Fuel Sausages

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Introduction: Fuel Sausages

About: Maker with an obsession for the 8-bit!

Wood burner fuel made from waste sawdust and toilet roll tubes! By making a simple mold, this is a way to squeeze extra use out of waste materials and heat your home!

I'm particularly happy with this 'ible because it felt like the moment I turned from an insane hoarder to a resourceful maker. For years I've been saving up toilet roll tubes, and now....finally....I've found something to do with them!

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Step 1: You Will Need....

For each sausage -

  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Coarse Sawdust

To make the mold -

  • Chunk of softwood
  • Saw
  • Long screws
  • Drill w/ hole cutter
  • Clamp

Please note that you'll want to avoid using sawdust from any woods that have glue in them (mdf/ply/OSB/etc) as they probably give off some nasty fumes when burned. I happened to have collected a bag of sawdust purely from thicknessing hardwoods, and I set this aside for my sausages.

Step 2: Make a Mold

To stop the toilet roll tube from just falling apart when compressing wet sawdust in, I made a mold.

I had a lump of pine from a broken table someone had left in the street, and I cut it up into 7cm squares that would stack up to about 15cm high. These were attached together using glue and some long screws. You can probably skip the glue, but it helped hold the squares together for the beast screws.

Using a 54mm hole cutter (a little bit bigger than the diameter of the tube) I drilled a tunnel out, leaving the last square so it wasn't going all the way through. I saved a couple of the circles that were cut out...more on that later.

Last up is to drill a 10mm hole in the middle the bottom square.

Step 3: Line the Inside of the Mold

Using a knife and ruler I cut a little rectangle out of some thin plastic sheet and curled it around the inside.

Now take one of the disks from when you drilled the tunnel, and push it to the bottom of the mold. I lined the face of my disk with a little plastic, but you'll probably be alright leaving it bare.

OK...now do the plastic step again, so another bit is curled up inside resting on top of the disk. This will push out with the disk when you need to remove your sausage from the mold.

When you drop a toilet roll tube in, it should be a nice snug fit.

We're now ready for stuffing!

Step 4: Sausage Filling

To fill a sausage it's basically just squashing in as much wet sawdust as I could!

I played around a bit and landed on a ratio of 3 little cups sawdust to 1 little cup water. I'm not sure why, but the water seems to help it bind together under pressure. If anyone has any experience with getting sawdust to bond together in a burnable way please shout. I think i read somewhere that if you add a little flour it helps, but I haven't tried it.

This bit's a little messy so get a tray or something to catch water, and just stuff it in there! Get as much in as poss, then ram it down with another disk, and add more sawdust. When I couldn't push it down by hand any more I pulled a clamp into play and kept adding more, and re-squashing it until it was pretty solid.

I then left it for a few minutes to let as much water to drain out as possible.

Step 5: Remove From Mold and Dry

Remember that 10mm hole in the bottom? Get a bit of 9mm dowel (or something that fits through the hole) and whack it down to force the whole lot out.

If everything's doing its job it should slide out (if a little reluctantly) and the plastic will pull itself off the sausage.

The mold is good to use over and over again, so every now and then I just make a load until I'm bored.

A lot of the water got squeezed out in the stuffing step, but it'll still be a bit soggy. I leave my sausages sitting on a radiator for a good few days, or on a little grill on top of the wood burner (not directly on burner top though). Given enough time they'll dry pretty much anywhere that's a little warm.

Step 6: Burrrrrrn!

After getting the fire started with kindling and a log or two as normal, I just top it up with sausages to keep it going. They hold their shape remarkably well, burn for a surprising long time, and smell nice. In the city where getting hold of fuel for a wood burner can be a little pricey, I've found this is a great way to enjoy a lovely fire frequently without needing a big stash of logs, and making use of stuff I'd just throw away.

If you've got any experience or advice on this sort of thing, or give it a go yourself, please leave a comment!

