Making newspaper knots for the woodstove

What Knot to Put in the Log Rack of Our New Woodstove

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Can you tell I'm on a learning jag for our new wood burning stove? Now that I've learned about woodstove safety options for grandchildren and elderly parents, I'm on to investigating what I can burn in my woodstove.

Of course, wood is at the top of the list. I already knew seasoned Oak was one of the best woods to burn, along with Elm and Hickory, among others. I went with Oak and now have two lovely ricks stacked neatly inside my garage just waiting for me to add it to my firewood holder beside the woodstove. From there to the log rack inside, and then, glorious heat. Hmmm, but how do I start it burning? For that, I'll need a good firestarter. My grandkids and I collected all the twigs we found from our own trees plus a few from walks and filled a box. It's enough for a fire or two. Then what?

When my kids were young, I used newspaper to help start our fires so I headed for Google to get some more ideas and hit the jackpot. First I found a great ebook to help with using woodstoves, A Guide to Residential Wood Heating, from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. It is loaded with information about burning wood efficiently, purchasing and preparing your fuel supply, and wood stove accessories for the hearth.

Continuing on with my search I then found the directions for making actual fireplace logs out of newspapers at Instructables. I also found a site that discussed that process. Most of the writers think it makes too much ash. If you decide to make fireplace logs with your paper, they suggest two paper logs to one wood log. I think I'm going to wait on that idea for now. At least until my grandsons are old enough to do it and then I'll see if they would like a job! 🙂    

Finally, though, I came to the perfect site for me. As a busy Sandwich Generation senior home care giver and grandmother, speed and easiness are two of my favorite words. Woodheat has simple directions for tying newspapers into knots to use them as firestarters! I LOVE it! I can do it. My grandkids can do it NOW. My senior mom can do it. And it even looks like fun! It could even be a good research project for their homeschooling programs.

Some of my grandkids got to spend the night. This morning, I  had fun knotting away with them, and we added several of these to the firewood racks along with the logs.

Making newspaper knots for the woodstove

After we had a serious talk about woodstove safety rules, I started the fire. I have to admit, the knots worked great but the fire dwindled quickly. I went back to Woodheat and found more help from them on how to build the fire. I later tried the top down version and I'm thrilled to tell you it's burning fairly well as I type.  Don't you love it when you find practical solutions that all the generations can have fun working on? Especially when it's one of those fun ways to save money like using the newspaper you already subscribe to?  I know I do!

Do you have more suggestions for what to burn in our new woodstove? We'd love to hear them. We'd also love to have you sign up for the SandwichINK free email so you don't miss any info or resources to encourage Sandwich Generation senior home care givers and grandparents.

The Wright Stuff
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    • Suz
    • January 9, 2010

    Use an empty cardboard (not foam) egg carton.

    Stuff each “cell” with dryer lint.

    Use the ends of burned candles or crayons (melt in an empty steel can). Pour the melted wax over the cells til full. Let cool/harden.

    Use one “cell” per fire.

    p.s. Yes, I’m a Girl Scout leader.

  1. Thanks for the great ideas Suz! Plenty of broken crayons around here. Do you know if it causes chimneys to get dirtier faster tho? I know we used to add wax to pinecones but I was concerned about that for this chimney. 🙂

  2. WOW Clair, Those look awesome! Thank you for sharing them with us!!! 🙂 I’m hoping we’re done with snow for this year (???), but will definitely have to try these out next winter (or if the snow comes back 🙂 )!

    • Clair Schwan
    • March 15, 2010

    I use homemade fire starters to start fires in my wood stoves. They are easy to make from scrap material and work way better than newspaper. And, they cost next to nothing to make. I create a large batch in the fall using saw dust and wax, and form them using ice cube trays, egg cartons and cookie sheets. One batch lights all my fires all winter long. Here is a link to my website that helps explain what they are and how to make them. I’ve also provided a link to an Ehow article I’ve written about how to make these.

    They work real well. I got the idea after using similar commercial products that I was cutting into smaller cubes. I figured why not simply make smaller cubes myself. After collecting sawdust from my buzz saw and wax from a garage sale, I was off and running.

    Good luck with making your own firestarter.

    Clair Schwan

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