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Burn briquette burn!
Newspaper Briquette Maker
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Newspaper Briquette Maker
Advantages: Reduces cost, effective
Disadvantages: Faffy, time consuming, need a constant supply of waste paper
As everyone knows, fuel is super expensive these days. When we moved in to a house with an wood burner I naively thought my fuel bills may be reduced, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I started looking into what I could do to reduce my costs for the fire and was really excited when I read about paper bricks that you can make at home for very little. I eagerly ordered my brick maker online which cost me £21 and I couldn't wait for it to arrive.
While the cost is noticeably reduced, the hassle increases and it is a little messy and a bit of a faff to prepare your paper bricks ready for the fire. To prepare, you need to soak ripped up pieces of newspaper overnight. This doesn't take too long actually as they don't need to be tiny pieces and can be quite big pieces ripped up. Once we get used to the machine we started getting fairly confident with it and now use about 90% of our paper and card waste, avoiding glossy ones.
The machine itself is pretty basic and easy to use. A metal box with a handle on either side, you simply fill a tray full of the pre soaked paper allowing it to compress together and bond to form the briquette. The forcing down of the handles is probably the trickiest manoeuvre of the process but still relatively easy once you get to grips with the machine. You do have to press down with the whole of your weight to get the handles forced down but I'm a bit of a weedy girl (my husbands words) but he doesn't find this an issue at all!
We find that one newspaper will give you around one briquette so we have regular 'pleas' to family members and friends to get their old newspapers. Each brick does actually (size wise) look like a proper brick so energy wise is pretty decent.
The process doesn't stop with the 'pressing' of the newspaper though and you do need to remove the excess water from the soaked paper. This is fairly easy if not time consuming. The majority will drain during the pressing but the remainder does need to be dried out so you need to ensure that you have the room to be able to do this. We find that the best method of drying is actually by starting the process in the summer months and leaving them somewhere warm and dry. This can literally be anywhere and at one point I was even drying mine on the window sills during the hot days! We then store them ready for the winter months when the fire will be in use most nights.
The process is messy so do make sure you are dressed correctly! Don't go wearing your best shoes or top and expect them to be unaffected because its going to happen! Also wear gloves, an essential. We actually get a little bit of a conveyor belt going and often found an afternoon on a Sunday in the summer was spent making bricks! Quite fun once you get started!
So, the most important bit, do they burn?! Yes! We have a wood burner rather than an open fire and they seem to work better contained in the burner. I gave some to my mum who has an open fire and they burnt but not nearly as effectively as mine did.
All in all a good method, if a little faffy, of reducing the costs of running a wood burner.
Summary: 4 stars
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