How to Make Firebricks (fire logs) and Wood Stove Logs for Free!

By Todd May 18, 2016 08:30

How to Make Firebricks (fire logs) and Wood Stove Logs for Free!

by Survival Sherpa

Today we’re proud to present another DIY project from a fellow Doing the Stuff Networker. Jamie Burke is a master at repurposing trash and junk. His latest project shared on our DTSN Facebook Group not only saves money but would be very useful both now (free is always good) and after an SHTF event.

If you’d like to see more of how he and our other members are Doing the Stuff, join us on our journey to self-reliance and preparedness!

Firebricks and Wood Stove Logs Tutorial

This process only requires: Two buckets, a drill (or stabbing weapon), a piece of wood (or bottom of another bucket), kinda a custom drill bit, water. + your TRASH!

Out of all of the physical spam you receive in the mail, leaves you rake, dead foliage, paper towel rolls, paper plates, napkins, beer boxes, egg cartons, etc., etc., etc., (any biomass material you can think of) – why not turn it into useable logs for your furnace, campfire, or cooking? Just don’t use the plastic coated things.

I’ve seen ‘devices’ you can buy that makes ‘newspaper logs’, but they never seem efficient, require you to pre-shred, take way too much time and the logs are not very solid. This is a much better method and doesn’t really cost anything.

Step 1


Holy Bucket

Get two 5 gal buckets. $3 each at Walmart. Drill a lot of holes in it, about 2 inches down from the lips and around 3/16 size-ish. I used a soldering iron. You can use a screw driver and stab holes all in there. Go around all the bucket and on the bottom. [Todd’s note: Buckets can be had for free at bakery’s and construction sites]


Un-Holy and Holy

Step 2

Place the holy bucket inside the other normal bucket. Start putting your papers, leaves, bio material in it. Add your water and fill’r up. Doesn’t really matter if you have too much water. You can leave these buckets of water setup by the mailbox, then just walk by and toss stuff in.


Don’t Judge my Trash

Step 3

You need a custom drill bit, which I have. A good thing to do is find an old table saw blade and weld it to s shaft of steel. This is “the hardest” part of this setup. Drill away and in seconds you will have a nice pulpy wet mess.

Drill attachment turns it into mulch

Drill attachment turns it into mulch

New and improved stirring attachment/zombie slayer

New and improved stirring attachment/zombie slayer

Step 4

Next, pull out the holy bucket and let it drain. I put the draining bucket on top of the other bucket to save the water – you can re-use the same water many times.

Reuse this water for your next batch

Reuse this water for your next batch

Step 5

You should have a press that goes far down into the bucket to press out the remaining water. I found a bucket that someone cut the bottom off.. well perfect. But you will probably want to place a bucket down on some wood, trace around the base and cut out that piece of wood to use as a press.

The wet fire cake ready for drying

The wet fire cake ready for drying

Step 6

Set your press inside the bucket over the pulp. Then I set the re-used water bucket inside of that bucket (because water is heavy). That will work over time. I also sat on it.. put my anvil on it.. and stood in it. It’s pretty quick. whatever heavy you have for the top.


Step 7

Now once most the water is pressed out – take it out to a sunny/dry place. Turn over the bucket and tap on the top. It will take some time to dry, depending on your location. We live in the desert so this will happen fast. If you want it to dry faster, cut these logs as you would a pizza, into sections.

The wet fire cake ready for drying

The wet fire cake ready for drying

Once dry, these will burn a long time and cost you: nada.


Free firebricks dried in the desert!

