Super Cedars are Crumby!

Nov 5, 2017
195
Wisconsin
Oh, they work great for starting a fire, but they are crumby. :rolleyes:

I have tried many times now to get a single Super Cedar to break into 4 even parts or sometimes 6 even parts - but I sure end up with lots of "crumbs" and they never break very evenly. Did I get a bad batch? They seem sort of dried out, but maybe that's how they are supposed to be. They are stored in my basement, which is about 60 degree's and that's where I am breaking them. I did purchase them unwrapped, several months ago.

I've tried scoring along the lines with a utility knife, not scoring, using a chisel, I'm out of ideas.

Any tips from guys using them or is this just they way they are? Thanks in advance for your help.

super_cedars.jpg
 
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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,060
Southeast CT
I’ve only bought one case if them this year for first time but have the same issue. Your pic seems consistent with my experience. I keep them in a freezer bag near the kindling and handle carefully so I dont make a mess every time I start a fire. They do start a damn good fire though.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,472
SEPA
Oh, they work great for starting a fire, but they are crumby. :rolleyes:

I have tried many times now to get a single Super Cedar to break into 4 even parts or sometimes 6 even parts - but I sure end up with lots of "crumbs" and they never break very evenly. Did I get a bad batch? They seem sort of dried out, but maybe that's how they are supposed to be. They are stored in my basement, which is about 60 degree's and that's where I am breaking them. I did purchase them unwrapped, several months ago.

I've tried scoring along the lines with a utility knife, not scoring, using a chisel, I'm out of ideas.

Any tips from guys using them or is this just they way they are? Thanks in advance for your help.

View attachment 242088
I've only used the free sample, which did the same thing. I made a little pouch out of paper and used the crumbs for another light.

I liked them, but not enough to pay. Have about 5 years of white birch bark that works at least as well, and was just here.

If I had a lot of the s.cdrs, I'd just cut them all to size, collect the crumbs, and make paper pouches to use as addl lighters.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
6,950
Schenectady, NY
I think I've ordered 3 batches over the years. Some batches were softer than others. All crumbled. I just break them in half in the bag. I use half a fire starter. I guess I don't need to use that much, but I don't need them often.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,332
Central Mass
They changed sometime in the last 2-3 years, the ones I have a solid but almost out, the next box I get will by crumbly.
 
Nov 5, 2017
195
Wisconsin
Thanks guys! Wanted to be sure that there was not some sort of "secret" to getting them broken into more uniform pieces and not making quite as much of a mess. I'll stop worrying about it and just break them - let the crumbs fall where they may! :)

I break 2 or 3 of them up at a time and then store the resulting pieces in a small box by my matches. I have found that a 1/4 works great and even a 1/6 piece is good. All is going to depend on your kindling, how dry your wood is, draft, etc, but they are quite effective.

I have also made some egg carton fire starters with sawdust and paraffin. It's kind of a fun little Fall/Winter project, they work great, and are not messy at all - the melted paraffin that you pour into each cell seals the sawdust in. I'll use up my Super Cedars and then switch over to my homemade ones.
 

Sawset

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2015
471
Palmyra, WI
The ones I get come in a carton. And break off into 12 even sized squares. They usually smell like different flavors of christmas candles. Rarely crumby. Sometimes a little sawdusty. They take off and start a fire fast.
 
Nov 5, 2017
195
Wisconsin
The ones I get come in a carton. And break off into 12 even sized squares. They usually smell like different flavors of christmas candles. Rarely crumby. Sometimes a little sawdusty. They take off and start a fire fast.
Well the Christmas candle scent would certainly be a plus for me! :) Do you happen to know the brand? I'm pretty set on my homemade ones, but I might get lazy one day want to try something else.

The other one I tried because I got some free samples are the what I'd call "fiber and wax" ones. Rutland has them and you can get different size packs. I've seen packs of 12, 24, up to 144. They are in "sheets" of 12 that break apart easily into the individual squares (rectangles actually) very easy and neat and worked well.

And since I have you here - how about this weather!!! :) Looks like things are finally starting to come around here in Southern WI. We should be at or near 50 on T, W, and R. That should work on the snow a bit, but most importantly to me is to get rid of of that darn ice!
 

Sawset

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2015
471
Palmyra, WI
I have them by the case. The box says made in usa. (A few hours in the fall and the kitchen is set to cook some up).
Earlier this winter (jan) we had a couple new mosquitoes in the house every week. So I found out about snow mosquitoes. Today I saw moths flying outside. And am now wondering about snow moths. Anyway, by Wed we should be almost on our way out of the land of ice and snow.
 

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Nov 5, 2017
195
Wisconsin
I have them by the case. The box says made in usa. (A few hours in the fall and the kitchen is set to cook some up).
Earlier this winter (jan) we had a couple new mosquitoes in the house every week. So I found out about snow mosquitoes. Today I saw moths flying outside. And am now wondering about snow moths. Anyway, by Wed we should be almost on our way out of the land of ice and snow.
Oh Dugh!!! "Come in a carton" ... "12 even sized squares" ... I really should have figured out that you were also doing the egg carton ones! :oops:

I too will mix in some old candles with the paraffin that I buy - seems like good recycling.
 
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SteveKG

Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2009
686
Colorado Rockies
They are crumbly. They weren't in years past. I have been assuming the manufacturer cut back on the amount of paraffin used, in order to save money in the manufacturing process. I, for one, would rather they'd increased the price a bit and kept them as they were, which was not crumbly and easy to break into four equal pieces from the scoring impressed into the face of the disc.

I have a few left from an order several years ago, and I have a case of 100 of the newer ones. They both work, the newer ones are just a mess.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,132
South Puget Sound, WA
This is a small, family run business. Has anyone communicated concerns back to Thomas - @NWfuel ?
 