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    102 Discussions

    Mr. 1up Living,
    I live in a place where we don't have a fireplace at home, the average temp is between 15 to 28 throughout the year. Still when I saw your instruct able I read it out of curiosity, I also read the comments of other people and I think some ideas are fine but most of them will just make the logs burn faster, like the bacon fat or the paraffin, that are by themselves flammable, making the logs give you more heat yes, but for much less time. Besides if you use any oily agent, the binding disappears and re shape of the log is soon gone. This factor is important because if the particles of the sawdust are just lose they'll burn faster. Another issue is the emission of toxic gases which are increased if you use any kind of oily agent.
    That's why I had this idea, here in my country, I'm from Mexico, we make 'piñatas' for Christmas, which are made of a clay pot covered with colourful paper. In order to past the paper to the pot we make this kind of glue that it's completely harmless to you or the environment. It is made with wheat flour and water at a rate of 2 tbs. / 1 cup of water (about 4-5 fl. oz.) the process is simple just mix the flour with a bit of cold water and save it for later, bring the water to a boil and then add the mix of cold water and flour. Stir it while it cooks for about 8 to 10 minutes (at this point it should have a creamy consistency) let it cool and use it instead of the cup of water to bind the sawdust. It will stick solid as a rock but it will burn evenly without loosing shape nor burning too fast.

    I hope you try this and let me know about it.

    Regards and greetings from Mexico City!

    6 replies

    Another problem with the binders you mention is the SMOKE! I used to make something similar to this for camping - I used paper shreds for stuffing and poured hot wax (paraffin) over them. Works great for starting a campfire, but the black smoke that came off the burning paraffin was pretty excessive. I can only imagine lard or any other fat would have the same problem. Love the wheat flour idea, though.

    My grandfather would dissolve news/advertisement papers in water and press them to puck shapes before letting them air dry. No need for toilet rolls or binders. And I've seen wallpaper installed with starch (flour) and water, works pretty well.

    I love the wheat paste option! Thank you!

    Absolutely yes! Corn starch works as well as wheat flour, but here in Mexico it's a little more pricey. Any flour or starch that could make a decent papier mache paste will do the trick.

    Did I miss it or hadn't it been asked why in the world were you collecting toilet paper rolls for years in the first place? Just curious.

    I wonder how well one of them would work with a rocket stove?

    I used to make something similar for camping. I stuffed TP rolls, or cut paper towel rolls, with paper from my shredder, then poured melted wax into it. You would NOT want to use these for indoor heating, however, Lots of thick black smoke came off of these things, but they're great for starting a camp fire. I wonder if you could use your method using shredded paper? It might be worth a try.

    Ah, the density problem. Same thing that happened with my algae bricks. Suggestions included using pine needles to create a less dense brick. Somehow, air needs to get inside the sausage/brick.

    1 reply

    I have seen on line a person who makes them as disks with 4-5 holes in them and he burns them in a rocket stove made for them I believe it was a he and is a Canadian gent. He might have added straw to his pucks they were large maybe 2-4 inches across. People in the European steppes apparently burn straw in brick ovens and fire places, so why not, add some if it is really dry.

    This is a great project for scouts. I plan to show this at one of our next meetings to make simple fire starter logs. Thanks for the simple project idea!

    Dan Delgado

    P.S. No relation to TDelgado, but I'll bet he's a cool guy!

    I will be making these. Much appreciation.

    Another use is to stuff a toilet roll tube full of paper or other tubes and soak in melted wax left over from burning candles etc.. These are then left to set and cut into thirds to create fire starters for the fireplace or barbecue.

    Nice instructable! I use similar way to feed my fireplace with sawdust. However I use bigger packs because I fill paper bags from 1kg flour. I fill them with mixture of sawdust and used motor oil without adding any water. The bag has bottom so it won't leak any mixture and it burns very well. Try to mix with motor oil but have in mind that the mixture won't be very compact. :-)

    Get idea. I often fill paper bags with sawdust and shavings. Once our fire is going and has a bed of embers and wood laid crossways on top, I then put a bag of sawdust on top. The bag burns and te sawdust drops down filling the gaps in the wood which stops he wood from burning so fast. The ends of the wood sticking out from the sawdust keeps the fire going as sawdust by itself tends to smolder. If you do this you need to be able to place the bag fairly quickly, otherwise you will have sawdust everywhere when the bag burns.

    I COLLECT THE LINT FROM MY CLOTHES DRYER AND STUFF IT INSIDE THESE TIOLET TISSUE TUBES AND THEY MAKE GREAT STARTERS ON MY CHARCOAL GRILL

    How did we ever exist without toilet paper rolls? They are so versitle. Love this idea.