Rolling my Own – newspaper logs :-) Help

Just purchased the newspaper log roller from Lehman’s and gave it a try. My kids have a paper route so it seemed a good idea….

The instructions to assembly the roller and then burn the log leave a lot to be desired! It took over 30 minutes for my daughter and I, plus my drill to figure it out and get it together, but that’s a different subject, and I digress.

When we tried to burn our first log the outside layer edge caught but quickly went out and the log just smoldered. I would light it over and over, but the only way for it to burn was for me to sit there and unwrap it as it burned. Very unsatisfactory. So I did a Google search on newspaper logs and found all bad news! Seems they won’t ‘burn’ on their own. They need a real-log to burn them, and then the extra ashes made from the paper can interferer with the wood coals causing the fire not to maintain it’s self as well as it would without the added newspaper log – Oy!

We burn in a Fireplace for a few hours at night to help heat the main room of the house. I do not run a fire overnight so I don’t need a slow burn.

I haven’t found anyone who has ‘Mastered’ the burning of these logs, taming the problems and making them worth one’s time –

So I’m making a plea…. for someone with a ‘good-experience’ at newspaper log burning to share your tips! Or I just wasted $47, and now days that is very painful for a mother of two.

Thank you,

4 thoughts on “Rolling my Own – newspaper logs :-) Help

  1. Sorry you are having trouble with the newspaper logs and the newspaper log roller. Here are a few things that might help you.

    First, the product is not of the highest quality but it is the only one available as far as we know. It does work but you have to treat it gently. I tested this product before it went into the catalog and here is what I discovered.

    To use it, you need to try to get the logs rolled as tightly as possible. As you get to the end of one length of newspaper, start another length before you get to the end and keep rolling. When you have a log that is big enough you can remove it from the spindle and then put several rubber bands around the log to hold it together.

    Once you have that done, the best way to use the logs is to soak them in water until the paper is completely saturated. After it is completely wet through the entire log, take it out of the water and dry it like you would dry any log before you burn it. The water causes the paper to bond together and keeps it from burning in individual sheets like you said it did. It also makes it more dense.

    The end result is that you don’t get a lot of paper ash, but it also means that the newspaper log burns very much like a wooden log. That means that you can’t just light it with a match. You’ll need kindling to get the fire started, then you add the newspaper log to the fire just like you would add a wooden log to the fire. If the fire isn’t hot enough and big enough, the log won’t burn.

    Essentially, with the tight wrapping, the soaking, and the drying, what you have done is change the thin sheets of paper back into something that resembles the wood from which it came.

    I hope this helps. This is a very popular item and lots of people are using it to recycle newspapers, so hopefully you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your money. I think if you follow the steps I outlined above, you will find that it does work will allow you to burn your old newspapers in a way that generates heat and ambiance.

    Lehman’s Direct Sales

  2. Thanks Bob! That helps. I have no criticisms of the product its self, even though it is a bit tricky for one person to use (my daughter has to help me – 4 hands). However, someone should look into re-writing the assembly instructions and the burning suggestions included with the product. Both are highly inadequate. In addition, I feel a statement that the logs won’t burn as-is without soaking, other wood, etc. should be provided. The way it is now is miss leading. And your right the same product is being sold in this same manner lots of places, so the shortcomings of this product is not Lehman’s fault in the lest!

    Maybe Lehman’s could assist product buyers with the assembly and usage instructions in some way. I do feel the product is very useful, if only these issues could be addressed.

    I did roll my newspapers tight, I think that was one reason they wouldn’t burn at all – no oxygen *grin* So I knew there was something more needed, finding that information as been a real journey for me ….

    I posted on another forum and received these additional suggestions from ‘log rollers’ which may be helpful to someone.

    One guy said he stands the log on end in a small dish and pours a bit of Kerosene slowly into the middle of the log letting it soak in. I’ve tried this and it does make a log you can start with a match, and it burns from the inside out. I did my test with some other real wood so I don’t know if this log would burn completely if it were alone. It did burn nicely until the other wood caught and started burning it from the outside too – Burning this log alone would be something to try next :-) It lights like a candle, and burns with a flame coming out of both ends. Could be used as a fire starter.

    The next guy said he would make a weak solution of water and saltpeter (this is used in gun powder, fireworks and incense to oxidize). He then soaked his logs as you say above in this solution, and dried them. I haven’t tried this method yet (where do you buy saltpeter?), but he said they work a lot like pressed logs you can buy. Light fairly easily and burn on there own with a flame, no real wood needed. And I’m told saltpeter would be cheaper than kerosene.

    Hopefully all this information will help other Lehman’s buyers of this product have much success…..

    Thanks again for your help,

    ~ Jami

  3. I have no first hand experience with paper logs but a neighbor of mine a number of years ago swore by them. I know he would soke them in water and also used no good left over frying oil somehow with them.

  4. I’ve made newspaper logs and here’s how I’ve done it. Don’t use the slicky ad paper, just use the newspaper part. Take the paper sections apart until you have all of the pages apart. Then fold the doubled pages (the big ones) in half until all your pages are the same half size. Use a tub or big bucket depending on how much paper you have. Put in water and a good squirt of liquid dish soap (not the kind people use for dishwashers). Stir it around with your hands to mix, then put in your newspaper pages. Push them under the water. Let them soak good, then take one section at a time out of the water and roll around a broom handle (or your automatic roller). Keep adding the newspaper, and keep rolling, until you have a log maybe 3 inches thick or as thick as you want. Twist the broom handle out of the rolled newspaper, and you have you a log. Tie with string if you like (I don’t always do this). Now stand the wet log on it’s end, upright, to dry. You will have a lot of logs standing on end. Don’t use them until they are completely dry. But the truth is, they work better if they sit 6 months to a year before you use them.
    A three inch log burns about 15 minutes, a thicker log burns longer. I do several sizes so I can get a good fire that will keep going. When the logs are dry, you stack them just like logs, in a dry place. Sometimes I’ve used small kindling but usually not. They make a real nice fire but you will have a lot of ash. Hope this helps you. I’ve been looking at the Lehman’s newspaper fireplace brick maker and hope to get it soon.