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Thread: Fire Starter Cup Cakes

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Default Fire Starter Cup Cakes

    Sorry I don't have pictures of any but I have seen a few places in WA selling homemade fire starters. Basically some wood chips and some sort of waxy product in a cup cake paper cup. Sounds like a good idea and I would like to make about 100 to get through a winter. Although I'd rather have good dry seasoned birch in stead. Perhaps I make the starter cup cakes with birch bark in them but something to hold them together would be great. Anyone have any ideas?

    I think it is Paraffin that holds the chips together but wondering if that is the best option...there are many hits on the web but I'd rather hear it from someone in AK and through this forum.

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    I get egg cartons, fill up the little pouch with packed dryer lint and then pour wax over them, till it fills up, I use paraffin wax (little blue and white box in the cooking section, called parowax) they burn good for a couple minutes, I imagine if you put some wood chips in there it would be even more effective.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    If you use candles, this is a great use for the leftover wax. I always intercepted the bottom bit of candles that were about to get thrown away. Dump them in an old double boiler, or in a pinch you can take a small pan, put some water in it and fashion a "bowl" out of aluminum foil over the top. Melt the wax and then you can make tons of fire starters.

    My favorite is to tightly roll up some newspaper, tie it with bits of cheap string and cut it into sections that are a couple inches long (one string in the center of each cut section). Then you just dip the newspaper roll into the melted wax for a few seconds and then hang it to cool.

    What you're talking about is also very easy. Melt your old wax (or buy some paraffin blocks) in the double broiler and pour in some clean, dry sawdust. Stir it while you add enough sawdust to create an oatmeal texture. Scoop it into your cups and let it cool.
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    I do it pretty much like FFG but I use dried chain saw chips instead of lint. Light the egg carton and you have a fire. We used to do the newspaper thing when I was a scout master years ago...that works well too.

    I do like the idea of using the mini cupcake cups...a lot easier than stashing cardboard egg cartons which are getting harder to find...seems they are going to foam cartons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    I do it pretty much like FFG but I use dried chain saw chips instead of lint. Light the egg carton and you have a fire. We used to do the newspaper thing when I was a scout master years ago...that works well too.

    I do like the idea of using the mini cupcake cups...a lot easier than stashing cardboard egg cartons which are getting harder to find...seems they are going to foam cartons.
    Many (many) years ago when I was in Boy Scouts, we used to take a piece of corregated cardboard roll it up and pour melted parafin wax down into the corregation. seems we used to make a wick out of string dipped in melted wax, but I have to admit, time and distance has dimmed the memory considerably... I think the egg carton thing came into being about the time my middle aged boys were in scouting... For years (and years) we just carried a couple candle stubs in a ziplock bag with a little box of water proof matches... Still got one of those ziplock bags in my day pack.... never had to use it (thankfully)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    Many (many) years ago when I was in Boy Scouts, we used to take a piece of corregated cardboard roll it up and pour melted parafin wax down into the corregation. seems we used to make a wick out of string dipped in melted wax, but I have to admit, time and distance has dimmed the memory considerably... I think the egg carton thing came into being about the time my middle aged boys were in scouting... For years (and years) we just carried a couple candle stubs in a ziplock bag with a little box of water proof matches... Still got one of those ziplock bags in my day pack.... never had to use it (thankfully)
    I meant to add.. I gave up smoking back when a pack of cigarettes cost 11 cents, but to this day I still carry a cigarette lighter - just for lighting a fire...

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    I've used cheap cotton balls and vaseline for years and it has saved me numerous times when I've really needed fire...get the cheapest cotton balls you can buy because they are the easiest to unroll. get a good glob of vaseline and mush it into the cotton...they will even stay on fire and float if you're really bored! I keep a few dozen in an old tylenol bottle in my daypack; cheap, reliable, and light weight.

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    In 4-H, as a kid, I made what Old John was saying. Cardboard, and then I would roll it up so that the corregation holes were facing up, and put it tightly in an empty tuna fish can. Fill with parrafin, and stick a wick in it. I also have made the cupcake ones, basically wood chips mixed with wax and a wick...

    Funny story about the cupcakes...I was 7 and out hunting. I was known for eating anything I could find out hunting. So, my dad and his buddies happened to put a coffee can full of these cupcakes near the back of the jeep.... well, I sneak in there and see cupcakes and take a big bite out of one....... nasty! Needless to say, that little move gave me the nick name of cupcake for about 10 years with my dad and his buddies...
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    My son used egg cartons in cub scouts. They get piles of wood shavings from a local wood worker's surface planer. Fill the egg cartons up with the shavings. Heat parafin wax in a double boiler setup and fill the egg cartons up. Once hardened, break them apart along the individual egg cups.