This article was written by Todd and first appeared on Survival Sherpa 

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What a Prepper Should Do Around The House

By Todd May 18, 2016 08:30
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  1. Dsiebert24 May 18, 13:00

    You’re instructions sucked

    Reply to this comment
    • Peter-Fitzsnuggly May 18, 14:00

      Really a comment like that is not needed or required.
      The instructions were a little vague but the jest of it is there and very easy to follow. For one as a prepper you better be able to improvise-adapt- & overcome, read between the lines and come up with your own answers.
      I would like to thank the writer for sharing this and thank them for giving me my own idea on how to improve and make this my own.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 18, 15:16

        I agree, Peter. Comments such as posted do very little to drive an intelligent discussion. If there are errors or mistakes in the original article, it is much more constructive to post a helpful addendum to the original article or point out errors in the original article. I have tried the pulp logs as I pointed out in my post. This post opened my eyes to a larger scale operation than I had used and I may try the author’s method. It certainly is a process to tuck away in one’s memory banks for possible future use.

        Reply to this comment
      • Tack May 22, 11:24

        GIST!!! not jest. I agree not elaborating did squat to address his confusion.

        Reply to this comment
    • Redfox007 May 18, 18:57

      Only to the illiterate who can’t read. I read them and they were quite explanatory. If you don’t know that word, look it up in the dictionary. That is a book which explains what words mean…

      Reply to this comment
      • mustang6984 May 19, 05:11

        “You’re instructions sucked”
        Says the guy who will be among the first to die off when the SHTF.
        I read them…once…and fully understood them. So…if you can’t understand them…perhaps something else “sucks”.
        Either way…feel free to GO AWAY!

        Reply to this comment
        • Tony May 19, 20:02

          I agree. The instructions don’t suck; it’s not complicated. Water and paper/trash in a bucket with holes in it so water can drain. Modified drill bit to simplify shredding. Press to expel water. Remove and let dry. If someone can’t figure this out, perhaps he/she should focus on keeping up with the Kardashians.

          Reply to this comment
    • DW111 October 21, 18:33

      The instructions were through, so thinking you may have some comprehension problems.

      Reply to this comment
      • Beth September 18, 20:07

        I would use smaller containers,like butter tubs,they dry faster,and fit in,the stove with out having to be cut.

        Reply to this comment
    • pak123 February 21, 16:03

      your ignorance is profound!

      Reply to this comment
      • A. October 18, 18:16

        Nothing complicated about these instructions, they were brief and to the point.

        I saw a video on youtube, on how to clean up your yard, and make fire starters at the same time. Here is the link:

        Reply to this comment
      • A.E. October 18, 18:23

        Great info, easy to understand.
        You can also roll up long grass,or dead lily fronds to make great fire bundles.
        I saw a video on youtube, called
        make free fire starter bundles with yard waste,
        guess I cannot add a link here, as when I tried to
        my comment did not post

        Reply to this comment
    • StoneyB October 19, 00:53

      Your. At least get right.

      Reply to this comment
  2. dennis May 18, 13:04

    looks like fun to make -what about after it dries you add a little bit of kerosene to the dry mixture to make sure it lit up quicker

    Reply to this comment
  3. Cecountry May 18, 14:48

    I think it’s a fantastic idea. I’ve done the newspaper logs and don’t have a lot of luck with them. All the junk mail and the paper towel rolls , toilet paper rolls paper plates it would take long to have a bucket full. Not sure but I would probably make mine about 1/2 the thickness of yours . My hardest would be the drill think you made. Being a female I’d had more problems with that but have some sons and gr-sons that probably could make it for me. thanks for sharing

    Reply to this comment
  4. Cadit May 18, 14:51

    I agree with Peter; Dsiebert24 is just a neg. type of person or not a prepper; which would explain the lack of knowledge or comprehension on Dsiebert24’s part.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Cadit May 18, 14:56

    As Cecountry pointed out that he puts his empty towel rolls in the mix, I keep them and cut them down and make smoke bombs out of them. I keep the empty toilet paper rolls also. They are a lot of fun out camping and you want to mess with your comrades.

