I'm not doing a lot of woodworking at the workshop but when I do, I collect waste, sorting it as shavings and pieces of wood that are too small to be used in projects. You may say it's a little bit an overdo but I think of different projects involving woodshavings, so I try to keep them kind of clean... But it doesn't matter. Initially it was my dad who came up with this idea: to pack this waste into carton packs and burn it in the furnace or a stove. This is the one way to use this fuel packs (we haven't try it yet though) but recently I was wondering if I can use them as a sort of picnic-outdors-type-of-thing to produce fire and coals for warmth, cooking or just for fun. Although I was sceptical if the pack will be able to maintain burning by itself without initial fire or constatnt human attention, the tests proove me wrong (see at the end). So here I want to show how I'm making these fire packs from waste materials and if you're interested take a look at another my instructable, where I'm experimenting with pressing dry woodshavings into fire logs.
Step 1: The Box
First of all we'll need a carton box of suitable size. Mine is from 2L wine pack so I had to prepare it a little bit by detaching plastic handle (it's already off on the photos) and pulling out the plastic bag, possible usages for which is the theme for future instructables. Also I'm covering the opening on the side of the box with a piece of cardboard from within.
Step 2: The Fuel
Now I'm layering pieces of wood scraps with shavings, while compresing it all firmly with my hand. Shavings will act as a air pockets and a firestarter.
If you're making these packs for using in a stove, this is all you have to do, but for a picnic-outdors variant you can sprinkle every layer with some parafin/wax shavings from old candle to provide additional burning boost (although it will work just fine without them).
Fill the box to the top (there's more layers than I'm showing).
Step 3: The Air
When the pack is full, use your tool of choice to poke a bunch of holes all over it. They will provide required airflow for burning.
The fire pack is ready and as you can see I made quite a few of them.
Step 4: Fire Testing
And now is a time for testing. The pack I'm showing was made withiot adding candle shavings. In order to start the fire cut a window in one side of the pack (you can precut it halfway through beforehand and just tear it open with hand on the location). By varying the size of the opening you can controll the way the pack will burn (I guess). Then use some fire starter liquid to soak the contents (Ididn't have any so I used some parafine from disfunctional canndle to start the fire). After some time the fire takes it's paste and burns for aprox.15 minutes. At this time you can boil some humble ammount of water (the kettle is there just for demonstration, I know it's too high). At some point it may be needed to provide some attention to the fire, but for the most part it burns well just by itself.
Step 5: Coals Test
And when the fire is out you can use coals to cook something... tasty.
So yeah, you definetly can make yourself a cup of tea with a hot sandwich for a breackfast with reasonably sized fuel pack, while rationally desposing workshop waste. One thing to concider though: make sure you're not using wood scraps that were painted or treated with potentially harmfull chemicals if planning to cook on your fuel packs.
This is it for now, thanks you for your attention and have a nice packs.
Step 6: Pack Multistacking (03.06.2017 Update)
First of all, thanks everybody who voted for this instructable at the Fire Contest (all those three people). Now I have a little update here for this project I want to share. Lets imagine we want to get more coals from our packs for preparing something more substencial than a buns with cheese. We have to use more packs in this case. You can use two packs by burning them side by side or, maybe, even four as I did today for roasting some sausages.
Although it may seem to be a straight forwart task here's a little tip I discovered. Place four packs together vertically leaving a ~1cm gap in between them to create something resembeling the finnish stove. The fire tends to spread to the centre and then the whole stack burn from vithin with sufficient ammount of air is provided. I tried to represent the effect on the photos. To start the fire I used some parafin soaked cotton pads (byproduct from my other project), along with some parafine shavings (not on the photo).
Actually it was surprising for me how little (or almost non of) of any maintanence the fire requires. Although I was making some manual adjustments to provide better result the fire was nowhere near the point where it could went off.