Introduction: Wood Shavings Into Light Fire Brickets "No Water Soaking Method" (experiment)
I'm not that much of a woodworker but still I've manged to collect some quantity of wood shavings during the Winter season. If it was Summer I would probably tried to make fuel brickets from them in more conventional way: by mixing with shredded paper, soaking in weter and drying under the Sun after pressing. But it is Winter now and those bags are really started to get in the way in the small workshop. So I decided to experiment a bit by pressing those shawings dry as they are.
I used old juice press and a contraption I put together using scrap wood and screws. Already at this stage I've made a mistake by putting smooth painted sides of boards outside the construction: it has complicated pressing process a bit, and the extraction of a brick a lot. So take a lesson from my mistakes.
Here's the pressed bricket. It looks firm enough.
In order to put the bricket out I drilled a couple of holes in the bottom part of the construction and putted a small plank to of the bottom of the compressing chamber before loading it with shavings. I planned to use a screw driver to push the plate through the holes till the bricket is poped out otside (...and just now, while writting this, I realized I could not to make the bottom at all and push the bricket down from the top). My method didn;t work, so I had to take off the board at the side to get the bricket out and this is what you can see on the photo.
As a next step I've made a couple of improvements to the constructions and the process. I turned the bottom-side board into the latch held by 1 screw at the bottom, and also I started to put pice of newspaper inside the chamber before loading the shavings. Now it was easy enough to take the bricket out.
All though it is pretty firm right after compressing, after you take the bricket out, the shawings tend to spring back a bit, and you have to use the strenght of your hands to press them back at the wrapping process.
I havent photografed the wrapping process because it required two hands to accomplish. But it's was as easy as putting beforehand a few newspapers in a row with some good overlaping onto the floor, and wrapping the bricket starting from the edge while squizing and rolling. After it rolled I secured the newspaper with scotch tape. And the bricket is done.
So, at this stage the whole process of production the brickets is too tedious and cumbersome but it was an experiment and I believe further improvements definitly can be done to the point where it all makes more sense.
The brickets themselves a pretty light. Produced quantity, you can see on the photo, is the result of processing of three of those bags of shavings. The Brickets need a little help to start burning so I'm just ripping one side at he bottom, fluffing the shavings a bit and using this part to start the burning. But it's not necessary if you putting them in fire that already burns. One brick like mine burns for approx 5-7min, and producing a lot of fire. They obviously won't produce a lot of energy because of their light weight but they're good as firestarters (you can cut the paper around and snap the bricket to get smaller pieces). Also it's faster and cleaner than burning shavings themselves (basically you transferring "slow" and "dirty" to the making process, but, hey, maybe this is what you're looking for).
So it's not that useless after all and it's up to you, what you'll take from this experiment. Thank you for your attention and have a nice shavings.