tiredofspam says it's too quiet, so how about an on-topic post?
Over the last couple of years, I've been learning how to build fires.
Shop scraps are very often a large part of these fires, as they can be
great for not only kindling but as the main part of the fire. So, as a
guide, or perhaps a warning, here's what I've noticed using various shop
scraps to build fires.
For the main part of the fire, it's hard to beat the bits cut off from
logs that have been made in to lumber. They're usually small enough to
burn easily, and it's easy to get a lot of them when you're milling up
small pieces of wood-be firewood into usable lumber. Sometimes the logs
I work with yield only about 50% usable lumber, so there's quite a lot of
As kindling, I look for material that has come off my tools. If you want
to build a fire from a few embers, plane shavings are excellent. They
burn fast and because of their shape and thickness usually have a lot of
air between them. Because they do burn so quickly, though, a mountain of
them can be reduced to almost nothing in less than 5 minutes.
From the power tools, jointer shavings seem to work best. They tend to
be long, thin and fairly uniform, which allows air to move around ok. To
start a fire, you only need a gallon-sized bucket worth (which is also
their drawback--they're hard to get rid of). They have a tendency to
burn on the top, but not so much underneath. For flame, the charred
parts consistently need to be blown off.
Planer shavings work ok as well, but tend to scrunch together and not
burn cleanly. A fire of planer shavings needs constant attending to keep
Both jointer and planer shavings can be useful in starting a fire,
however. They ignite quickly and do burn hot, which is great for
catching smaller pieces on fire.
In between the main part of the fire and the kindling are the various
wood scraps. They're too small to be part of the main fire (a 5-gallon
bucket of them will burn in just a few minutes), but too large to be used
as kindling. Often, these pieces are useful as something for the
kindling to catch.
Sawdust is terrible for building a fire, but can add some entertainment
and excitement once the fire is built. Toss a handful on and watch the
show. Repeat as often as the dust holds out.
Make it to fit, don't make it fit.