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  1. ironguy

    ironguy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    41
    Hi Everyone,

    We are pretty new to wood stoves and really appreciate having such a knowledge base as this to help us with our questions.

    I'm wondering if anyone can tell me, do homemade fire starters such as egg carton cells packed with sawdust and petroleum jelly create more creosote than if you start your fires with plain old newspaper? It seems that a petroleum product like that could create that real sticky black smoke that I'd imagine would best be avoided. But those starters seem to be pretty popular. So I'm wondering what you all think. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,764
    Loc:
    Michigan
    It won't be the fire starters that cause creosote. It will be from burning wood that is not dry enough.

    If you'd like to try some really great fire starters, look up NWfuels on this forum and ask for some samples of his Super Cedars. Or look up Super Cedars using Google. Contact him and ask for some samples. When you get them, break them into quarters rather than using the whole piece so that you get 4 starters out of one. These things work really great and Thomas is also a sponsor on hearth.com.
    tfdchief, blujacket, raybonz and 2 others like this.
  3. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I like my homemade fatwood starters that I made from antique pine barn beam cutoffs this past fall. I took the heartwood out of several cutoff ends (which was loaded with pitch), split them into slivers the size of pencils, cut them in half and packed a couple big boxes full of them. They work great. One match to light them and they take off furiously, and last around 3 or 4 minutes.... I have made some out of wax and sawdust before (it was a tradition at our camp) but made these this year on a whim as the material was there to do it. I have enough to last me 10 to 12 years!

    2012-11-12_16-12-31_107.jpg 2012-11-12_16-13-43_199.jpg 2012-11-12_16-27-58_627.jpg
  4. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    Supercedars are great. When you have no budget (like me) you can melt candle ends and pour over sawdust into cardboard egg cups. Free/recycled firestarters by the dozen. :)
  5. ironguy

    ironguy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    41
    Thanks for the replies. I think the super cedars look real nice, but I'll probably experiment with making my own fire starters first. I'm a woodworker, so I have tons of sawdust. I made some of those egg carton starters that are filled with sawdust and vaseline---I would have used wax but didn't have enough. The vaseline ones burn like crazy, but are messy, and I noticed the smoke they produce is especially dark; which led me to ask about them here. My next batch will definitely be with wax.

    That barn wood pitch pine looks like a great find.
    ScotO likes this.
  6. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Look at thrift stores and at yard sales for candles, you get get them for near no cost at all.......save them up all year long and make your firestarters in the fall. For "sawdust", I save up the noodles (slivers from the chainsaw) when I rip crotches or big rounds with the saw (cutting WITH the grain). I dry those slivers out on a black tarp in the summer sun and pack them in boxes in the loft of my barn. They work GREAT as tinder for starting a flint or friction fire too!

    I cut a toilet paper tube in half (the leftover cardboard tube when the paper is used up), pack it full of those slivers, and dip the one end in melted wax. They make fantastic firestarters! Haven't made any this year due to having made up all those fatwood starters or I'd show you one (no pics).
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    6,205
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    I am a Super Cedar fan here.. I cut them into 1/6th's or 1/8th's so they go a long ways and make firestarting easy ;) As mentioned Super Cedar supports Hearth.com and they are good people that help others.. I fully support them.

    Ray
  8. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley - Northeastern MA
    I started using the super cedars this past fall and absolutely love them! I do what backwoods savage does and split each puck into quarters which works quite well. They burn very hot and last long enough to get a good fire going with a few small splits. Nice not having to rummage around looking for kindling or having to store a bunch for your next fire start. I always seemed to run out of kindling inside my house at the worst possible time - like 4:30am when it's 10 degrees outside. A few small splits loaded the right way with 1/4 super cedar is now all it takes to get a cold start going if there are not enough coals.
    corey21, Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  9. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    723
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    I like the super cedars ,I ordered 25 and they sent me 30,good company good product,on the rare occasion I need one they've never failed me by far the best I've ever used.All orders are shipped quickly.
    corey21, Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  10. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    I emptied the cross cut paper shredder at the office (only white copy and printer paper in there) and tightly packed 3 ounce Dixie cups with the shredded paper about half way full. I picked up all the old candles at the local thrift stores and melted them on the stove top in a double boiler, then put about 1 1/2 ounces of wax in each cup, enough to just cover the shredded paper. These are ridiculously easy to light, burn about ten minutes, and will light up 2x4 pine lumber without any need for kindling. I don't engage the cat for at least 15 minutes when using these so that the wax does not affect the cat. These are very cheap to put together.
    firebroad likes this.
  11. Nyquil Junkie

