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Home Fire Prest-Logs

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by begreen, Nov 30, 2006.

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  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    With the artic blast coming and basic curiosity about the heat content of compressed sawdust, I picked up a couple packages of two different, no-wax, pressed logs available locally. One was High Energy filelogs by Western Oregon Wood Products (WOW Pellets) and the other something called Home Fire Prest Logs. The HE firelogs were selling for $5.49, the Home Fire Prest-Logs (HFPL) sold at the local grocery for $6.59. Each came in a package (or box) of 6 logs @ 5lbs each. - Warning, At least one stove manufacturer is now recommending these logs not be used in their woodstoves. Read on to find out why...

    The WOW HE firelogs are round, about 3 1/4" diam. by about 14" long. They burned about as I remembered for a competing product. Good initial burn, then they expand like a big cigar ash and burn up the flakes. Kind of like a giant pellet. Total burn time about 2 hrs. Two logs on a hot coal bed gave a stove top peak temp about 625 with regulation (damper down to maximize secondary burn). Then I got about another hour at around 400 degrees. There was a moderate amount of ash left over.

    The HFPL logs are very different. They are about 3 3/4" diam. by 9.5" long and have a flat bottom to prevent rolling. Each package comes with a large fire starter block. They look like a dark pellet and feel solid. The package shows a recommended set up of 4 logs, two on a base with the starter in between and two on top, place at 90 deg. to the bottom logs. I tested in a warm stove with a coal bed and just tried 3 logs, 2 on the bottom and one on top. About 10 minutes later the logs were fully aflame. And I mean burning hot. The stove interior was a ball of flames and the stove top temp was climbing fast. At 650 I shut the air control all the way off, but the secondary action was super. There was a tense moment or two there where I was wondering if I had a runaway. But the stove reached and stayed at 700 on stovetop, 550 in the flue and burned pure hot secondaries for about 30 minutes. I'm really glad I didn't try the recommended 4 logger! ~ This is why Elk is so insistent on a proper installation and why I was glad ours was safe and we have a clean chimney. ~

    Anyhow, this is also where it got very interesting. After they shot their initial wad, the logs settled down into a steady burning glow and the stovetop dropped down to a more reasonable 600 degrees. I went back to work, checking on the stove every 30 minutes. Stove held temperature and kept so for about 2 hrs. After that it gradually dropped down to 450 and held that for another 2 hrs. I went in with the poker and found to my surprise that the logs didn't flake at all. Instead they were more like a piece of coal. Very solid and gradually shrinking. I kid you not, the coal continued to glow and burn right up until I went to bed. I tried another 2 logs (much safer with my stove) at about 10 pm the next night on top of a full bed of hot coals. There were still 2 nice sized (about 1.25" diam x 4") hot glowing coals the next morning. Stove temp was about 150 and there was very little ash produced. The manufacturer claims a total 12 hr. burn time and I'd say that is about right. The coals after about 9 hrs are getting small, but still glowing and giving off a lot of heat for their size.

    I learned a lot with this experiment. 1) when working with fire, take small steps and proceed with caution 2) I understand Jotul's caveat now. There is an enormous difference in products on the market. Some can put out a daunting amount of heat. 3) Don't always follow package instructions on the first try, be conservative 4) Some products are indeed very different.

    Needless to say I'm really impressed with this product. They make these logs with a patented high-heat extrusion process. I was skeptical at first but this is really an exceptional and different little energy bundle. Once they get burning they are more like a characol briquette, though log shaped and with less ash. I've sent an inquiry to the company to find out about their pallet quantity dealers.


    http://www.wowpellets.com/p_firelogs.shtml
    http://www.homefirelogs.com

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Very good information and post BG. Very interesting.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    They are intersting. I'm enquiring to get more information on HomeFires. I would also like to know if they have done any emissions testing. They seems to burn very cleanly. It appears the sawdust has gone under a physical and chemical change by being extruded under high heat (400 deg.) and pressure. The company says they have some logs that are 19 years old and have not gained appreciable moisture. This may become my backup fuel if they have a good pallet price.
  4. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    BG. You now need to try the 8lb log. I will be happy to give you some when your over my way. Your test sounds right for that product.

