Winter is on it’s way, for some of you sooner than others. We are in the “others” category. It’s almost Halloween and it was in the mid 80s today. None-the-less, the night time temperatures are dropping, and the forecast shows that the inevitable is on it’s way…cold days. I’m not complaining.
However, my family complains every time I try to get a nice fire going in the fireplace and we wind up smoking the house up. It kind of defeats the purpose of a roaring fire by having to open all the windows so we can breathe. There is only one cure: a really hot fire.
When you really get the flames going, the heat allows for a more complete and clean burn of your wood. So there’s the rub, how do you get a good hot fire when you don’t have a fire going, yet? I have a solution. Finally.
No doubt you have seen something similar to the fire starters I have made. Much of the time, though, I have seen them made with things that don’t really work well. Pinecones are a common one, but the reality is that pinecones don’t actually burn readily. It kind of makes sense, if you think about it. Pinecones are where the seeds are, so having them be readily flammable just doesn’t work out in a survival kind of way. And what do you do if you don’t have pine cones handy anyway?
My fire “bombs” are made with things you very likely have on hand, or can readily get. I really hate DIY projects that need materials I would never have anyway, for projects that are so useless I wouldn’t even bother with, for results that don’t even come out right. I won’t waste your time. These get a hot fire going in seconds, burn cleanly, and quickly. No more smoky house, no more smoky campfires.
Materials & Instructions:
- wax (finally, all those candles from the 90’s have a use!)
- shredded paper (finally, all those credit card offers and other junk mail have a use!)
- egg carton (finally, all those cartons have a use! Cardboard type only, no Styrofoam or plastic!)
As you can see from the pictures, I had A LOT of old candles. Some were broken, some just nubs left over. Some had never been used and were 20 years old, so really, come on. Some of it was old paraffin disks from jelly jars, even the wax from cheese and old crayons. Whatever you have, place in a pot over medium-low heat and gently melt them down. You could also just use paraffin wax that you can find at the grocery store. You will want to have some ventilation as that much wax will produce a lot of fumes. Once melted, turn off the heat and set aside.
If you have a folding egg carton, cut off the lid and set aside. Get a small handful of shredded paper and wad it up into a ball. Stuff the ball into one of the slots in the egg carton. Repeat until your entire egg carton is filled.
Place the egg carton onto the lid, or another sheet of cardboard, and place that onto a metal pan. You will want a few layers of protection because the hot wax will seep through. Pour about 2-3 Tablespoons of hot wax over each of the paper wads. Try to drizzle it around to cover the paper shreds all over. Allow the wax to cool completely and then cut apart each egg well.
When using your fire starters, place one or two in your fireplace or fire pit and arrange small pieces of wood around and over them. Keep an opening available that you can reach your firebombs with a match or lighter. Light one of the corners of the cardboard and watch it go. The wax allows the firebombs to burn for a long time, ensuring that your wood will get a good, hot start.
Leftover wax can be poured into something like a pie-tin and then cooled. Strain out any wicks and other chunks. I kept whatever looked useful because who knows, I might get creative. Once it’s hardened, it can be easily popped out and stored for later use.
Cleaning up is not too hard. Immediately after you are finished with any of your equipment, wipe it off with paper towels before the wax cools. Be careful as it will still be hot. The pot and utensils can then be washed normally and the paper towels can be used as additional fire starters.