Make your own logs from paper

A wood fire is a thing of wonder but popping down the local park with an axe for firewood is frowned on by the local council so we generally have to buy logs, which can cost a bit over the course of a cold winter. 

However newspapers are made from trees and can, with a little bit of effort be turned back into something resembling a log that will burn very nicely in your woodstove.

Briquette Makers work. I have used one for many years. The process is simply to shred the paper, wet it, drop it into the briquette maker and press to squeeze out the water and create a compressed lump of paper which can then be left to dry in the shed for a month or so before use.  I have a rack (old inserts from one of those cheap mini greenhouses that you can get at a garden centre) in the top of my shed that serves the purpose.

My one gripe with all the briquette makers I have ever seen or used is that the 'handles' are a bit painful when you are trying to exert a lot of pressure on them. I would like to see some way of keeping the press under tension for a few minutes without having to use my bodyweight over my palms pushing down on some thin metal bars. 

But really, it is a small price to pay for free, environmentally friendly briquettes which would have otherwise ended up as landfill.

Once dry a paper briquette will burn beautifully, but you must give them enough time.  If you are an impatient sort then the alternative is a set of metal clips which you use to hold together a tightly rolled dry set of newspaper pages. The disadvantage is that these will eventually come apart and make a mess so we don't recommend them on open fires. Secondly the metal clips are subjected to high temperatures in a woodstove and start to disintegrate after about ten burnings, so they are not as ecologically friendly as you might suppose.

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