    Reply to this comment
  6. left coast chuck May 18, 15:10

    I tried pulp bricks before, using the cuttings from my shredder which broke down quite nicely. It was a lot of work and the bricks didn’t release a lot of heat. It seemed to me my time was better spent cutting wood. If one is in a desert location as this writer seems to be, this is an alternative to wood or cow paddies but if wood is available, most wood releases more heat than these pulp bricks and is the same or less labor. An idea to tuck away. For pulping, one can buy a 5-gallon paint mixer at big box hardware stores or paint stores that goes on a 3/8 drill in place of making your own saw blade pulper. They are cheap. I would like the sieve bucket with window screen, otherwise you wind up with tiny paper fragments all over the ground and it makes a mess. The finer the sieve, the less detritus from the water extraction step.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 18, 15:11

      That should be “I would line” rather than I would like.”

      Reply to this comment
    • Redfox007 May 18, 18:56

      If you do the squeezing out the water step with the holy bucket inside the non holy bucket, sitting on a spacer to lift it off the bottom, it contains any small fragments in the water bucket.

      i.e.: Water bucket, (without water in it,) spacer like a piece of wood the size of the bucket bottom, then the holy bucket, you can squeeze the water out into the water bucket.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Steve May 18, 17:30

    I think a brick size would work a little better

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 18, 19:27

      I bought the brick making device that you see advertised. I sent it back. It wasn’t sturdy enough to squeeze the water out of the slurry. If I pressed hard enough, the handle bent and the pressure device also bent. Of course, I could have applied less pressure and stood there all day gently squeezing water out of the slurry, but then I could have spent all day cutting wood and had a lot more to show for my time. Take my advice, do not spend your good money on that brick making device that you see advertised. The beauty of this system is you put weights on the slurry and then walk away and come back much later when the water has self-extracted.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Carl May 18, 18:52

    An idea for a pulping. An old circular saw blade on a piece of all thread, add a couple bolts and lock washers

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 18, 19:23

      I don’t think you could get the nuts tight enough to hold the blade once it hits the slurry. I think the blade would rotate on the threaded rod. I believe it must be fastened some other way. Lacking welding it to the rod, one could cut a square notch in the rod and the blade and insert a square key. Even using shake-proof washers or lock washers I don’t believe would hold against the slurry as the blade rotated. Could be wrong, but I think if you tighten down on the nuts as tightly as possible you will strip the thread out. I am certain the threaded rod is 1/2″ and you can get a lot of torque on it, but it is a big load that you are moving too. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t hold.

      Reply to this comment
      • dagger May 26, 05:11

        You can easily tighten nuts on all thread tight enough to hold the blade. That’s no different than the bolts holding your car together.

        I’ve done it. It works well.

        Reply to this comment
      • Andie June 28, 19:01

        What about double nutting. Tighten two nuts against each other on either side of the blade. That might hold betther than just the torque of on nut against the blade.

        Reply to this comment
  9. Sue May 19, 15:43

    I had trouble with the saw blade to cut up the paper so I use a paint stirrer that fits into my drill. I let the paper sit till I can get to it and it may take a few more seconds or mins to get the pulpy mixture, but it seems to work really well for me. I love it, I get tons of paper trash and now I don’t have to pay to have it hauled away.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Keith Ress May 20, 03:16

    I use dryer lint, old candle wax and a paper egg carton and break them off as you need them

    Reply to this comment
  11. Keith Ress May 20, 03:17

    Are you in AZ???

    Reply to this comment
  12. House Cat July 30, 00:06

    Loved the idea. Some people should be more thankful!

    Reply to this comment
  13. Seatoad October 6, 13:09

    This was a great idea, I used it as a lesson for my children. We made some and used them in the fire pit when we went camping. The wood in the area when we arrived was a little damp but we put one of these down first and then add kindling and other smaller wood and it lit right up and burned hot enough to dry out the other wood. We have made more and I use them in our fire pit in the back yard.

