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Fire & lots of it
#1
I have several ways to start a fire: Lighters, matches, magnesium, & magnifying glasses. I have also been saving dryer lint as I heard it burns readily. What I do not have is anything to burn. Currently I have a gas fireplade that burns those fake logs. If that gas goes out though I have nothing.

What is best to use indoors? Can I just cut down a tree a start to burn it or does it need to dry out first? Please enlighten this non boy (or girl for that matter) scout. These can either be shtf scenario or just gas/power outage scenario. Although the current setup still works when the power is out just not as well.

Thank you.
donotknowme, member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#2
Once you cut down a tree you need to let the wood sit a minimum of 6 months, preferably a year, it's ok if it sits outside and gets rained on during that time. Once it dries out and the ends of the log start to crack you need to bust out the maul and split it into sections. I usually split into quarters or fifths but it depends on the size of the log. Once it's split you're good to burn. You can burn wet wood, but its going to produce a lot of smoke and it will gum up your chimney faster. You're also not going to be able to start a fire with wet wood.

Make sure you keep some of the sticks and branches from the tree to use as kindling to get the logs burning initially. You'll need to dry them too, but they don't take that long.

Also the dryer lint by itself isn't that great. When you burn a candle down keep the leftover wax and then when you have enough wax and melt it in a pot and add your lint to it. Some people pour the melted wax\lint into an empty egg carton and cut it into pieces to make fire starters, but it's up to you how you like it.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#3
There is no need to worry about having to get seasoned "dried out" wood. There is plenty of dead fall in the woods and plenty of downed dried out dead trees. And if you split the wood when It is still wet it will dry out quicker. I would just start stacking split fresh wood now and you will be good in a few months.

Like I said there is plenty of downed seasoned dead logs to start with.
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#4
AndrewG23;21091 Wrote:There is no need to worry about having to get seasoned "dried out" wood. There is plenty of dead fall in the woods and plenty of downed dried out dead trees. And if you split the wood when It is still wet it will dry out quicker. I would just start stacking split fresh wood now and you will be good in a few months.

Like I said there is plenty of downed seasoned dead logs to start with.

If he has a chain saw, method to haul and access to the wood.
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#5
Emoticon;21063 Wrote:Also the dryer lint by itself isn't that great. When you burn a candle down keep the leftover wax and then when you have enough wax and melt it in a pot and add your lint to it. Some people pour the melted wax\lint into an empty egg carton and cut it into pieces to make fire starters, but it's up to you how you like it.

I do something similar, I pack the lint tightly into the cardboard egg cups to then seal the top with a generous dose of wax. They work pretty darn good for a homemade solution. Truthfully I haven't used them in years though. Nowadays I typically gather tinder and kindling the old fashioned way, with a knife and hatchet.
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#6
donotknowme;21047 Wrote:... Currently I have a gas fireplade that burns those fake logs. If that gas goes out though I have nothing.

What is best to use indoors? ...
I'll defer the fuel question to others. But first, I have a question: is your faux fireplace vented via a chimney, or not? Certain gas-fired fireplaces don't produce toxins, and aren't fitted with chimneys. This will have a significant impact on what you can use as a fuel. To wit:
  • Chimney - you should be able to burn most fuels (wood, rolled newspaper, pellets, etc), but pay careful attention to the liner. Don't allow the liner to overheat (example: creosote fire). Once you switch from gas to wood, you'll need to inspect the chimney for creosote residue. Once detected, it must be cleaned out.
  • No Chimney - you're limited to fuels that burn clean, and are suitable for indoor use. That includes most chafing fuels, propane type gas fuels and possibly denatured alcohol. Wood products and anything else that produces smoke is out.
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#7
PA Rifleman;21495 Wrote:
donotknowme;21047 Wrote:... Currently I have a gas fireplade that burns those fake logs. If that gas goes out though I have nothing.

What is best to use indoors? ...
I'll defer the fuel question to others. But first, I have a question: is your faux fireplace vented via a chimney, or not? Certain gas-fired fireplaces don't produce toxins, and aren't fitted with chimneys. This will have a significant impact on what you can use as a fuel. To wit:
  • Chimney - you should be able to burn most fuels (wood, rolled newspaper, pellets, etc), but pay careful attention to the liner. Don't allow the liner to overheat (example: creosote fire). Once you switch from gas to wood, you'll need to inspect the chimney for creosote residue. Once detected, it must be cleaned out.
  • No Chimney - you're limited to fuels that burn clean, and are suitable for indoor use. That includes most chafing fuels, propane type gas fuels and possibly denatured alcohol. Wood products and anything else that produces smoke is out.

This reminds me, if you are going to burn a log fire. Make sure you have actual good fireplace tools (not the just for show ones), preferably ones that are forged from a solid pieces of steel square stock or wrought iron, I've never seen a threaded two piece poker that the head doesn't pop off of. The other good thing about the forged ones is if they get bent, or the poker loses it's tip you can just leave it in the coals for a bit and hammer a point back on it. At the very minimum you need a poker, a broom for brushing ash back in to the fire and cleaning it out, an ash scoop, and a log grabber. Without them if a log rolls out of the fire you'll be in trouble. You may also need a screen, but I don't know what kind of setup you have. You may also need andirons if the fake logs are actually attached to the existing irons. Bellows are extremely helpful for restarting a dead or dying fire, but not required. As for the actual tending of the fire, as it burns down try to keep things in the middle and get a nice coal bed going. If you need it to burn a while, but you don't want to have to check on it constantly once you have a nice bed of coals put a big wet log on it, that could keep it burning for a while and when you want to light it back up again switch back to the dry wood. Also if you have any rugs or anything pull them back on themselves in case a wayward spark makes it's way out. You also want a metal bucket to put ashes in, DO NOT use a plastic bucket. Ash is a very good insulator and the coals inside the ash can remain burning hot for days and melt your bucket or catch it on fire.
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#8
Honest question: What purpose does letting the wood sit for minumum of six months serve, if it's allowed to get rained on? That would seem to defeat the purpose of drying the wood?

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stimrob, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#9
The rain only gets on the outside. It's the inside fibers of the wood that need to dry out.
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#10
bac0nfat;21610 Wrote:The rain only gets on the outside. It's the inside fibers of the wood that need to dry out.

Yeah, what he said. Usually the wood only gets wet to a depth of 3/4ths of an inch, its the core you're worried about. These last few days I've been pulling wood off my pile and burning while its been raining, once I get it started I just lean the logs against the screen while it's burning and in an hour or two they dry right back out again.
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