Do-It-Yourself Fire Starters.
It was a LOT of lint.........
Now I love a cozy fire in the fireplace, but last I checked, I'm not exactly the female version of Mykel
Hawke or Bear Grylls, so rubbing sticks together anytime I would like to get a fire going is not happening.
We DO have traditional fire starters. These are some of my favorites. They are small, less messy, but still burn for about 12 minutes. They do have a strike pad on the back, but honestly, its crap. I use a candle lighter to set it ablaze, and it works beautifully. Right now, they are showing to be $8.96 online at Walmart.com.
However, I got to thinking about what we would do in an emergency situation. You know - that day your local forecast calls for 1-2 inches of snow and you get 6 feet.............AND you forgot to stock up on firestarters. You know, the "oh, crap!" situations that you hope you never have but still need to be prepared for.
So, I thought today would be as good a day as any (barring any 6 foot snowfalls) to try these suckers out. I have seen many blogs and websites with instructions on how to make fire starters. As a general standard, they all agree on two key elements: EMPTY TOILET PAPER ROLLS and DRYER LINT.
Lucky for me (and you, dear readers.....and you), I have been saving both up for a while, just for this auspicious occasion. I did what pretty much all the instructions said to do. I crammed the dryer lint into the cores of empty TP rolls.
Since the lint tried to escape out the ends, I folded in the ends somewhat, which helped much more than I actually expected it to. And - Voila!! Five minutes, 2 TP roll cores and a huge handful of dryer lint and my homemade fire starters are ready for testing. Easy as...........well...............shoving dryer lint in an empty toilet paper roll.
I set up my logs with one of my new fire starters nestled between them, just as I would my fancy-schmancy, store-bought type.
I lit one end - it blazed up quickly. A good sign, if I do say so myself. I moved on to the other side and lit it, and then stood back. Unfortunately, after about 15 seconds, both flames went out completely, and they began to smoulder.
I figured they just had not been lit long enough to catch the lint, so I lit them again, holding my lighter on the lint itself long enough to catch it. No luck - within seconds of catching fire, the flame would again die out and smoulder profusely. I could NOT get it to catch. I eventually had to use one of my standard fire starters just to get the fire started.
(A trusty Strike-A-Fire fire starter at work)
The worst part of the fire starters was discovered after the fire was going. Since the logs caught fire, the DIY fire starter was able to burn. Now, when I put the dryer lint into the tubes, it smelled like the Downy Fabric Softener I use. Even my hands smelled sweet from touching the dryer lint. However, as we have a dog, and our clothing inadvertently collects her fur, her fur is mixed into that dryer lint. As sweet as it smelled going into the fire, as it burned, it emitted a foul odor. Not just an "Eww, what stinks?" kind of smell........ It smells like I'm burning a dead body in my fireplace! My neighbors are going to think I'm running a backwoods crematorium, and as I haven't even had the chance to meet them yet, that doesn't bode well for making a great first impression!
Has anyone else made their own fire starters? If so, what were your results? Did they work, or were they a bust like mine? I'd love to know if they worked, and if you know where I went wrong. I'm all for giving it another go, but next time sans stench-induced headache.
Thoughts, comments or questions? Leave them below!