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Make your own Swedish fire log

The Swedish fire log is becoming increasingly popular

It is as functional as it is simple: cut criss-cross slits into a small log from above, light it, and you're done. This was done by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War, which is where the name comes from. It is actually very simple, but here are a few helpful tips that you might find useful.

Step 1: Choosing the right wood

Effectively, the Swedish fire log is a type of torch, which is why it is often called a log torch or Swedish torch. To light the torch easily and create a nice flame, the wood must be as dry as possible. But in this variant you can also use freshly cut wood. As the flame is supplied with enough oxygen, the wood will burn anyway. However, a damp log will produce more smoke. The type of wood is not crucial, but softwoods with higher resin content, such as pine, spruce, larch, etc. burn with a higher flame than hardwoods, such as oak or beech. These woods tend to glow, but usually last longer.

Step 2: The cut

The perfect logs are around 30-120 cm tall and 20-40 cm wide. With a chainsaw, two cross-shaped cuts are made from above to about 10 cm above the ground. Through these cuts, the fire is supplied with enough oxygen and the chimney effect increases combustion. The greater the diameter of the log, the more cuts are recommended to achieve combustion.

Step 3: The lighting

Simply insert one or two barbecue lighters in the top of the cross and light them. The fire starts to burn steadily quite quickly. It will then continue to burn from the top down without further assistance. Depending on the size of the log, a Swedish fire log will burn for around 1-4 hours.

Step 4: The safety

Burning pieces of wood may come away when the log is lit. Therefore, you should place the trunk on a fireproof surface or on non-combustible ground. Due to the high oxygen supply, the fire log will be very hot. Therefore, make sure it is far enough away from flammable objects. In the beginning, you can set up a pot when the trunk is safe. But as the fire burns down the upper part pretty quickly, you have to take it down in time, because otherwise burnt pieces of wood will fall down.

Variants: Mini stove

A very effective variant can also be used as a mini stove.
Take a small log, around 30 cm tall and 25-20 cm wide. It is important that it is stable when you set it down.

Now use a Forstner drill to drill a roughly 30 mm hole from the top as far down as possible. The longer the Forstner drill, the better. From the side, drill another hole into the centre at the height where the top hole ends. The two holes should meet so that you end up with a type of chimney.

From above, evenly hammer in three sufficiently long nails, so that they stick out approx. 3-5 cm. If you put a barbecue lighter in the side hole and light it, a flame will immediately appear from the top hole. Due to the chimney effect, it is sufficiently supplied with oxygen and burns the log from the inside out. You can place a small pot on the three nails and effectively have a mini stove.

There are many hardware stores and places online where you can easily buy a Swedish fire log. But as a die-hard DIYer, you should now have no problem making your own. Have fun!

AuthorTobias Guttenberg
Reading time10 minutes

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