Introduction: Paper + Wood Shavings Fuel Briquettes
You've probably heard of fire briquettes made from compressed mix of paper pulp and sawdust (or solely paper), If you don't, go look it on YouTube or... pretty much anywhere. Although paper-sawdust combination, probably works the best, there's another waste materials that can be turned into fuel this way, and in this and, probably, couple more instructables I want to kind of try to investigate those other alternatives in practice.
The general idea and the process are the same as with paper and sawdust: water soaked paper mash acts as a binder, and additional stuff is added. Than it all is compressed into bricket shape. There's a lot of improvements and developments have been done to this method by many people so go and look.
That's why I'm not giving any precise proportions, specific instructions for optimal process, or best ways of shredding the paper and such thing here, just basic stuff to represent the procces in general plus some points about using specific materials I'm implementing. The main idea is to show how it's possible to widen the variety of waste materials that can be made into momeproduced fuel.
Ok, so, for this batch I wanted to try to mix paper with wood shawings, If you do some woodworking, you, probably also have some.
The thing is I already have some experience with trying to compress woodshavings into briquettes (this instructable), so I know, that they really want to spring back after the preassure is no longer applied, so I soaked them in water for some time to make more pliable. Then I got ill and they were soaking for few days, which is, obviously, too much. A few hours will do.
At the moment I've already had shredded newspapers soaking in water for couple a of days. So, in fact this step should be the first one.... Yes, Step one: shread your paper and leave it soaking in the water for couple of days.
About shredding. I just torn them up into strips with my hands. Its not that hard to rip a couple of dozens of newspaper sheets at once if your're going along the grain.
When the time has come, I'm preparing all the stuff I'm going to use.
To compress the mass into brickets I'm using regular handcranked juice press, because I had no time this Summer to make one specifically for theese porpouses. It producess 25cm in diametre briquette "pies", which are too large for being used conviniently, like in fireplace, for example, but we're going to use them in the stove anyway, so as long as they fit into feeding opening I'm ok with that.
The other minor setback with using this type of press is that it's hard to produce high preassure with it, due to the large surface area of the plate, so the briquettes I produced were a bit on lightweight side.
The other tool I'm using is that construction mixer. It's not perfect (the mixing bit, I mean). I recomend to go to the internet and search for some DIY designs that actually shredd paper instead of very activly agitate it. But still it worked well enough.
Some washbasins and buckets and, we're ready to go.
First of all I'm shredding the paper separately from wood shaving, because othervice they would wind up on the mixer bit making a mess, pesonaly I don't want to deal with.
I'm pouring out some amount of pulp into bucket and adding shavings. I'm roughly aiming for 60% of pulp and 40% of shavings. Generaly, just keep in mind when dealing with proportions, that paper mash acts as a binder, so it has to present throughout whole briquette.
I'm mixing woodshavings with pulp by hand trying to make it as uniform as posible.
I'm filling the press container with the mix. I recomend to be quiet generous with the ammount you're putting, because it compresses alot.
I'm placing the container into the press and gradually compressing the mix till the water stops dripping.
And now our briquette pie goes to dry. It'll took from one to two weeks of sunny days for it to be ready to be used. But even afrer two days of drying it's firm enough and keeps intact to the extend it's quiet usable.
The one minor downside with using wood shavings in briquettes I noticed, is that you need to deal with sort of large volume of material which in result compresses into relatively small amount of fuel. It can be an issue if you have too little of free space, or not so many usable buckets (as I do).
The briquettes on the back are made with paper and sawdust. They are already dry.
And the water goes back into cycle for making a new batch (untill it smells ok).
This is it for now, thank you for your attention and have juice press... it's usefull thing.