How to Make Firebricks (fire logs) and Wood Stove Logs for Free!

Today we’re proud to present another DIY project from a fellow Doing the Stuff Networker. Jamie Burke is a master at repurposing trash and junk. His latest project shared on our DTSN Facebook Group not only saves money, but would be very useful both now (free is always good) and after a SHTF event.

If you’d like to see more of how he and our other members are Doing the Stuff, join us on our journey to self-reliance and preparedness!

Here’s Jamie’s down and dirty tutorial…


Firebricks and Wood Stove Logs Tutorial

This process only requires: Two buckets, a drill (or stabbing weapon), piece of wood (or bottom of another bucket), kinda a custom drill bit, water. + your TRASH!

Out of all of the physical spam you receive in the mail, leaves you rake, dead foliage, paper towel rolls, paper plates, napkins, beer boxes, egg cartons, etc., etc., etc., (any biomass material you can think of) – why not turn it into useable logs for your furnace, campfire, or cooking? Just don’t use the plastic coated things.

I’ve seen ‘devices’ you can buy that makes ‘newspaper logs’, but they never seem efficient, require you to pre-shred, take way too much time and the logs are not very solid. This is a much better method and doesn’t really cost anything.

Step 1

Get two 5 gal buckets. $3 each at walmart. Drill a lot of holes in it, about 2 inches down from the lips and around 3/16 size-ish. I used a soldering iron. You can use a screw driver and stab holes all in there. Go around all the bucket and on the bottom. [Todd’s note: Buckets can be had for free at bakery’s and construction sites]


Holy bucket


Un-holy and holy

Step 2

Place the holy bucket inside the other normal bucket. Start putting your papers, leaves, bio material in it. Add your water and fill’r up. Doesn’t really matter if you have too much water. You can leave these buckets of water setup by the mailbox, then just walk by and toss stuff in.


Don’t judge my trash

Step 3

You need a custom drill bit, which I have. A good thing to do is find an old table saw blade and weld it to s shaft of steel. This is “the hardest” part of this setup. Drill away and in seconds you will have a nice pulpy wet mess.


Drill attachment turns it into mulch


New and improved stirring attachment/zombie slayer

Step 4

Next, pull out the holy bucket and let it drain. I put the draining bucket on top of the other bucket to save the water – you can re-use the same water many times.


Reuse this water for your next batch

Step 5

You should have a press that goes far down into the bucket to press out the remaining water. I found a bucket that someone cut the bottom off.. well perfect. But you will probably want to place a bucket down on some wood, trace around the base and cut out that piece of wood to use as a press.


Pulp on the left. Found this next to my house (press). Or just trace a bucket on wood and cut out the wood piece for a press.

Step 6

Set your press inside the bucket over the pulp. Then I set the re-used water bucket inside of that bucket (because water is heavy). That will work over time. I also sat on it.. put my anvil on it.. and stood in it. It’s pretty quick. whatever heavy you have for the top.


Step 7

Now once most the water is pressed out – take it out to a sunny/dry place. Turn over the bucket and tap on the top. It will take some time to dry, depending on your location. We live in the desert so this will happen fast. If you want it to dry faster, cut these logs as you would a pizza, into sections.


The wet fire cake ready for drying

Once dry, these will burn a long time.. and cost you ~ nada.


Free firebricks dried in the desert!

Todd’s note: Hope you enjoyed Jamie’s tutorial. He’s a fine example of people who have traded theory for ACTION! Come check out all the other folks busy Doing the Stuff!

If you try it yourself, we’d like to know how it turns out.

Keep Doing the Stuff of self-reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube and Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

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Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 88 Comments

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88 thoughts on “How to Make Firebricks (fire logs) and Wood Stove Logs for Free!

  1. trampart

    I thought you said, Firebricks?” I wanted to know how to make “firebricks,” not paper bricks that would burn up in the fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the misunderstanding. We’ll have to do a diy firebrick post just for you. Then you can burn this ‘firebrick’ in your real firebrick oven. Fire cake may have been more appropriate, huh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trampart

        I’ve actually been experimenting with making a fireproof paper brick for a 13-brick rocket stove, (unsuccessfully I might add).


