Workshop Waste Into Fuel Packs (01.08.2017 Update)




Introduction: Workshop Waste Into Fuel Packs (01.08.2017 Update)

About: I do stuff. Shut up.

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.

Step 7: Advanced Multistacking (01.08.2017 Update)

Well, maybe I don't know when to stop, but I like to refine my stuff while I'm using it, and here I want to show somewhat improoved way of making fire with my fire packs I've developed by practicing using them.

There's examples for three and four packs. The main idea here is to cut off the "windows" in the packs and then possition them in the certain way. You can see it all from the photos. I used some wood shavings and pine cones (because I have a pine tree growing in my yard) as a fire starter, but it's not a dogma.

By stacking the packs the way shown, you creating a sort of a shaft at the centre which helps to create draft, so it kind of a rocket stove in a way. Also, I tryed to capture it in a photo (not wery successfully), but there's a lot of smoke was going through the holes on the surface of the cardboard box, which tells that there's enough air is freely circulating through the pack. So those holes is a good thing, as I expected.

Once again I was surprised of how little of manual maitenance the whole thing needed to burn. Those four packs was more than enough to produce coals for cooking that meat. Some pieces of wood in the packs, as you can see, were painted. Now i'm trying to sort them out and make markings on the packs that contain painted, treated wood or particle board pieces to not use them in food preparation.

Step 8: Bonus Table

Also here's some of my woodworking attempts. This is a console side table for the fie place.

It's made from pine. White spots are the ashes stuck to the pine pitch on the surface. It was a practice project so I didn't use the best best material, and you can see knots on the surface. Also I didn't had a plan for the whole construction, just a vague idea, so for the most part I vas improvising. For this reason I don't recommend to copy my design blindly. The front piece is connected to the shield of "boards" not only vith the vertical dowel pins you can see, but also with horisontal ones that go into every board. This way it's not going neither sideways nor up.

The whole piece was toned with one coat of the solution I've got as a byproduct of derusting old tools and stuff in water-citric acid solution. Basialy it's the same thin you get by combyning vinegar with steel wool (we don't have steel wool in Ucraine, and citric acid is much cheeper than vinigar here (also it doesn't smell so bad)).

As a finish I used few coats of boiled linseed oil.

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    5 years ago

    Excellent recycling. Just, excellent. Heading off to make some now....

    Waldemar Sha
    Waldemar Sha

    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you. Good luck!