    Thomas

    Oh yea, I see you used your hot coals to start them. What about that firestarter?
  5. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    Wow - more than twice as dense as OAK !!! The stuff actually sinks in water. They are not just compressing sawdust into log shapes... they are compressing the actual cells and fibers of the wood!!!
  6. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    BeGreen, can you Wiki this?

    Also, anybody else who has tested a manufactured log brand should also contribute

    1) their stove type
    2) how many logs they loaded & in what fashion
    3) what teperatures they saw
    4) how long the logs gave off appreciable heat

    The point here is not to brag about how good your product is, but to advise potential users how to burn the logs safely.
  7. sstanis

    sstanis New Member

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    Hey guys, Loved reading your discussion on the compressed fire logs. I have researched these things entirely and if I could would love to get my hands on these things at a good price. I currently burn a Hearthstone heritage in a 1900 sq ft house with decent insulation R38 in attic, R19 in walls. Mind you house built in 1813. Have electrical resistance, wish the former owner when he tore down the walls to put up sheetrock had placed an electric heat pump.

    However, to get to my retort, I am a resident physician and work 90+ hrs/week. When I leave in the morning, always have a coal bed to reload, but by 1pm to 2pm the electric baseboard kicks in until I get home at 9pm. So would love a compressed log that I could load to the gills, damper down, and at least have the burn go until 4pm to 5pm. Remember electric is expensive. Problem is that none of the dealers in my area carry these logs. I live in putnam/westchester NY. The nearest dealerthat I can get Bio-bricks is one hour away. Home Cheapo carries the enviro-log, which is 11,000 btus/lb. However, they will not give a discount in buying a 2ton pallet of these things. so, 2tons (equiv to a cord of white oak) is 530.00. Wood dealers in my area, offer "mixed hardwoods" for 200.00/cord. However, there is always a decent amt of softwood mixed in, and most of it never ready to burn unless bought in spring. Plus could never load my stove enough to get a 12hr burn. So, I am dammed either way. Could throw nut coal (anthracite) on in the mornin, but after a few yrs of doing that my stove and chimmney would be shot. So hopefully, as time goes on, the dealers in the area, one of the dealers in the area will start stocking these logs for people like me who could responsibly burn them without over-firing.
  8. firewatcher

    firewatcher New Member

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    All you need is a pick up to get a ton of biobricks in the back of a truck. Borrow one and take the hour ride. I would if I could but its 6 hours from me. From what I have heard about the biobricks it would make your life easier and be more effecient than electric.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I didn't try the firestarter during the cold snap because I was burning 24/7. It is a block about 3" x 6" x 1.5". Dense and kind of gummy. Suspect there is a lot of paraffin in it, but not sure. Seemed a little gross next to Super Cedars. But now that it's warming up a bit I can let the fire go out in a day or so and test it out.

    I thought of the Idaho logs when I was testing and tried to find them, but they weren't sold locally. I'd like to try them too.

    Also willing to try some bio bricks if someone wants to send out a batch or point me to where I can order a small quantity for testing.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, they are really different. Sort of like the first stage of metamorphosis on its way to becoming graphite.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's a good thought Anton. I'll set it up later (at work now).
  12. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    BG- I wish there were a way we could easily swap. I've got plenty of Bio's and would like to try the Presto's.
  13. FuzzyOne

    FuzzyOne Member

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    Not to get too far off subject, but has anyone ever made their own starters out of saw dust (ie. chain saw cuttings)? I seem to remember somebody had a recipe where they put the concoction in a paper condiment cup.
  14. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    I got some of these things and wow!! I am using them in a fireplace there is one company in the east that sell them 380 to a pallet for 335 plus delivery
  15. BioPellet

    BioPellet New Member

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    better pricing is available - www.biopellet.net - wheretobuy
  16. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    I got the presto log not the bio brick.......http://homefirelogs.com/
    I think the presto is more dense than bio with less emissions check it out
    you can also see them at hearthwise.com
    i also see lignectics makes one as well basically these are log size wood pellets
    check em out these things have a .06 for ash!!
  17. holysmokers

    holysmokers New Member

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    I've used the HFPL logs for about three years now. They work great, nice warm fire and last a long time. They are kind of hard to get started but once you do it's great. Hey BG, I don't know where you live but I get them at Del's Farm Supply in Monroe for $300.00 a pallet of 380 logs I think it comes out to .89cnts a log. I live in Lynnwood so I have to make two trips with the old odyssey to pick up a full pallet
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the tip HS. We have a Dels in Puyallup that I used to buy pellets from so it's good to know there is a nearby supply. I won't be burning pallet loads not, but perhaps in the future. However, I will use them when the air gets bad due to temp inversion.