      • That’d be cool to see, trampart! Keep failing forward!


      • Trampart is not the only one who thought we would be learning how to make Firebrick. :-\


      • James

        I to started reading as was thinking fire brick for my stove,so,will look forward to a “fire brick” writeup,will say,have found em pretty cheap at a nation wide supply store but just like making things,keeps me out of getting in too much trouble!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Patrick

      I agree with you. I was disappointed. I’ve got 100’s of paper brick I want to know how to make firebricks!


  2. This is pretty cool!

    Another option if you don’t have that fancy custom drill thingy is to get an old blender and blend some of the pulp up a little at a time. We use to use the blender method to make recycled paper. It would take a little longer, but would still get the paper into pulp.

    Also, I was thinking you could take the squeezed pulp and smoosh it into smaller containers (butter tub, bottom of milk carton, etc) to get smaller “bricks” or different shapes.

    Love this idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great use for junk mail!


  4. Jack Willis

    I like the idea of different sized containers. I am a woodworker so if I made one say, oh, 6″ wide by 8″ high by 16″ long, and put a board on top of the mash, I could use my woodworking clamps to squeeze it together and make a square log.


  5. How long will these burn for?


  6. K

    Use an old paper shredder?


  7. Pingback: How to Make Firebricks and Wood Stove Logs for Free! - Prepared Bloggers

  8. Dana

    I remember in the Girl Scouts many years ago we learned to make logs out of old newspaper. You would roll them up tight as possible and secure with twine. Then you would soak them in water for a day or more. And then let them set out in the sun to dry, which took several days to a week+. We used those on our camp outs along with regular wood, but our newspaper logs always lasted longer.


  9. Connie

    How long do you leave the cardboard soaking in the water?


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  11. Sue

    How hard are they to light?


    • Hi Sue, I’m not the author of this post but Jamie posted an update on the fire logs on our FB group page. He said they burned for almost 2 hours. I’ll check on your ignition question for you.


      • Sandra Allen

        Hi ..will these be safe to use for cooking? I mean isn’t there a lot of chemicals in paper that may not be safe


      • Not real sure about that one, Sandra. I’d do my own due diligence before cooking. In an emergency, I’d use them if that’s all I had available.

        Let us know what you find with your research, please. Thanks for the comment!


    • If you consider this to be a chunk of wood about the same size.. that’s about what it’s like. Need a fire or coals going good before tossing this size of wood on to get it going. If it was chopped up, it would start faster, just like wood.


  12. Lauretta Cofer

    I Love the Idea , we now have Gas heat but if we still did a wood stove this would be a great way to use up the excess amount of paper products the are everywhere.I use a Paper shredder and shred the paper to put in our Compost! I think it might work nice for this project also!


  13. Pingback: PREParedness Items to Get in the Back to School Sales - Mom with a PREP

  14. forwoodnesssake

    Keep in mind that while you are getting toasty warm inside burning your “fire bricks”, it usually smells like someone is burning trash outside. Ans, if you add parafin wax as an accelerator, it smells like someone is burning garbage.


  15. Does the safety of cooking food over a fire of this, depend on what u put into it when making them? What’s food-safe or not to put it?


  16. lisa p

    HI guys!! Love your stuff…one comment..we bought a brick press and were making them….seemed to only burn around the edges…like it was too dense to burn throughout….Someone told me to try to put holes through it…hard with the press we have. Anyone have any comments with this one? This one is actually thicker I think than the one we made. Thanks


  17. Tami/TX

    What a way to use the paper feed sacks that we get! I know better than to use the wax coated/plastic lined dog food bags and the plastic ones, but being we get up to 6+ paper feed bags a week. We also go through a lot of paper towel (the brown stuff) with the dairy goats……. That could go in. Left over newspapers……. And the blasted liberal AARP junk mail!



