar calorific output to brown coal or peat on combustion.

Edited to add:

I cannot speak for other plastics however, if there are problems with fumes from a fire, I would suggest looking at the flue system. I used to have a log burner when I lived in the Alps. I could burn anything on it; high temps combusted lots of improbable stuff and kept waste to a minimum. Fumes were not a problem.

Dark Star
22nd Jul 2011, 13:03
PET is Polyetheleneterepthalate which contains Carbon Oxygen and Hydrogen (no Chlorine)

22nd Jul 2011, 13:22
thanks lars, i stand corrected.

22nd Jul 2011, 13:24
This homesteading forum has a discussion from a bunch of people who have tried it. It should turn your Director of Money off the idea nicely ;)

Rolling my Own - newspaper logs that is: help [Archive] - Homesteading Today (http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/archive/index.php/t-216209.html)

The best idea (as in least work) seems to tightly roll the newspaper, tie with wire, then soak in a saltpetre (Potassium nitrate) solution. Once dry the saltpetre stops the log from going out. Upon heating to temperatures above 560 C, it decomposes into potassium nitrite, generating oxygen:

2 KNO3 → 2 KNO2 + O2

So the released extra oxygen into the paper layers prevents the log from snuffing itself out.

22nd Jul 2011, 13:35
Got one for the maiden aunt some years ago. She used to spend hours soaking the paper and compressing it. I don't believe she ever got any heat out of the things worth a damn. In the end she gave it me for the "come in handy" box. Used one of the handles last week for a metal-bashing job.

Do as the others have said. Forget this. Keep an eye open for scrap wood in skips as you drive around, and scrounge it. Near here is a place that makes wooden bannister parts. They have loads of offcuts. They burn it themselves in the winter to keep the factory heated, but give it away in the summer. Find a place like this near you and stock up now.


22nd Jul 2011, 13:42
I a vain attempt to appear 'green' I was given one for Xmas. What a palaver. By the time you have finished making the bricks, you are nice and warm and do not need to burn them. However, if you persevere, you need to find somewhere to dry the wretched things, and when you eventually burn them they do not give out any heat. It is much better to use old paper to line the Chicken house - which is what the memsahib came up with next...

22nd Jul 2011, 14:06
[QUOTE]PET is Polyetheleneterepthalate which contains Carbon Oxygen and Hydrogen (no Chlorine) /QUOTE]

You are, of course, correct. May I claim a senior moment? :p

green granite
22nd Jul 2011, 14:30
If you're a gardener it's better to shed the paper and mix it in the compost heap.

22nd Jul 2011, 15:10
This brings back memories of trying to keep warm when we had bought our first house and were struggling with a huge mortgage. I had a wood burner stove with a water jacket and a pump which provided all the hot water and heat for the radiators. I used to go out with my chainsaws and cut down diseased elm trees that had been killed by Dutch Elm, a friend had a very old grey Ferguson tractor with a big trailer and we used to split the logs between us. It must have been over twenty five years ago but I reckoned it cost me 11 a winter for as much heat and hot water as I could use. :ok:

DX Wombat
22nd Jul 2011, 15:44
Similarly, plastic bottles may be compressed .....A task thoroughly enjoyed by Welsh Sheepdogs. ;) Their efforts make transportation of these items to the recycling bin much easier than the uncompressed versions as they take up much less space. :)
Noisy, how do you fancy setting up a cottage industry supplying combustible items? Max can collect the wood and my two will deal with the plastic bottles. Might prove quite profitable. ;)

Standard Noise
22nd Jul 2011, 21:31
Sounds like a plan DX. I have a shipment ready, spare wheelie bin is overflowing, shed is full (Mrs N is a little annoyed at that, she has trouble getting the gardening stuff out of it), and I've started lobbing sticks over the back fence onto the riverbank, although they'll be easy enough to retrieve. Oh, and did I mention that we have a mini bonfire stashed under the hedge in the front garden?

