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Make newspapers into "firewood".

Countryside: I was hoping you could help me find a gadget that rolls newspapers into logs. Our woodstove gets installed this week. My mom said to save newspapers and roll them into logs; they worked great when she was a kid. What she didn't tell me, it's really a pain to do it. I have looked everywhere -- there's got to be one out there somewhere. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. -- A Wisconsin Reader

We tested such a device many years ago. It didn't work, we forgot about it, and haven't seen it (or anything like it) since.

Ken Scharabok suggested this method:

"If you have access to a supply of newspapers, you can use them to make fireplace or stove logs. Moisten a section at a time on both sides and tightly roll up section after section, until the log is 5-6 inches thick. Then stand them upright under cover to dry for several months. Wrapping them around and then removing them from something like a section of broom handle would allow drying from both the inside and outside. During winter just add the dried newspaper logs one at a time on top of regular logs in a fireplace or stove. After all, newspapers are made from wood fiber."

This no doubt makes very nice logs, that burn well, but we prefer an even simpler and quicker method. When we're finished with the three daily papers we get, we simply roll them up tightly into small tubes, and secure them with a cling-wrap-like product called Fat Twine. We then use these as secondary kindling, instead of on top of regular logs.

The old tried-and-true method was to secure the logs with thin wire. I didn't want to fish wires out of the ashes ... and I certainly didn't want them getting caught in the moveable grate of our Clayton wood furnace, our main source of heat. You would think that the Fat Twine would melt or burn even before the paper ignites, and the rolls would come apart, but that hasn't happened, at least in our experience.

Another method was suggested by Laura and Bob Jamieson, who homestead in the Shetland Isles (Britain's most northerly group of islands). They sent plans for a simple "newspaper crusher." It consists of two planks hinged together with about 9 inches of tread cut from an old tire. Wet newspapers are rolled into logs, then crushed. (Picture a giant nutcracker.)

I don't know what you mean when you say it's a pain, because for me, it's easier than the alternative: cutting wood and splitting it into kindling (or gathering and drying sticks and small branches) ... and then stacking and bundling the newspapers and hauling them to the recycling center.
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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 1999
Words:458
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