Compressed wood fire log idea

Hey Machine Shop guys and gals,
Do you all think we could make tooling to produce compressed wood fire logs from the sawdust in woodshop? I’ve seen options for doing this with papercrete (wet newspaper), but they are pretty messy. I was wondering if we could compress the wood with enough force, could we do away with the liquid and make the process a lot cleaner? I know given enough pressure, many material can become near solids.

This might be a fun reuse of some of the trash we already produce at DMS. It would make a product that many member might be interested in learning how to make or may just want for themselves. If we make a surplus, we might be able to sell them over the winter months, We could also pull in other committees like @Team_Science or @Team_Hatchers to build logs that burn different colors or logs meant to be survival fire starters.

I think the press at DMS would do a good job on something like this. I also have a mobile 30 ton hydraulic deep throw press I could bring in pretty easily for a class room based class. But, I don’t have the talents to make the press tooling. I would think tooling like this would do a good job. With ideal per portions being 3 inch ID maybe 12 inches tall.



I think this would be a fun idea, but I wouldn’t recommend we use our sawdust in this manner. There’s too many unknowns such as plastics, old varnished wood being refinished, and some hardwoods are toxic or known allergens. you definitely don’t want to breath the smoke that would come out of that.


Thanks for the support,
I see your concerns and would suggest that we tell anyone that burns the logs to not intentionally inhale the smoke as no smoke is good for your health.

1 Like

I have considered using a little for some inedible mushrooms, but I havent gotten there yet :joy:
I would only need a little though.

Yeah its a shame about all unknowns, if I knew it was clean with no plastics or varnishes it would be pretty useful. Also some species require hardwood only.

But I would also be hesitant about firewood since many people burn that in their homes, or everything else.


I’d like to do this with leaves in the yard. My current plan is to take shredded leaves and use a progressive corkscrew design to compress them. Think of a sausage grinder, except with leaves. :slight_smile: It needs something to stick them together, which could be some sort of wax or perhaps a water/flour mix.

You could then vacuum up your yard, compress them into firewood, and enjoy a nice fire pit using the logs.


I have a coworker that makes fire starters using sawdust and parafin I think.Maybe peanut shells too? anyway they work great for firestarters. He uses those little mini muffin paper cup things.


@Nick, I like how you’re thinking. I’ve often thought we could use sawdust mixed with parrafin to make firestarters for camping.

The best bet for what you’re describing might be log sawdust from the lathes, and bag it up before it gets mixed in with anything else.

We could offer the dust collector output to local car repair shops (with a disclaimer) since they’ll use it to clean up oil and other spills and not burn it.


hahahah beat you to it by seconds!!!


Every time I tried to burn leaves, I got a lot of smoke. Is there a way these leaf logs could burn without a lot of smoke?

Says the guy who lathes resin…

This reads so much like ‘pot’ language, lol.

I make these for starting chimneys of charcoal. I use pressboard-based egg cartons and shred the lids of the carton into dime-sized pieces. These go into the egg depressions in the base, and liquid wax poured over the top. The filler acts as a wick to burn the wax more slowly. They last perhaps five minutes - plenty of time to get the chimney of coals started.

In the past I’ve used either dryer lint or sawdust as the filler, but IMHO there is enough material from the torn up lid to make a suitable wick for the wax.

Salvation Army and Goodwill are good sources for cheap wax candles, esp. after the holidays. If you are/know a beekeeper, “slum gum” makes a great source for the wax.


Exactly, and I don’t want to breath plastic smoke… nor should others. Also if you’ve ever smelled burning Padauk, Yellow or Purple heart, Cocobolo, etc, it smells like what I think an unwashed clown suit on fire must smell like.


Bloodwood smells like a cattle holding pen when heated. Not excellent.


I get all my leaves on to my patio or sidewalk. I will run the damn thing over with my lawn mower, it’s important to be over a hard surface to get it right. It will take leaves down to almost nothing, It looks like dirt. I put that around my foundation to keep the moisture in. Takes maybe 5-6 bags to 1-2.


Haha nope. Oak leaves to power a camp stove. Stop trying to get me in trouble lol :rofl:

1 Like

that’s exactly how I use mine. The egg carton is a really good idea.


We could have a “clean wood waste only” bucket in wood shop with a large symbol based message above it making it clear we want only clean wood - no plastics, adhesives, varnishes or paint.

Too bad we aren’t farther north so we could produce wood pellets for heaters & stoves. But if we could produce green fire starter logs - those seem to be selling like crazy locally.

Imagine a hollowed out log hull drilled w/ small holes and packed with clean wood shavings coming off the lathe. Then make a flat edge on 2 long faces of the log - laser a DMS message on one side. Easily done with what we have today.

Can we sell these out of woodshop committee? Perhaps make them as part of the woodshop basics class and eliminate the fee for the class whilst eliminating shop waste. Then maybe routinely have a starter log party to make more.


I totally see this as a possible fund raiser. I wouldn’t lock it to the woodshop committee though, I would instead suggest the funds go to whatever group is willing to make the logs.


sell them to barbecue people. There is a place out near Aledo that sells them for the ceramic egg thingies

1 Like