I could, on the other hand, just build myself a log cabin with it all.:)

22nd Jul 2011, 22:32
He who cuts his own wood, warms himself twice


Paper log makers seem to consume a lot of effort, time, and paper for the heat they produce, but if you've got the time, go for it.

My 'eld fella's got one, but then again, he has time to write to the daily blah when they get the crossword wrong.

They do seem to burn quite well- slow but hot. Agree with green granite, get'em on the compost heap to balance the nitrogen. More of a log man me'self....

lights from Poundland

22nd Jul 2011, 22:55
Although the 'paper brick' idea is one way of dealing with junk mail.

Nah, it isn't. Most junk mail paper doesn't burn very well at all. I sort my paper waste into burnable (cardboard and non-glossy papers) and unburnable (anything shiny). The former goes in the stove as a spring and autumn fire-starter; the latter goes in the recycling bin.

The log-maker has been languishing in a barn for about eight years waiting to be welded ...:zzz:

22nd Jul 2011, 23:15
When I had a log stove I found that log merchants were right up there with estate agents, politicians, journalists and the like.

"I've got a lovely load ready to go. Been cut 2 years - well and truly seasoned"

Logs duly arrive, complete with green leaves still on them, probably cut after I ordered them. In the stove they spit and sizzle and give off as much heat as the aforementioned paper bricks. Scrap pitch pine on the other hand burns like crazy - I burned some on full draught as an experiment and got my sitting room up to 92F!

23rd Jul 2011, 15:31
Me dad used to bring back logs of pitch pine after Swan Hunters had put a ship in the river - he said they were part of the props and blocks on the ways and got taken into the river when the ship launched. When he was setting the fire, he would do a bit of feathering with a sharp blade before lighting - taking away the need to scrunch up the Daily Mirror/Evening Chronicle.

23rd Jul 2011, 17:06
I've just stripped a local 1930s bungalow of pitch pine joists, purlins and rafters... I am in such a quandary - I want to build with the stuff but cost of firewood dictates the other avenue.

Fabulous product.

Incidentally, the craftsmanship while making this roof was exceptional; exquisitely mitred and builder's initials carved in relief. Coastal location - maybe a moonlighting boat builder. Shames modern chippies.

23rd Jul 2011, 23:01
"I've got a lovely load ready to go. Been cut 2 years - well and truly seasoned"

A moisture meter could be your best friend.

Failing that, stick it in t' greenhouse now (open a window) and should be right for christmas :)

The spittin' stuff just messes up 'ya flu.

james ozzie
24th Jul 2011, 08:58
Checkboard wrote:

"The best idea (as in least work) seems to tightly roll the newspaper, tie with wire, then soak in a saltpetre (Potassium nitrate) solution. Once dry the saltpetre stops the log from going out. Upon heating to temperatures above 560 C, it decomposes into potassium nitrite, generating oxygen"

As a youngster, I used to make simple rockets like this. The newspaper burns steadily and is ideal when rolled into a tubular fuel element. But the biggest problem I had was drying the newspaper fuel lump - it would take days, even in tropcal heat. So we soon realised it had to be dried as unrolled sheets. (as an aside, with the impatience of youth, we took to drying them under the cooker grill with frequent accidental ignitions!)

The point of this contribution to the discussion is that it will be almost impossible to dry a saltpetre soaked lump and if you do, you are likely to have a very nasty and uncontrollable conflagration when you light it!

24th Jul 2011, 10:17
Get yourself a good heavy duty shredder, to shred cardboard, junk mail etc.. I cannot see the sense in throwing away fuel, then buy in gas or oil.

I have found the best presses are the hydraulic ones, available on ebay. The very common non hydraulic presses that are available are not that good.

Use newspaper/cardboard/junk mail etc., soaked for a short period then mixed with a bulking agent such as saw dust, leaves, lawn clippings, etc., etc. Leave to soak. Press, then leave to dry in a green house.

The bricks will burn for 2 hours on average.

The gas board hate me!!