Yesterday I told you how I had issues getting rid of scrap wood – no matter how small – today I’m going to show you my issues getting rid of wood shavings. Yup, I’m that neurotic. Sawdust can go, but when you have shavings from a planer then my brain says “there must be a use for this?” Today I’ll show you how I repurposed those shavings into do it yourself fire starters!
I was researching uses for wood shavings and I came across a few ideas that seemed interesting;
- weed killer in your garden – but if you use too much you will find that mushrooms will grow
- sopping up oil stains from your garage or driveway – but then how do you dispose of what is now highly flammable wood shavings?
- compost for your garden – but it needs to be mixed with manure or some other nitrogen rich ‘stuff’ and you can only add small amounts (refer back to #1)
- DIY fire starters – FINALLY!
I picked up some cupcake liners and a few votive candles from the dollar store and set to work.
If you are using cheap candles, you’ll want to remove the wicks, or you could use melting wax from your local craft store.
Melt your candles in a double boiler then pour over the wood shavings.
While the wax is still warm and melty, stir your wood shavings to try to get as much of them coated with wax as possible.
Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners and place handfuls of your waxed wood shavings into each cup.
Press down firmly.
I topped my DIY fire starters with extra sawdust, but I’ll tell you not to bother. If it’s not coated (lightly) with wax, it won’t do anything.
That’s it! You’re ready to go camping, to the cottage or to have a fire in your backyard!
I tested one out in a bowl in my backyard (I didn’t want to post an article for a project that didn’t work). I lit the cupcake liner on the fire starter and let ‘er go.
… and go…
My little DIY fire starter lasted 20 minutes before there was nothing left but the base of the cupcake liner. That’s more than plenty of time to get a good campfire going, and I’d say enough time to even roast marshmallows over one of these by itself.
I should note that my wood shavings were from un-treated pine and spruce boards. I would not use shavings from pressure-treated or otherwise chemically enhanced (or glued) wood.
I filled a small bag with wood shavings, no wax, and set it on fire to see if there was a difference.
Not a pyro – this was a scientific experiment (wink).
The bag struggled to catch fire – every breeze seemed to blow it out. Without having any Girl Guide badges for fire starting, I’d say that a bag of shavings is somewhat useless. It smoked more than burned and certainly wouldn’t be much use to getting a fire started.
I made up little paper bags and tucked a DIY fire starter in each one to gift to neighbours and friends with fire pits and/or campers. Package it up with a couple of roasting sticks and a bag of marshmallows and you have a pretty cute ‘start of summer’ gift or treat for your family!
Would I make these again – given that I still have a yard bag full of wood shavings?
Not a chance.
I’m pretty sure my muffin tin is ruined and I wrecked a mixing bowl by setting a fire in it. My inexpensive repurposing project is going to cost me more than store-bought fire starters would have (face-palm).
Looks like I’m growing mushrooms for the neighbourhood this summer.
If you liked this, then you’ll probably LOVE: Personal (mini) fire pit
Have a great one!