Throwback to November 27, 2010

NOTE: This post first appeared on our former blog called Our Cedar Cottage. Now that we have our own domain name, I’m moving a few posts over that we want to save. Please enjoy this flashback with us.

How to make fire starters …

We finally found the time yesterday to make fire starters.

Normally we use dryer lint, which works very well. When we lack old candle stubs, Gulf Wax works well and is very cheap.

This time, however, I had a number of old scented candles in various sizes. We also decided to try pine wood shavings in place of the dryer lint.

Dad keeps his fire starters in an old aluminum pot, which doubles as our wax melting pot. The process of melting the wax would have gone more quickly if we had chunked up the old candles first.

I had two candles still in the jars, so we softened them by putting them in a pan of hot water. We put a rack underneath to prevent breaking the jars.


A nearby nursing home saves all of their cardboard egg cartons for us to recycle as fire starters. We plan to raise chickens next year, and will set aside the cleanest cartons at that time for our eggs.

We filled each carton with pine shavings. We found that they worked best when the shavings were contained in each cup and not mounded over.


We stirred the wax gently to prevent splatters. An old spoon found among the camping utensils served for stirring and for ladling out portions.

We found that hotter wax provided better saturation and a more cohesive fire starter. Just be careful as it tends to have a boiling action when it is poured into the cups.


I had trouble getting a fire going today after a busy morning kept me from tending it. Placing a fire starter under a log that is supported by a couple of small kindling rounds will provide a flame lasting 10 to 15 minutes with plenty of air flow. That is usually enough time for the fire to catch.

The fire starters reside in my old cast iron dutch oven on the hearth.

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