    Reply to this comment
  14. DG-WTF October 21, 16:00

    At first I started cutting cardboard boxes to size and soaking them and then rolling them into logs after watching these U tubes –I now run paper , cardboard through a micro shredder and soak it and cut some 6″ metal air conditioning duct to 15″ length and put a cap on the bottom with a lot of holes drilled all around and clamps around the duct about every 2″ up the length to keep it closed because it splits down the length – us a Mastic mixing tool and drill make it into oatmeal consistency – use a kitty litter spoon and load the duct pipe full put a weight on it to compress – I use an old AC condenser fan motor – it fits perfect in the 6″ diameter – I drain it into a bucket to reuse the water for the next one — once the motor weight stops compressing I use a harbor freight 12 ton press to compress it more – I use a 5 gal bucket of soaking wet shredded paper to fill the 6″ by 15″ long metal duct pipe – then I remove the bottom with a hammer and screwdriver – remove the clamps split open the seam up the length — remove the wet log – put in the sun to dry and turn it over every day until dry

    Reply to this comment
  15. George October 21, 16:52

    Add plastics to increase the BTU value of the log. Avoid PVC as it is toxic when burned. (Releases chlorine gass) Stick to “ethylene’s such as milk jugs, shampoo bottles, etc., avoid abs, and nylon as they smoke too much.

    Reply to this comment
  16. loco October 22, 01:48

    Sorry stupid shit…. Not worth the time it may take…. Nothing to see here, move along children….

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck December 30, 02:34

      @loco: Well, I was going to comment on your name vis a vis your post, but I will eschew negative comments. As I pointed out above, I felt my time spent cutting wood was more productive than this method of producing fire material. However, that assumes that wood will always be available. If it isn’t, other media will assume greater importance. This is a good back up method to produce fuel for fires. While I haven’t compared it to cow patties, I suspect it produces more BTUs than cow patties and less odor. We don’t know what circumstances may face us in end of the world situation and the more knowledge we can store away, the better shape we will be in to survive. Negative comments such as yours do nothing to add to the general knowledge we all will need to survive.

      Reply to this comment
  17. Mark October 24, 01:01

    It’ll be hard for me to do this. Most of my biodegradable paper goes into the compost pile or the center of my keyhole garden. Although, this might be a good use for the thermal printed cash register receipts and beer boxes.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Dave February 20, 17:36

    The saw blade is an excellent use of re purposing something that is worn out but I may try and electric fence post. It is just a rod of about 4′ long with a angle piece welded on to it about 8″ to 10″ from the bottom. Cut off maybe 1/2 of the bottom part and how much of the top you want left. This also works great for mixing 5 gallon buckets of paint

    Reply to this comment
  19. VEE3 April 5, 07:08

    use shredded paper or a paper shredder, then compress it

    Reply to this comment
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    • Liz December 4, 01:13

      I am very glad you don’t monetize your site. If you did I would miss out on all this great information. So thank you very much for being willing to share.

      Reply to this comment
  21. Mike December 18, 18:02

    Excellent thank you for sharing that with everyone! !!

    Reply to this comment
  22. ACE August 27, 01:09

    Your instructions were great,the person with the nasty comment will be remembered in my book.For the rest of us we are smarter than 5th grader.Thanks for the instructions.

    Reply to this comment
  23. AirAngel February 9, 01:36

    I really like the content…..I have another idea about, fire logs….that may help….I receive lots of magazines, so, the question was to myself…..what do i do with them after I have enjoyed all i want from them…..and paper towel tubes, what to do with them….and the next thing is, roll those magazines up tight enough to fit inside the tubes till there is a small hole in the middle for air to go through and use small pieces of candle wax and strings as lighter points…..on the ends…..use them as fire logs…..

    Reply to this comment
  24. Ace February 22, 11:55

    As far as nuts working their way loose,try running the drill in reverse

    Reply to this comment
  25. Freakie One June 18, 13:05

    Has anyone tried to turn these ‘logs’ into charcoal? Just curious, wonder if they’d burn hotter.

    Reply to this comment
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