Saturday, January 01, 2011

Self Feeding Fire?

I have researched, watched countless videos, etc. on the rocket stoves, small alcohol stoves, etc, but one thing I really wanted to know is how do I make a self feeding fire!

I saw one video that split a log about 1/2 way down and then put smaller twigs, leaves, etc., inside that split and that seemed to work fairly well..

I think that would be great if I was only considering cooking on it. But I want something that when the "dreaded" power goes out again, I can light it, get it going and leave it alone until morning. Something along the lines of Mr. Ronco's motto: Set it and Forget it!

I came across a stove that I am very interested in, and planning on making a small version first and see how that goes..if it works like it's stated then I would like to make a large version to heat my survival pod. (when and if that ever gets completed)

The stove I came across and am really, really impressed with is the SawDust Stove..

It's amazing! If you look at the detailed description, it is a "modified" version of the one listed on Mother Earth News website. It also give us a "guess-ti-mate" of how many US dollars might be needed to build our own (which I plan to do)! The "brits" seemed to have the sawdust stove down to a science, and it seems that this type of heating is common for them. Check out the link at the beginning of the can actually order one! But I like the fact that I can get 8 hours of unattended heat!

So until I can get my necessary supplies together to build a sawdust stove, there's a way to build a self-feeding fire, also referred to as an upside down fire. It seems it is the eXact opposite of how we've been taught (sounds normal doesn't it?) Well I found one..check this out

The method is simplicity itself: do exactly the opposite of the tipi method. (what we've been taught)

1) Put the largest logs at the bottom, ensuring there is no space at all between them.

2) Put a second layer of smaller logs on top of the largest, again ensuring there are no spaces between them.

3) Repeat until you get to the top, where you will have strips of crumpled paper and — at the very top — 3-5 fire-starter squares (my preference) or fire-starter oil sticks. My favorite sequence from bottom to top is large logs (unsplit), split logs, sapling wood, cedar shingle wood, then paper and fire-starting squares.

Some Benefits of the Upside Down Fire

Much more heat - The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross-ventilation, and there is little warmth wasted.

No smoke or minimal smoke - this is related to the thermodynamics of the flue air being heated faster, based on explanations I’ve read. Since most fireplaces aren’t actually very well designed for fires, this is a huge benefit. No backdraft smoke into the house.

No management - once it in process, assuming you don’t have gaps between logs, it will burn beautifully for 3-7 hours, depending on the amount of wood used. This alludes to one potential drawback: you must start with a substantial amount of wood. It’s less than you’d use over 1/3 the total burn time with the tipi method, but it makes it largely impractical for outdoor survival purposes.

No ashes - this amazed me. It all burns down to nothing. No waste at all as every fiber is converted into heat. Beautiful, in fact.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

1) The upside-down fire will take longer to produce large flames, and it might not look like much for about 20 minutes. Be patient. The goal is to create embers that then fall to the layer below, which is why there cannot by any spaces between logs.

2) This is important: ensure that the paper strips are bent or otherwise prop the fire-starting squares/sticks a bit off of the shingles or layer below. If you don’t have this slight elevation for the paper to catch, you will have trouble starting the fire and get frustrated.

Don’t let fire tending turn into another full-time job. Enjoy the warmth and reap the rewards of a better method, as counter-intuitive as it might be.

Seen this tip also..(makes sense again not normal..)

“One tip for a smoke free start is to light the end of a rolled up newspaper hold it up the chimney for 10 or 15 seconds before lighting the fire to get the airflow moving and avoid any back draft.”


The above information is NOT mine, I simply surfed the web, evaluated it, (made sure it was Stu-proof) and posted it here. If nothing else, so I will have it all in one place.

One Day Closer
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