Pinecone Campfire Starter





Introduction: Pinecone Campfire Starter

With the purchase of our beautiful little teardrop camp trailer, the dear wife and I have begun the outfitting and preparations for our first trip to christen it.

I am not a firestarting expert - seems like it is always hit or miss - so I decided to make some campfire starters to bring along to make the process a little easier.

Since the neighbors pine tree overhanging my yard (and swimming pool) :-( provides copious numbers of pinecones - that seemed to be the obvious material of choice to use as the core piece. Other items needed are:

  • Paper (Newspaper, ads, bills, etc.)
  • Paper Shredder
  • Candles (garage sale scores = lots of cheap wax!)
  • Paper Drink Carrier (or egg cartons) Thanks Dairy Queen, the treats were awesome!)
  • Aluminum Pans (Wax melting vessels)
  • Wick (Re-use the candle ones or natural hemp twine)
  • Heat Source
  • Tongs or Grabbers
  • Drop Cloth

Step 1: Preparation

Now it's time to gather and harvest, then we can get busy.

I strolled the perimeter of the yard and gathered this weeks crop of pinecones. Next was to recycle the weekly ads in the paper shredder to get fire-friendly tidbits of tinder to coat the pinecones with.

Now, fire up the grill and melt down the $0.25 boxes of candles into a little aluminum loaf pan. 300 degrees was plenty to cook them down in about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and offset the pan away from direct flame to let it cool back down slightly.

Step 2: Assembly

I wrapped a generous amount of twine around each pinecone to sort of act as a wick - or at least a fuse to get the starter started. Next is to put a layer of intact paper in each cupholder to catch the wax and keep it from running out, then a large pinch of shredded paper. Pour in a little wax, and bed a pinecone down into each nest.

Another wad of shredded paper packed around each pinecone is coated with layers of melted wax, a little at a time. If you pour a lot, it's just going to run off and make a mess and waste the wax. Now set the drink holder aside and give it time to completely set up before cutting them apart. I prefer to leave it as one unit until I need them - they are easier to pack and cutting one out from the group takes a second with a pocket knife.

So that's my version of a green recycling-friendly firestarter. I know what is and isn't in them (chemical wise), it's satisfying and relaxing to make something with my own hands, and they work great to get a campfire going on a star-filled evening in nature.

As always critiques, comments, and suggestions are always welcome and appreciated.



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    pine cones can pop and explode in the fire... not sure if a great idea

    I'll get Obama on that right away...

    Very clever, not to mention cheap due to the easy to find parts! Thanks for sharing!

    Does the wax drip out because I was wondering if I could use this on my wood burning in house fire

    I've only used them in outdoor campfire's, so I can't be 100% sure, but I have to believe the wax is completely consumed in such an environment.