I think that perhaps one of the things that makes camping so enjoyable is cooking food over an open fire, I love preparing something tasty and filling for appetites sharpened by a day in the open air. But damp wood, strong winds or cheap charcoal can make the process nigh on impossible and many of us faced with these problems would reach for the firelighters, but over the time I’ve been campfire cooking I’ve come to dislike these smelly, smokey little blocks.
A little research on Google and Pinterest has provided a number of cleaner (and often cheaper) options and the idea of reusing and recycling always appeals. From using pinecones, cotton wool, dryer lint, cardboard and teabags there are loads of ways of giving your fire or Barbecue a kick start without the smell. Brimstones had been doing a little Woodturning in the workshop and I’d unearthed a thick cardboard tube from the depths of the shed so I decided that I’d have a go at making my own.
Here are the results I’m really pleased, they burn well and for a long time too!
- If the tube is very long cut it into loo roll sized lengths, my tube was very thick so I used a small saw making sure I held the tube firmly. It has a tendency to slip at the start so watch your fingers.
- I then closed one end of each of the tubes with some gummed paper roll, you could also use masking tape.
- Using a short piece of dowel I then stuffed each roll tightly with sawdust. At first I thought that I’d have to pack them loosely or the wax wouldn’t soak in but soon found it went in fine so then packed them as tightly as I could.
- I chopped up lots of left over candle ends
- I propped the tubes upright in the lid of an egg carton and slowly poured in the molten wax. I used an electric wax pot to melt the wax but it can be melted using a double boiler. Remember melting wax can easily catch fire so never leave it unattended or melt on the stove without using the double boiler.
- After leaving the tubes to cool down -they get quite hot with all the wax – I used the saw to trim them to 5cm pieces and poked in a piece of wooden skewer to act as a wick.
One thing I did find is that they took a lot more wax than I first thought and I had to go hunting around to find more candles to fill them up. I suppose I could have just made less but I had the idea I wanted to get a good stock of them for coming season!
Or if you have a birthday coming up or don’t want to DIY these Moose shaped natural firelighters from RE are a lovely alternative.