Introduction: Pinecone Campfire Starter

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.


baecker03 (author)2014-11-21

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

shootr (author)baecker032014-11-24

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

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-10-20

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

Milz2000 (author)2014-10-19

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

shootr (author)Milz20002014-10-20

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.

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