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P32885 500
Make festive fireplace logs out with this newspaper brick maker – [via] Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Jonas SWE says:

    It’s a nice idea but, as always a but, the printer’s ink get caught in the chimney and can cause a fire.

  2. irongus says:

    I have never heard about the ink in the chimney before. what is newspaper ink made of that could cause a chimminy fire. I know creosote buildup can cause fires in the chimney, and you can get this from burning wood in a smokey fire.

  3. Keith says:

    Reminds me of something we had as a kid, which instead of compressing the newspaper, it would roll it into logs. After spending an afternoon rolling it, we realized that it didn’t burn as well as you would think.

  4. DonTron says:

    I think colored newspaper ink contains lead.

  5. uh huh says:

    anyone who has tried burning compressed newspaper knows it doesn’t burn well at all. plus the mechanical advantage of the compressor looks inadequate.

    I like how the picture has newspaper wrapped around a brick lol

  6. CrackWilding says:

    How do you get the newspaper off your monitor?

  7. Doug says:

    You can try this yourself before you buy:

    Dampen a section of newspaper with a spray bottle and start rolling it up as tightly as possible from one end. When you get it about 3/4 rolled, insert another dampened section, reversed so the fold is on the other side. Repeat until you get a log as large as you want, then tie with florist’s wire or any thin wire. Set aside to dry, which takes WEEKS! Then you’re ready to use your paper logs.

    My wife and I missed our monthly recycling pickup a few months ago and spent an evening rolling up 20 logs just to rid ourselves of all the papers. We lit 3 one night and found that they put out almost no heat while burning, the charred layers peel off and get sucked up the flue and when it’s all done you have a nasty mess of crumbling, charred flakes that blow around and stick to everything when you try to clean them up.

    NOT RECOMMENDED.

  8. TedH says:

    I’m flashing back to the 70′s when my parents had a bath tub filled with newspaper ‘logs’.

    They took forever to dry and didn’t burn very well at all.

    Not one of the fonder memories.

  9. Julian says:

    Doug –
    I think you would get better results by shredding the paper and then compacting the “logs”. This would get rid of the “layer by layer” burn that occurs with newspaper.

    Obviously, wetting and drying may be needed to make it adhere. You could probably make a decent “log” by stuffing the paper into an adequately sized pvc pipe with one end capped. If you are wetting the paper, I’d drill numerous drainage holes in the end-cap. Then compact the paper into “logs” using a smaller sized pvc cap & pipe. I live in the desert so I don’t have much use for this particular trick though.

  10. NovySan says:

    I have one. It works great. All my junk mail is bricked and it burns fine in my chiminea or outdoor firepit. I also take the shreddings home from work. The keys is that you SOAK the paper for a week, and then mix it with a paint mixer on a drill, basically pulping it, then you make small bricks but dense. Yes, they take forever to dry, but think about it, your turning paper back into wood. Properly made, they burn similar to logs. We kept our fire pit at Burning Man going with junk mail bricks all week. Also, most of the inks used in newsprint is soy based, so there’s very little chance of anything truly toxic.

  11. skreidle says:

    As far as I know, black ink in newspapers is largely made from soy–shouldn’t be a problem, right?

  12. Mik says:

    Burning paper in a fireplace or a stove is a VERY bad idea. I burns poorly, leaves a ton of ashes and pollutes a lot. Where i come from it’s actually illegal to do it.

    Paper should be recycled, and you should use nothing but good quality firewood to burn in your stove or fireplace.

  13. Andy says:

    What most are saying is true, don’t burn paper expect to get your fire going, recycle it because it’s full of nasty toxins.

  14. Scott Messinger says:

    If you try to burn paper logs that have not been soaked and dried, then you will get that mess of flaky charred paper all over your room and outside.

    Soaking the paper keeps it from flaking off as it burns. REALLY soaking, not just wetting it. You’d want to stick it in wash basin or bathtub and keep adding water until it stops soaking it up. THEN you compress it.

    Is it worth it? Maybe, if you have the time. And if you get warm fuzzies from making them. Otherwise, it’s just a curiosity.