    I found they start slowly, but fairly easily with 1/2 of the starting block placed between the two bottom logs, then another one or two on top, crosswise. How many logs at a time are you using in the Heritage and how long are you getting meaningful heat? Seems like these logs and that stove would be a sweet combo.

    I have to laugh about the Odyssey. We have an older model too. Great car. Before I had the pickup I had to do many pellet runs in it, driving very slowly.
  19. holysmokers

    holysmokers New Member

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    Ordinarily I use only use one log at a time because of the the energy mass and the overfire potential. I can get the stove up to 500 deg no problem with the air completly closed. Durring our last cold snap, used two at a time watching the temp very carefully. I use a combo of cord wood, ecologs(same as the other logs you compared) and a HFPL logs. I'm having trouble getting dry wood from(forgot to cover) my wood pile. I'm kind of new to cord wood this year so most of it is still green, unseasoned, rotted and worm infested. I have yellow cedar, fir, maple, cherry and madrona. Now that its all split and drying on log racks, I can use some of it mixed with and eco log and or a HFPL log. I'm trying to establish an efficient way to dry my cord wood out a year or two in advance before use.
    I can get a true 8hour burn time with that combo and with the HFPL log the stove will remain warm for 10 and sometimes a little longer. Like you said, they stay glowing and solid for a long time which makes rekindeling very easy. I can get buy on one match for three weeks. For us the nicest thing about the soapstone is it dosen't get quite as hot as steel and the heat lasts a couple hours longer. I really like the lines on the Castine and wanted to buy it but it wouldn't fit with the low clearance in front of my zero-clearance POS.
    You should have seen me loading a cord of free yellow cedar i scrounged this summer in the old odyssey!
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good info HS. I'll add your costs to the Wiki I'm writing up. 380 logs @ 300 = .79 each by my calcs. Much better than by the box @ 1.17 each. Do they include any starters when you buy by the pallet load? If not, how are you starting the logs?

    Sounds like a great stove. I am amazed you are able to get it so hot on a couple logs. Did you buy it from Heritage in Lynnwood?
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    At the suggestions of others, I ran a more standardized test on the Home Fire Prest-Logs last night. Results are now posted in the Hearth Wiki under Fuels -> Compressed Logs. It went much smoother and was way less dramatic, pretty normal actually. I want to do the same test for the WOW High Energy Logs, maybe tonight and will post that as a separate review. Also looking forward to testing the original Presto Logs (North Idaho Energy Logs ) from Thomas @ NWFuel sometime soon.

    Let me know if this format works. Hopefully it can serve as a template for future tests. I tried to include all suggestions. Thanks for the good feedback.
  22. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    Begreen, Just hollar when your coming to West Seattle and I will give you a dozen to play with.
    Thomas

    Also how many BTU's per log or per pallet on the Home fires?
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hopefully very soon Thomas. Thanks, for the offer, I'm looking forward to it. The Home Fire website says the logs were tested by Braun Intertec, Portland, OR at 8730 btus/lb. Each log is 5 lbs or 43,650 btus.
  24. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    So, this is the same BTU total per pallet as the North Idaho logs(16.5 million). The price is 235.00 per pallet of North Idaho logs which makes a better value. The North Idaho should also be a tighter log at 20,000 lbs per sq. inch. Most logs are extruded only, where North Idaho is a screw extrusion which will keep the log from exapanding when burning.
    Thomas
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That makes sense, wood is wood. The Home Fire Prest-logs don't expand at all. The turn into a glowing red coal that keeps integrity throughout the burn. They are not just extruded, but are heated at 400 degrees and extruded. This seems to work as a pregassification, like they do with briquettes, only no coal added.

    But now I'm excited to try the Idyho logs too. I read up on them and they do sound interesting. The price is excellent. Has there been any emissions testing done on them?
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