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Adding Fuel to the Fire
Newspaper Briquette Maker
Member Name: windwhisperer
Newspaper Briquette Maker
Date: 21/12/08, updated on 21/12/08 (5434 review reads)
Advantages: Uses up waste paper.
Disadvantages: Can be difficult to judge the amount to load and remove the inner after filling.
Lets face facts, there can't be many people left who are not looking for a way to save money on fuel bills, so a paper brick maker is possibly a good place to start if you have facilities for burning solid fuel.
With postage costs you will be looking to pay around £19-£20 for a solid metal version and they can be bought in several places on-line including many Eco shops.
Firstly, as I'm sure you've guessed, they come in handy for getting rid of all, or at least most, of your unwanted paper. I use newspaper, cardboard (but certain types won't soak) old envelopes and whatever junk mail is suitable.
Experience has proven that this is best soaked overnight at least, cardboard for even longer depending on how many thicknesses it is, although as the paper soaks it is easier to tear into smaller pieces.
You are also advised to add a tablespoon of bleach to the water which speeds up the action, however I feel that this can slow the burning process somewhat.
Added sawdust also helps a lot, in both holding the bricks together and prolonging the burning process.
When I first got mine I didn't find it particularly difficult to fathom out; you simply lift the inner compartment out, load the casing and place the inner back bringing the handles over to press it all down - what I did find was a problem was just how much paper to load the machine with. Too much and the handles wouldn't come over far enough, too little and it didn't squidge any water out.
I was also concerned that it wasn't getting rid of enough of the water (if I stood on the 'finished' bricks I could get rid of a lot more) but some retaining water is necessary if you don't want your bricks to fall apart!
There can also be a slight problem in getting the inner out after you have finished 'squidging,' but this gets better as time goes on. Practice does indeed make perfect, just make sure you have even leverage to pull on the inner, the heavy duty machine is strong enough to take it.
Drying the bricks can also be an issue too - be aware, you can wait a long time. One manufacturer's guidelines say 'A week in a greenhouse.' Well, a week in a summertime greenhouse can be an awful long time if you transpose it with, 'Winter in the shed!'
In fairness though most manufacturers do say these are best made in the summer and stockpiled for winter use, but being the impatient little madam I am, I simply can't wait for summer and also don't want to stockpile paper until the weather is better, so I make them now and turn them every few days to try and speed up the drying process.
The brick maker will save you money, but like most things involving 'make do and mend,' it will cost you your time, so you need to be aware of this, but overall, if you are prepared to put the time and effort in, your brick maker will save you cash and filling your recycling bin!
In summation - the main problem area is not with the machine but how long the bricks take to dry. You can't hurry this job along!
Summary: Time consuming and the bricks take time to dry - but well worth the effort!
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