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Glycerin Fire Starter Logs
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I hear some people do this. i don't have access to much wood waste here in the city, but I was just wondering if anyone does it, and what their experiences are.

Is it harder to do with the less viscous glycerin from KOH catalyzed reactions?

I could potentially get some wood chips instead of sawdust. Does anyone see a way to make a sturdy log out of Glycerin and Wood Chips?
 
Registered: March 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mix the glycerin with VO waste sludge 50:50, then mix in sawdust to achieve a consistency like mortar or stiff porridge, then pack into milk cartons. DO NOT use as fire starter, only add to a well developed wood fire. Never use these in a fireplace, only in an airtight woodstove with combustion air control. They produce a very hot fire so a firebrick lined combustion chamber is recommended.
Sawdust is readily available from most 'home depot' type stores where they cut wood to customer specifications, also cabinet maker shops.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ditto,same as John,except I leave the VO sludge out-just glyc and chainsaw dust-burn very hot-no smell issues yet-pack it in cardboard carpet tube sections.
 
Location: UK | Registered: October 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
They produce a very hot fire so a firebrick lined combustion chamber is recommended.


Like "melt through a steel drum" sort of hot? My shop heater is one of those double-drum heaters, but it doesn't presently have anything in the bottom in terms of a grate, bricks, etc.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Ryan P.,
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Having never burned my fuel 'bricks' in a stove of that type, I can't answer your question.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was able to find a product manual for the kit that converts 2 drums to that kind of stove, and it recommends keeping the fire on a grate or 2" thick layer of fire bricks. I got the stove second hand, so it didn't have any grate or bricks or anything by the time I got it.

Like everything else I build myself, the first time I burn a sawdust/slop/glycerin log I'll just have to stand over it and babysit it until I am convinced it will be OK. I don't plan to, or think I will need to, ever have a large fire going in the thing. The little paper fire I lit off to test for smoke leaks was enough to push hot air into the shop through the heat exchanger I built in the upper drum.

Hey, unrelated heater fan control issue: if the fan is kicked on by low temp, but for some reason I haven't feed the fire and the fire is all but out, how can I prevent the fan from running non-stop and pumping more and more cold air into the building? How can I default the fan to "Off" after, say, 20 minutes, even if the thermostat control says "On"?
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Get a thermostat that turns the fan on with a rise in temperature. These are typically called cooling stats. They're also used to start the fan in a forced air furnace. They're available in both adjustable and single temperature 'snap disc' configurations.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ryan,
You can get fire bricks reasonably priced at any place that sells wood stoves. They will prolong the life of your stove by many years. Even just burning wood will burn out the fire box in a short time without them.
For your fan control I would use one of these. Its whats used on all oil and wood fired furnaces and they are adjustable to what you need. They have a delay so the fan wont come on until the air is warm and will only blow until the air is cool or to what ever you set it to. They are inexpensive and can be salvaged from any old oil or wood furnace.
You can mount it in the plenum above your stove...
Good luck!
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<DCS>
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quote:
Originally posted by Ryan P.:
quote:
They produce a very hot fire so a firebrick lined combustion chamber is recommended.


Like "melt through a steel drum" sort of hot?


Ummm, No.
Not in a million years.

From time to time I have a read of some forums dedicated to folks who like to melt metal and make their own castings etc at home. A few of them can melt steel but it takes considerable effort and a refractory lined, forced air, high power foundry to do that and then it is usually an " only Just" proposition for the home user

A drum that is radiating the heat out the sides freely has no chance of melting what so ever.
Over time though, it could burn through but i have seen vids on you tube where people who say they have built these stoves and used them over 3 winters without any signs of deterioration of the drum. Most of these people are careful to leave an amount of ash in the bottom of the drum which insulates the steel from the coals.

As mentioned, lining the drum with brick or refractory cement where the fire burns will greatly reduce the chance of Burn through. You don't need to use fire brick either. The main difference between fire brick and regular bricks is the fire bricks won't loose their structural integrity like regular bricks will when exposed to fire.

I have made pizza ovens out of oil drums and just used a good layer of dirt on the bottom to protect the steel from exposure to the coals of the fire. This also has the benefit of providing a thermal mass which will hold the heat and radiate it back when the fire dies down.
 
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The fire bricks were pretty cheap: I grabbed 12 of them at Menards last night for $20. OK, so maybe that isn't that cheap, but cheaper than burning my heater shed down, and risking it spreading to my main shed.

And melting completely through may not be very likely, but I swear I have seen deformed sheet steel from being just hot enough to soften, coupled with a heavy load of logs on top if it. He ended up with a low spot in the shape of the end of a log.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you want to get fancy you could hook up an automatic damper and wire it through the control I mentioned above, it also has a high limit function that could dampen the fire automatically... Smile Cool
Here is a better look at that style of controller.
HERE
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<DCS>
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quote:
Originally posted by Ryan P.:

And melting completely through may not be very likely, but I swear I have seen deformed sheet steel from being just hot enough to soften, coupled with a heavy load of logs on top if it. He ended up with a low spot in the shape of the end of a log.


Steel ( sheet or otherwise) loses a great deal of its structural strength when heated especially to red hot but that is a lot different to it melting. As long as your heater is free standing and not holding your shed roof up, you won't have any problems.

I made a brick oven about 8 years ago out of regular bricks once I found out about the differences between fire brick and regular ones. as there is not structural load of any significance on the bricks in my application, they have held up perfectly well.

I did modify the oven some time back and dropped a brick from a low height onto the concrete. The thing shattered worse than glass would have. You certainly wouldn't want to build a household fireplace or chimney out of regular bricks but for non structural applications, they work fine.

I also put bricks and earth around the outside of the oven I made from a drum by sitting the bricks on wire and doubling it back on itself to hold them. This works well as a thermal mass to retain and regulate heat. If you found that your heater was too fierce then lost heat quickly, adding some mass to it like this may be helpful.

I lot of traditional European stoves work with a LOT of thermal mass and long Chimney runs to extract as much heat from the fuel as possible and then hold and slowly Radiate it back to the house. Normally there are only 2 fires lit a day in these fireplaces. They burn a hot fast fire and the heat captured radiates back out for the rest of the day or night.
 
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