I have officially burned my first paper pulp fire brick. In case you are unfamiliar with what I am talking about, I did a recent post over how to make your own paper pulp fire bricks for burning in your fireplace. I would say that the results are mixed but more on that in a moment. As you’ll recall we compost our paper products but we have a lot of paper products so when I was told about this concept I decided that for the cost of the materials and time it was worth giving it a try. After the paper was soaked, shredded, and turned into a soggy mass of pulp, I used 5 gallon buckets of water to compress the pulp into the brick.
You can tell from the picture that the bricks are still very wet. Given our current weather it took about 10 days for the bricks to dry out well.
To test how well the paper pulp fire brick burned you can see that I opted for a nice solid bed of coals but other than the charcoal there are no other logs or wood burning with the brick.
The underside of the fire brick caught fire within a matter of seconds and flared up but then settled into a nice burn.
After a short time the paper brick would just smolder so I flipped it over. You can see that the outside is well burned and has some coals. The other side flared and then settled in to a slow burn. After a short while the other side slowed to a smolder as well.
It’s a bit difficult to see in the photo but once the paper pulp fire brick reached a certain point it didn’t burn well on it’s own. I broke it in half and got a few additional minutes of burn time. Since there was still quite a bit of brick left that wouldn’t burn on it’s own I added some smaller wood to the fire and the brick continued to burn until it was all consumed. I timed the burn from start to finish and I got approximately 45 min of burn time out of this particular brick although I believe that it would vary based on thickness, moisture content, and compression of the brick.
Take Away From This Experiment
- Time to create the necessary equipment to create the paper pulp fire brick was approximately 30 minutes
- The paper required a day to soak before I churned it into pulp
- I compressed it for an additional 24 hours
- Dry time varies greatly based on thickness of the brick, ambient temp, sunlight, and humidity
- Burn time also varies based on the thickness, moisture content, and compression of the brick
Is it worth it?
This is a harder question to answer. If you are an extremely busy person and find it hard to fit extra projects into your schedule, this is probably not for you. If you don’t mind adding a few minutes to your day and you can get a routine going with making the pulp bricks it might be a worthwhile venture. Since I have the equipment already I will like it keep it set up off to the side somewhere and continue to use it. However, I don’t feel that the time invested vs burn time is sufficient to justify any additional set-ups to create multiple fire bricks. I will continue to recycle some of my junk mail in this fashion but, sadly, I don’t believe that this will supplement my firewood as much as I had hoped.
I hope that my experiment will help you to decide if it is worthwhile for you. Let me know if you move forward with this project. Have a great day and God bless!