    Nyquil Junkie Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Loc:
    SW PA
    supercedars rock, a quarter of a puck is enough to start most fires. I love em.
    I ran out a while ago and bought a case of "envoro-logs" I thought I would cut them into pucks but I discovered they are not sawdust logs but compressed waxed paper box shreds.... you cant cut em but you can break hunks off them, and they burn really hot. You end up with a pile of waxy paper board chips for a starter, but thats good, it gets more air and burns even hotter.

    but supercedars are better. No question.
  12. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Nov 18, 2011
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    1,486
    Loc:
    Carroll County, MD
    Scotty, I have to say it, you are just a WONDER of ingenuity!!
  13. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,486
    Loc:
    Carroll County, MD
    If you have a band saw, you can slice them into half inch disks, then break them up into quarters. I had a friend with a wood shop do that for me with two cartons. I was concerned that it would gum up his saw, but he assured me it didn't. I even made some patties out of the waxy "sawdust".
    I agree about the supercedars, if you've got the cash, they ROCK.
  14. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,134
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm a woodworker too, and I find that a handful of thin tablesaw offcut scraps on top of a crumpled sheet of newspaper works great. The Duraflame starters I got as a gift are terrible. Super Cedars are great, but with small kiln-dried scrap available I don't see the need for them or for fiddling around with sawdust and wax, either.
  15. Nyquil Junkie

    Nyquil Junkie Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Loc:
    SW PA
    BBQ lighter fluid used to be my starter of choice, but it go more exoensive than using supercedars or enviro log chips.

    You cant beat BBQ fluid for instant fire. lol
  16. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Carroll County, MD
    :eek:
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    You can't violate your stove warranty or common sense much quicker than that. This is really a bad idea and completely unnecessary.
    corey21, gyrfalcon, raybonz and 2 others like this.
  18. smokeater

    smokeater Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    45
    Loc:
    western canada
    Nothing against you my friend but be prepared,unless you use super cedars or make your own you will feel the wrath of most of the posters on here.
    ScotO likes this.
  19. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I don't know about that, FB. But thank you very much for the compliment! I do it more out of necessity than anything, but I DO enjoy being self sufficient and figuring out alternative ways to do things. I'll share those things on here in the hopes I can help someone else out.....
    raybonz likes this.
  20. joescho

    joescho Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    359
    Loc:
    Northeastern PA
    Ya know there's a few ideas in here that may be worth a "how to" page or an ideas page or something along those lines.

    I for one do it the lazy man's way. I have 3 tubs of bark, grass, wood chips, etc.. left from the wood pile that I rake up in the summer. I just toss it in and its so dry it lights instantly. Then use small pieces to get it going.
    rideau and ScotO like this.
  21. whodaman

    whodaman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Messages:
    59
    Loc:
    Lexington, OH
    I'm new to wood burning and I think homemade kindling and newspaper work great. I just got a wood stove and thought it was going to be difficult, but if you use lots of kindling and some newspaper, it gets going really fast. Look for ads on craigslist of scrap wood, like pine or end pieces from projects. I once lived in a neighborhood where they were building houses and they threw a ton of scrap wood in the dumpsters and at night I would dive :) just make sure its not treated lumber or anything like that. I just cut very small pieces of kindling then put them in a 5 gallon bucket and bring them inside to dry out for a couple days. I also bought a box of FATWOOD 10lb for like $17 bucks. One little stick of fatwood works awesome, but I saw some black stuff dripping from the sticks as it was burning and I didn't care for that too much.I would stick to newspaper and kindling :)
  22. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Messages:
    744
    Loc:
    Meadow Valley, CA
    You can ask for free samples of Super Cedar, they are amazing....but like Scotty my kindling looks a lot like his...but with super dry cedar strips. they take off like a bat outta hell
    ScotO likes this.
  23. Jean-Claude

    Jean-Claude New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    Loc:
    Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia
    I buy starters at the Dollarama stores (Canada), 16 squares of wax and wood waste for $1 gets cut down into halves and one piece will start a conventional kindling fire or a stack of biobricks.
  24. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    647
    Loc:
    Central Maryland
    Mix your sawdust with lamp oil. Cleaner burning than vaseline. Some folks just make up a coffee can and use a spoonful to light the fire. I roll mine into ...well...tiny little cigars, let's say. It takes surprisingly little lamp oil to make. I've been using these for several years after trying all the wax and other usual ideas.
    [​IMG]
    ETA: Forgot to mention that the oil is not expensive because it only takes a couple teaspoons per batch of firestarters. A small bottle lasts long; costs maybe $5.
    BobUrban and ScotO like this.
  25. soupy1957

    soupy1957 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,361
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    Dryer lint and some splinters of wood, followed by graduated sizes of wood, works.

    -soupy1957
    Scols, corey21 and ScotO like this.

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