  19. Pingback: How To Make Fire Logs — Homestead and Survival

  20. robi

    Check out rocket stove briquets on. Youtube I made a. Press out of scrap treated lumber and I get large bags of shredded paper from work. I can make about 18, 3in x 2in in an hr with a 4in pvc pipe,they burn for about 1/2 hr.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. robin. canfield

    Check out youtube rocketstove briquets easy to make aand burn for about 1/2 hr.


  22. cobenim

    How about shredded paper for the bricks


    • Shredded paper has more surface area and would turn to pulp quicker. If you don’t have access to a paper shredder, soaking the material makes it easy to break up with a tool, DIY or homemade like Jamie made.


  23. vicki parks

    Would these work in a regular fireplace?


  24. James

    As mentioned earlier on posts some including me first thought this was making firebricks for your wood stove,something was interested in but seeing tis a lot of work and would need a kiln a bit much for me when available inexpensively at moment,yes,have many extras.I would rather spend time on projects am equipped tool wise to handle now,for example making a survival gig,do have knives and sapling a plenty!


  25. Kevin Wesley McCabe

    I live in Haiti and trash is something we are not short on. Also, one of the biggest problems here is deforestation. They cut down the trees to make charcoal for cooking. Would this be something safe to cook on? I saw Randall Schreurs posted the same sort of question but couldn’t find a response. Could be a great way to solve two of the major problems in this country….


    • Jamie sent me this reply to the question – Two things:
      1: That would depend on what you put in there. If you put in leaves, cardboard with no paint, wood with no chemical treatment, etc – all is good.
      2: You shouldn’t be cooking over flames, only coals. At the coal stage, anything is safe.
      I’d treat it like using pallet wood for cooking. Basically get coals and cook. Unless you know the pallet is toxic free, then cook over flames. But you shouldn’t cook that way. Unless it was in a pot (dutch oven), then nothing matters – go for it!


  26. Would these “bricks” work in an interior wood-burning stove? I’m concerned about the smoke/vapors leaving residue inside the flue and risking a chimney fire. (That’s the reason I don’t burn pine.)


    • Depends on what you put in it. Just as ‘would you put in a beer carton in your wood-burning stove now?’. Just depends on your trash and what you would want burning in there.


  27. Schneb

    As a teacher I see a LOT of paper being discarded every day. If anyone wanted to make a lot of these, checking in with the staff of your school–custodian and/or principal–and getting them to set aside whatever was clean paper from the copy room (trimming from paper cutter, boxes that the paper comes in, reject first few copies from a big run on certain machines, etc.), and you’d be all set. And maybe this could be a project that the students participate in. They have a winter camp out at our elementary and starting a fire is part of it.
    Anyway–great project, and thanks for it to all involved.


    • Jennifer Lovett

      I worked in a bank and shredded bags and bags of papers every week. I had a handful of people who collected my shreds for a multitude of reasons, and some of them made their own bricks. Bigger than the common household shredder, I could grind up a whole check book. If you live in a smaller town, ask-cant hurt,


  28. I make smaller versions of this biomass fuel block. A 16.4 oz. propane bottle fits perfectly inside a 6 inch PVC tube. I put a few handfuls of the pulp in a 12 inch PVC tube with holes drilled near the bottom, insert the propane bottle and press out the water. I get biomass wads about 2 inches thick and 6 inches diameter. These take a few days to dry, so I would think that the bucket sized ones would take a week or more to dry through.


  29. Brandy

    I had to say that I love this idea! I showed it to my father and we are going to pirate your idea as a cider press as well :-)


  30. I tried this a while back using a bit of soap in the mix to hold it together. worked great except for the Florida Humidity which made them soggy after a while. Used a length of 4 inch sch40 and a press I made for a four inch flange to make logs.

    Any idea how to water proof them. thought of a dip in ax but that likely would be cost ineffective…

    Paper Log

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christina B.

      Not if you look around at yard sales for discarded, half-used candles.


      • or kids crayons if you know someone who busses tables at a restaurant that gives them to kids to color with. They’re always left behind and thrown away.


