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Thread: How to make a charcoal lighter

  1. #1
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    Default How to make a charcoal lighter

    A long time ago when I was in scouts, and before the advent of the gas grill , we sold some kind of contraption that would use newspaper to light a charcoal fire. Does anyone have plans to make one? With a jug of lighter fluid up around $4 now, I feel its time to reinvent the wheel.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    I recall a gizmo for converting newspapers readily into fireplace logs. Essentially it came down to tightly rolling the whole paper and putting it in a press tha pierced lots of holes from the cylinder surface radailly inwards.

    Being cheap and always having newpapers, I just ball up individual quarter sheets as a sort of bed under a layer of charcoal and drop a match.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    I've occasionally seen them for sale in catalogues, usually looks like a large older flour sifter, big wood handle on the side and a coarse grate about 3/4 of the way down from the top, with air holes around the bottom. the theory is to fill the top portion with coal, the bottom with paper or other kindling, light it and the draft in the chimney would start the coal in short order. Probably could make it easily. Good luck.

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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Quote Originally Posted by coelacanth2 View Post
    I've occasionally seen them for sale in catalogues, usually looks like a large older flour sifter, big wood handle on the side and a coarse grate about 3/4 of the way down from the top, with air holes around the bottom. the theory is to fill the top portion with coal, the bottom with paper or other kindling, light it and the draft in the chimney would start the coal in short order. Probably could make it easily. Good luck.
    Same one I have. Works a lot better than it looks like it does. Doesn't take much newspaper to start it either. Newspaper goes under the grate and the charcoal above it. Takes about 10 mins to get ready coals.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Start with a coffee can, remove both ends with a can opener. Use a church key all around the perimeter at the bottom to make vents. If you want you can drill holes about 4" above the bottom to weave a coat hanger through a few times to make a "grate", but it's not really necessary. Wad up newspaper, stuff it in the bottom of the can to about the 4" line, fill the rest with briquet's. Light paper. Works a treat, and doesn't cost a thing. The ones you buy are the same thing, only taller.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Well, the home-made one sounds interesting, but the wood-grip handle on the commercial ones is there for a reason -- you often want to grab the charcoal starter and dump the coals, or even shift it around or lift it up to stuff more paper or maybe even some twigs underneath.

    I HATE kerosene charcoal starter -- why not cut out the middleman and just pour it on the burgers directly?? Anything else is better, but the commercial starters are cheap and very efficient.

    Don't under-rate twigs -- they've made good hot fires for as long as mankind has played with flames. Mixed in with some newspaper they work very well in these chimney-style starters. Europeans still make small folding metal stoves that only burn twigs for making small pots of coffee and tea.

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Take a pile of saw dust, any old (non perfumed) wax candles, several empty paper egg cartons
    Melt down all the candles, while it still liquid, little a time add in some sawdust and stir, keep adding till it get thick enough to pack..
    Take egg cartons and fill each pockets.. (no no no, not your pant pockets).. Let cool..
    cut each filled cavities apart.. Now, you have created some nice fire starters for all kind of fires..

    just place it at the bottom of pile of whatever you're tend to burn, and light one corner of your newly made starters, it'll get things going nice and easy like.. Great for campfires..
    save a nose, pick a banjo

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Quote Originally Posted by boylesboats View Post
    Take a pile of saw dust, any old (non perfumed) wax candles, several empty paper egg cartons
    Works even better with drier lint instead of sawdust

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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierce Nichols View Post
    Works even better with drier lint instead of sawdust

    dryer lint? thats something I could get into.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    I made one out of a section of 6" stove pipe. Cut some slots or drill some holes about 1/2" Dia. near the bottom. Hook up a wire lifting bail at the top. Load a couple of balled up pieces of newspaper into the pipe, and top it off with a scoop full of charcoal. Light the paper through the slots or holes. When your coals are starting to turn red, lift the pipe straight up using a stick or tongs on the lifting bail.No need to dump it over. Or you can buy one from Weber at most home centers/hardware stores.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierce Nichols View Post
    Works even better with drier lint instead of sawdust
    that can work too..... But I have more sawdust than dryer lint..
    save a nose, pick a banjo

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Quote Originally Posted by boylesboats View Post
    that can work too..... But I have more sawdust than dryer lint..
    Check yer belly button....You might be surprised!

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    Default Re: How to make a charcoal lighter

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrleft8 View Post
    Check yer belly button....You might be surprised!
    My belly button? What belly button, it merely stretched out, not even a dime can hide in there..
    save a nose, pick a banjo

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