  15. Sally599 says:

    The ink in newspapers used to be toxic, this is no longer the case in the U.S. but still applies in some other countries. So unless you still haven’t caught up on your recycling from 1947 you shouldn’t worry about the fumes. It might help to add wax to the bricks, that would make it similar to the artificial logs or some really great firestarters we made with woodchips and wax back in the girlscouts.

  16. bombeni says:

    We had an ice storm last week, lost electric power. A neighbor gave me some paper logs as I didn’t have wood. I finally got them to burn, and it’s true I had a huge mess left in my fireplace. Not only that, but I am noticing a fine powdery dust thru-out my entire living area, I mean everything is covered. Never again! I’d rather freeze.

  17. Janet says:

    I’ve used crumpled up paper from junk mail to personal stuff I should be shredding. The shredder stopped working, so I had a small bag full of paper waiting to be shred. Needed help getting my fire started? So I crumpled up paper just to get the small sticks to light and then on to the logs. You think this kind of paper burning would be ok?? Thanks!

  18. Fivecorners says:

    I stumbled across this website while searching for something that might be an upgrade of this product. Perhaps a product that would make bigger “bricks” or something. I already have one of these gadgets (got it about 20 years ago), and my experience was similar to NovySan (posted on 12/10/2007). Yes, you gotta soak the paper and mush it up. I used a 5-gallon pail partially filled with warm water, and I wore chemical-lab gloves that extended up to my elbows to mush up the paper. The light-blue gloves turned black from the ink, but as least my hands stayed clean. I’d like to try NovySan’s idea of using a paint mixing propeller powered by an electric drill.

    I slightly modified the brick maker by lining the inside with 1/8 inch hardware cloth (wire screen with 1/8 inch square holes). This helped to contain the newspaper “soup” that I poured into the brick maker which resulted in a more solid brick that didn’t shrink so much when it dried.

    Drying was another issue. Just letting the bricks sit on a table was impractical. Six weeks later, the bricks were still damp. Using scrap wood and a fan, I built a drying box. It contained several racks made out of wood frames and window screening that would hold the bricks. It dried the bricks in less than 3 days. But having a 1/6 horsepower fan motor running for that length of time caused me to think about how much energy I was consuming in order to be “green.” I plan to try setting the bricks on drying racks up in the hot attic during the summer and using good old solar energy to dry these things. But no matter how you do it, this process requires bringing back the lost art of Planning Ahead. If your heat goes out, don’t bother making these newspaper bricks and expecting to use them the same day.

    The bricks I made back then burned nicely, but not quite as nicely as good-quality firewood. I didn’t think they made good kindling; I just used them like regular wood. There’s no crackling and popping sound effects, either. Although I don’t have a supply of newspaper anymore (I just get what information I need on-line), I have other raw materials, especially paperboard (like cereal boxes–which shred nicely in my cross-cut paper shredder). I want to see if that stuff can be “bricked.” By the way, I agree with Keith (posted on 12/10/2007) about the contraption that rolls up newspaper sheets into a log. A family member bought one of those things–unfortunately, it turned out to be a waste of money. Those smoldering rolled-up newspaper logs are worthless.

    Making these newspaper bricks involves a certain amount of work. But if you’re into being “green” and you’re looking for an alternative to dumping more trash into landfills and the thought of doing some energy reclamation turns you on, this might be an interesting project.

  19. Graham Cole says:

    I have jus bought one of the contraptions and do believe it to be a good way of recycling and providing heat. However I do have a worry about weather it is considered legal for use in open domestic fireplaces, when it comes to emission levels etc. However my thoughts are if its illegal surely these machines could not be sold unless they had a specific warning on them.

    Does anyone know about the law and using these bricks domestically?

  20. Graham Cole says:

    I have jus bought one of the contraptions and do believe it to be a good way of recycling and providing heat. However I do have a worry about weather it is considered legal for use in open domestic fireplaces, when it comes to emission levels etc. However my thoughts are if its illegal surely these machines could not be sold unless they had a specific warning on them.

    Does anyone know about the law and using these bricks domestically?

  21. justine says:

    the logs fit perfectly on my radiator and dry out in days

  22. jml says:

    If you are drying the logs on the radiator, then you aren’t gaining anything, because you’re using extra energy from the boiler! There’s no free energy lunch!

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