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Nov 5, 2017
195
Wisconsin
They are crumbly. They weren't in years past. I have been assuming the manufacturer cut back on the amount of paraffin used, in order to save money in the manufacturing process. I, for one, would rather they'd increased the price a bit and kept them as they were, which was not crumbly and easy to break into four equal pieces from the scoring impressed into the face of the disc.

I have a few left from an order several years ago, and I have a case of 100 of the newer ones. They both work, the newer ones are just a mess.
Hey SteveKG - Two things really struck me in your post:

1. I can't tell you how many times I've thought, "Just make something like you used to and raise the price"! Make a cheaper, more "modern" version of something and put that at the old price. I get that there are reasons that most/many business don't want to do that. The other day I was looking a jacket from LL Bean on-line. The jacket I have needs to replaced - just plain wore it out after many, many years - it was such a good value, I wanted another one. In looking at the reviews, guy after guy said that, "They were not like the old ones, the materials are cheaper, they don't fit the same, etc.". One guy had a great suggestion and that was for Bean to make a "Classic" form of the jacket and just price it higher. I think he even offered to send in his old jacket as a pattern! Clearly if Bean's did that they have the market!

2. The other thing I thought of with the Super Cedars was to do two things - tweak the formula for the wax, something more flexible and maybe re-tool the forms and put a deeper scoring "impression" in each disk and maybe get a cleaner break to it. Much like you suggested.

I guess one of the things about guys who heat with wood is that we tend to come with ideas on how to fix things! :)
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
10,492
Southern IN
The crumbly ones probably just have less paraffin. I score and break apart the pucks over a piece of newspaper, then slide the chunks and crumbs into a gallon freezer bag. I keep a small plastic measuring cup in the bag, probably like 1/4 cup. When I get enough crumbs, I'll put a flat split in the stove when I start a new load, dump a cup of crumbs on the flat split, light the crumbs and add a little kindling.
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,259
North Eastern MA
The head Supercedar guy (Thomas) was totally fine when I asked him to make my last batch to be HARD rather than crumbly.

Evidently there are two varieties, and unless you ask you get the softer ones. The crumbly ones light with a match MUCH easier but I still prefer noncrumy :)
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
6,950
Schenectady, NY
I wonder if it's the psi they compress the puck with?
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,259
North Eastern MA
No he's right no matter how hard you try if the recipe is too soft they will crumble - even split in half.
 
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rdust

Minister of Fire
Feb 9, 2009
4,525
Michigan
You can ask for hard when you order them. That’s the way I order mine. I break them into 1/8’s in a zip lock bag without much trouble.
 

rdust

Minister of Fire
Feb 9, 2009
4,525
Michigan
The head Supercedar guy (Thomas) was totally fine when I asked him to make my last batch to be HARD rather than crumbly.

Evidently there are two varieties, and unless you ask you get the softer ones. The crumbly ones light with a match MUCH easier but I still prefer noncrumy :)
True story, I get them the same way.
 
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NWfuel

Minister of Fire
True story, I get them the same way.
I hear you loud and clear.
First off I have two groups of customers, actually three including the Hearth.com members which I will always appreciate as my fuel to success. Soft SC's are actually the original that the majority prefer for ease of breaking in half. I am happy to make a harder version on request by simply requesting hard ones in the comment field when ordering.
The original SC also did not have a score, it was a gesture to the request by Hearth.com members. The majority SC market does not break the SC (outdoor world). The Super Cedar starts fast and burns clean because we do not use excessive amounts of paraffin(fuel to air). This being said if I was to add more paraffin the SC will be harder to start, but it will be cleaner and much harder to break.
I do notice that most items that burn have some sort of negative property, wouldn't it be nice if gasoline/diesel didn't smell or fatwood didn't smoke? Super Cedars will always be messy but very easy to clean up. Do not let crumbs land on hot surface of stove top!
Thomas
 
Nov 5, 2017
195
Wisconsin
I hear you loud and clear.
First off I have two groups of customers, actually three including the Hearth.com members which I will always appreciate as my fuel to success. Soft SC's are actually the original that the majority prefer for ease of breaking in half. I am happy to make a harder version on request by simply requesting hard ones in the comment field when ordering.
The original SC also did not have a score, it was a gesture to the request by Hearth.com members. The majority SC market does not break the SC (outdoor world). The Super Cedar starts fast and burns clean because we do not use excessive amounts of paraffin(fuel to air). This being said if I was to add more paraffin the SC will be harder to start, but it will be cleaner and much harder to break.
I do notice that most items that burn have some sort of negative property, wouldn't it be nice if gasoline/diesel didn't smell or fatwood didn't smoke? Super Cedars will always be messy but very easy to clean up. Do not let crumbs land on hot surface of stove top!
Thomas
Thomas - Thank you for your reply which included a detailed history of the product. The saying, "You can't please all of the people all of the time" is so true in everything! My original post was just to be sure that there wasn't some sort of "trick" to getting a clean and crumb-free break. The crumbs are not a big problem for me. And like others suggested, I save them and use them. Not too surprising for any of us "heat with wood" guys. As a group, I think we just don't like to let anything go to waste.

Once I burn though my existing supply, I think I would like to try a batch of the harder ones and I know how to order those now. Thanks again for your reply and a great product.
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
694
Rochester NY
I took another member's suggestion on here, one of the moderators I think, who suggested a gallon freezer bag to put the whole puck in, break it up inside the bag into 4 parts and go from there. The crumbs/dust from breaking can be used to restart those borderline cold starts. Anyway, they are byfar the best firestarters I've tried yet. I think I bought a 36 pack or so from Amazon at the beginning of this season and I'll have a good amount going into next season.
 
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