  31. Pingback: Hippiesue's Blog » Blog Archive » How to Make Firebricks logs and Wood Stove Logs for Free! | Survival Sherpa

  32. You should change the name of this. It is NOT how to make firebricks. The title is misleading.


  33. barbara

    HI, wasn’t able to get firewood this summer–thinking about doing this…will it gunk up the chimney??

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Great idea! I have been using paper bricks for a few years now.
    I bought a kotula’s paper brick maker and it makes it easier to make 5 at a time now. they burn up fairly fast though. The bucket idea looks like a bigger and better paper brick maker. :)


  35. T

    Are these safe for wood stoves?


  36. Salasenko

    The paper has inks which are highly toxic. What do you do with the water afterwards?


  37. Reblogged this on Clan of Awareness Worldwide and commented:
    Doing things with out a “company” will be more important then you can know. Collect and make your plans well.


  38. Pingback: SPP077 The 5 Areas of Preparedness | Living For Longer

  39. Floyd L. Perry

    Well I for one will be giving this a go. I love the word FREE. And with the JUNK mail it will be FREE.


  40. The top is how to stomp clay second is how to form fire bricks for your fire brick ovens


  41. Actually reverse that… Sorry


  42. Mary

    How long do these burn and how hot do they burn? I’m working in a poor country and am wondering if these would be beneficial.


    • Myeika

      Mary, I would have thought that something that burns well and cost you nothing is worth it :-)
      I have a lot of cardboard, and lots of junk mail come, I used to put it in the recycling bin and let it be taken away… not anymore, it goes in my bin for summer log making ;-)


  43. Pingback: Skill of the Month Progress Check! - Survival Mom

  44. Pingback: How to Make Firebricks for Free - Info You Should Know

  45. Mike

    I also thought this was about firebricks. My family made firebricks using salt and sifted ash that was baked in the fireplace. I haven’t found anything on the internet describing making these firebricks.


  46. Seth Williams

    Hey could you use a strap that tightens and just do that to squeeze it all out


  47. Rob

    I Tried a Process very similar to this and tried to light them with a blow torch and they wouldn’t burn. Any suggestions on what went wrong


  48. Thomas Leinaar

    I have been doing this for years with great success! I purchased a small used concrete mixer that came from Harbor Freight for $50 and toss all my cardboard, shredded office paper, about 4 cups of sawdust shavings from my shop, dried leaves and twigs in with some water and let her rip for about 10 min. That’s all it takes. Then I poor the slurry into capped (with many small holes drilled in it) pvc pipes 2 foot long. I put a smaller cap inside and use my pipe clamps to press them into logs. Some times I put a cup of pulverized candles I get from the thrift store for really cheap in the mixer at the start. Next I am going to try adding some corn cobs but I am sure I will need to run the mixer a little longer. Oh, I also put in about four 3-4 pound round rocks in with the whole mess. They are easy to fish out before I pour the slurry and they do a fantastic job of mashing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like you’ve got a great operation going, Thomas! The candle wax is a brilliant add, sir!! Thanks for sharing how you’re doing the stuff of self-reliance!


  49. Pingback: Made by Hands: Make it or Buy it? | Survival Sherpa

  50. tiberian

    hi guys check out youtube they are called doughnuts and burn much better than just a block thanx


  51. Love this! Do you suppose a drywall compound mixing bit would do the trick if the papery mess got soaked for a few extra days? And any tips on storage?


  52. Dylan Anderson

    Go to your local Home Depot, Lowes,Lumber yard,ex.. and ask for there sawdust left overs from the lumber section.. Add it to your mulch… makes denser bricks .. burns hotter and longer… drying time is alittle longer .. i have also added wax on occasion as an external coating for wet weather camping.. lights fast and stays dry…good luck…


  53. Creasote buildup in a short time. That would almost fit perfectly in a chimney pipe. I bet it burns good and hot too! Cool idea but probably not the best choice for indoor heating.


  54. Sultana



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