Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Need a Blowtorch or Something


Central Oregon apparently does not have any hard wood.

Seems that the best a fellow can buy around here in the firewood department is juniper. I don't dislike juniper, I burn juniper in the office space wood stove downstairs, and it works brilliantly. But the stuff doesn't pack that many btu's per cord or pound as some hardwoods I am familiar with, like oak, or eucalyptus ("gum" to those in the antipodean hemisphere).

And unlike a lot of soft woods, juniper isn't very interested in burning. It takes a lot of baking to get the stuff to take off. A load of juniper in the upstairs bronze-age masonry fireplace, with its vertical grate, needs practically a freakin' Presto-Log to get started. Once I've built up a nice bed of coals (which takes, like, two hours), juniper burns quite nicely.

Convincing the stuff to get really enthusiastic about burning is the challenge. And I speak as a proud member of the select group of guys who can get a campfire going with just forest duff, some twigs, a few sticks, and a single match (I taught my son, Jim, how to do this when he was a kid. Now he gets campfire-building duty and makes his pa proud).

I'll work out something. Aside from the aforementioned Presto-Logs, I've tried "fatwood" which doesn't pack enough btu's to do the job.

Paper -- now, paper is just wasting your time and mine.

... this is important because I want to be able to easily give the functional and highly-attractive Mrs Elliott a cozy fire.

There is some hope that someday I will be able to plumb gas into the fireplace. Give me a little steady flame under the grate and I could get even wet firewood going.

We have plans.

(rubs hands together)

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