    For the vasoline and cotton balls I melt the vasoline in a double boiler then drop in a bunch of cotton balls. Stir them up with a stick until they are good and coated.

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    Speaking of 4H...I coached a teenage 4H rifle team for a few years while my kids were shooting. I took 6 kids on a camping trip and of course we too rifles in case something needed to be shot. I told the kids to purt up their tents and then start a fire. I came out of the tent and saw 6 kids huddled around some rocks piled in a circle and they were pulling .22 bullets with a multi-tool and just as I got to the fire pit there was a whoosh and there was some dried grass on fire and they eventually made a nice fire from the gun powder but they all got their butts chewed wasting ammo. The next three days we had contests on who could build a fire the fastest...without gun powder!!
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    It's already been said but I'll add my twist. I use the paraffin wax (or ends of candles) melted down and mixed with wood chips. For cups I go to arbys and get those little paper cups for ketchup, the wax doesn't seem to run through like egg carton or cupcake paper. Let the wood chips soak up some wax then pour them into the cups. No need for a wick, just light the rim of the paper cup. For storage I place them one at a time in a newspaper plastic sleeve. tie it off, then add the next one so you windup with something like a string of pearls. Each one is water proofed, when you need to start a fire tear open a section.
    Each cup burns for about 15 minutes which so far has been long enough to start fires in PWS with damp drift wood. I've tried the dryer lint but that smolders and stinks. Unless you only washed cotton clothes you wind up with synthetic lints that stink when on fire. Added bonus with the wood chips is you get a nice little lump of hot coals to help even stubborn fires along.
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    The beauty of the egg carton is that it soaks up the wax and pretty much waterproofs itself but that ketchup cup idea is a good one for smaller firestarters.

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    I like the ketchup cup idea too, I'm looking to use these at home although normally just use newspaper and some dry birch bark.

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    Great find today...mini cupcake cups with snowmen on them. They are about the size of the ketchup cup but nicely decorated and left over from Christmas chocolate making....wife won't miss them.

    The mention of cardboard brought to mind the shreaded cardboard used in packing. It comes in 1" wide strips and would be almost perfect for the wrap and dip routine.
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    My brother showed me a firestarter that all Alaskans should cary in any pack or pocket. Tho they are getting harder to find wetlock boxes the ones that are waxed. Cut them just long enought to fit in a sandwich sip loc and strips about 1/8 inch. Each one is a little candle that always lights and can act for kindling if you can't find one. That and a magnesium fire starter and you are good to go.

    One should always test how to use the magnesium to get an idea of how much to shave off to get a fire going in a controlled area. Cold shakey hands and in a hurry makes it tough for the first time with mag. and flint....

    Good discusion.

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    George,

    Good idea!

    I use that stuff in my wood stove for my wife. She believes the wood stove should have a switch like a light and she throws crumpled newspaper in and puts a 6" log on top and lights it and can't understand why it will not start a fire. I've explained kindling many times and she does not seem to grasp the concept. The wax coated boxes we get from the butcher with frozen dead cow inside work for my wife since they burn a lot longer and hotter than the newspaper and she is usually successful in starting a fire.

    My point...if my wife can start a fire with wax coated cardboard...most anyone should be able to do so.
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    Used to save my chew cans (been chewing Copenhagen since a can was a nickel) and fill with rolled up corrugated cardboard . . . just like the tuna can thing. Fill with wax, whatever kind ya got, but leave 1/8” of the paper exposed to light. Great fire starter, burns a half an hour and hot enough I’ve cooked breakfest over just the snuff can. Now they ruined it and make them cans plastic but I have about 100 made up around here still.


    For the wood stove I just use charcoal lighter fluid, I buy a case from Costco every summer for about $30 and it lasts all winter and most of the summer . It works great even on snow covered wood, I don't got to mess around with it . . . squirt, light, enjoy a worm fire! Without it my wife couldn’t start a fire for nutin, pathetic to see her try acutely. I tell her over and over heat goes UP, put the fuel ON the flame not the other way around.
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    The paraffin and saw dust works real well and is water proof enough your wife and run one through the washer and dry it for you and it still works although it looks a little warped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redale View Post
    The paraffin and saw dust works real well and is water proof enough your wife and run one through the washer and dry it for you and it still works although it looks a little warped.
    I’m sure it would light just fine but my wife would sit it on top of a (as in one big round) log then gripe to me half an hour later “your wood won’t burn.”LOL The starter fluid trickles down under and in between so even though she puts it on top it works. She ran a box of birthday candles through the wash once and ruened most of my pants when they melted in the gas dryer.
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    I just did the wood chips and wax mixed and poured out on cookie sheet lined with news paper let cool turn out and cut in chunks.

    I turned it out when it was warm and dip strike anywhere matches in wax and embed in each chunk .

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