Introduction: Fire Log Press and "The Paper Macerator of Doom"

Picture of Fire Log Press and "The Paper Macerator of Doom"

I am always getting flyers and papers in the mail. I also create a lot of sawdust. I have seen videos of people making fire logs and I thought I would try my hand at one. The "Paper Macerator of Doom" comes from a Mr. Eastcoastman video that I saw and I had to make one.

Step 1: I Used

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My wife asked me why I keep my "pail of junk". I said it's not junk I might need something in there someday. Truth be told, I had to start using a second pail a few years ago to.. um.. organize my pail. Then she told me today was the day, either I use something out of my junk pail or it goes. So, for the Use It or Lose It Club, I am using as much junk as I can. I started out with an old 5 1/2" saw blade, assorted brackets, clips, screws, latches, catches, knobs, well, junk pail, right? I also have a small piece of plywood and a 3x3 piece of wood I rescued from the trash bin at work.

Step 2: Building the Press

Picture of Building the Press

I wanted a log about 12" long, 3" wide and 5" thick. I cut the 3x3 into 2 pieces about 18" long, One piece is cut in half the long way, 1 half for the bottom and 1 that I cut 2 5" pieces from for the sides. The 3x3 for the top I cut notches out on both ends so it will slide into the press about 1 1/2". The 1/2" plywood was cut into 2 strips 6x15. I drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom and a few in the sides and ends for water drainage. I used 1 L bracket screwed to each end to receive the bolt that clamps the lid down. For the lid, I lined up and drilled through the ends and slotted the holes a bit so the bolts would drop into the L brackets. The bolts I found in my junk pail are 3" long 1/4" bolts so I did have to washer them out a bit. I had found the ceiling fixture cross so I took it apart and used one side on each end of the top to support the bolt. I wound up cutting another block to slip inside the press to be able to squeeze the pulp. It's surprising how much it can be compacted.

Step 3: I Would Like to Introduce You to My Little Friend

Picture of I Would Like to Introduce You to My Little Friend

"The Paper Macerator of Doom" works pretty good. I started out with a 1" dowel about 18 or 20" long. I sanded down 1 end so it would just fit in my drill and drilled a hole in the other than I can thread a bolt into. I used a nut to lock the blade onto the bolt and I had to use a spacer because my drill bit wasn't long enough. I put it all together and went on to the next step

Step 4: Trying It Out

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I didn't have enough paper to fill the press so I started with about 1/3 of a pail of paper that I ripped into strips. I let it soak for 5 minutes or so and ran my shredder in the wet mess. About half of the paper shredded and another 5 minute soak and the paper ground up pretty good. I have some hand plane shavings and chips from forstner bits so I through a few handfuls in and mixed it some more. I don't have an extra pail to drill holes in so I tried pouring the pail; through the press. It worked but I will be buying a pail. I had to push some of the pulp in so it would all fit.

Step 5: The First Block

Picture of The First Block

The press started out full - 5" thick. Once I pressed the pulp and left it for a couple of hours, I thought it would come out easy. I ran a putty knife down all the way around to break it loose, I flipped it over and hit it with my wood mallet. A lot. I finally had to tap a long punch in through a few holes to push it out. Final block about 2". I call that a pass but I have to do something about getting the block out a little easier so back to the thinkin' chair.

Step 6: The Upgrades and the Winning Fire Log

Picture of The Upgrades and the Winning Fire Log

I needed an easier way to get the log out. I decided to cut a piece of plywood to drop inside the press. I screwed it down inside and redrilled the holes in the bottom then removed the screw. I found 2 5" bolts so I drilled holes in the bottom of the press and dropped the bolts down through. The bolt holding the blade on "The Paper Macerator of Doom" slipped so I found a lag bolt and 2 rubber grommets. I sandwiched the blade between the grommets and squirted some super glue in there. I also bent the blade a little on 4 sides so it catches the paper better. I stuffed the press, packed it, stuffed again, repeat. It really holds a lot of pulp if you keep compressing and filling. The second log out was about 4" deep this time and tapping on the bolts pushes the whole thing right out. Score 1 for the Use It or Lose It Club.

Comments

Rigbert48 (author)2017-02-04

As an alternate design for the fire log press, look up images of a wooden butter press. The butter press uses a slip form design which might make it easier to get the pressed logs out.

That would work as well. I had intended for this 'ible to be built out of old stuff I had collected over the years thinking many people probably have their own junk pails and the bolts do work well.

joen (author)2017-02-02

By the way I meant that the hinges would be located on the outside of the corners so that tapping out the hinge bolt would be easier. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

kevincarruthers (author)joen2017-02-02

I'm sure something like that would work, I just didn't have hinges in my junk pail

now that I think about it, there is a lot of pressure in the press ;) I don't think you would be able to drive out hinge pins. If the top wa ls bolted together horizontally, unbolting would allow hinges at the bottom to work

joen (author)2017-02-02

I wonder if you can make a mold with door hinges on opposite corners and a free bottom such that when the hinges are together they hold the bottom in place. Fill the mold as you are doing now and when you are ready tap out the hinge bolt on one corner of the mold and unwrap the log by just "opening" the mold. I hope that makes sense.

borgem (author)2017-01-27

I'm not sure what kind of releasing agent you might be able to use to get it free, but what about adding a relief (angle) to the form? That might help with the release.

kevincarruthers (author)borgem2017-01-27

An angle may help. Sanding the plywood sides may too. The bolts that I added in the end really help. Just some light tapping tapping with a hammer and the log comes right out

mrsmerwin (author)2017-01-27

how well does this burn? I imagine it lights pretty well but what about the smoke. We have a fireplace that we don't use much. My husband says you can't burn certain woods indoors because some create huge amounts of creosote.

I haven't lit a log yet so I'm not sure about the smoke. It should be about the same as a fire log.ypu buy from Walmart, etc. As far as creosote goes, I don't have anything here like that, just raw wood.

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