Monday, April 15, 2013

Fuel Blocks Test

Fuel blocks are designed to be burned in normal wood burning stoves in good condition. Like pellets for pellets stoves, they are made from recycled sawdust. The blocks come in different sizes and shapes. These blocks are about the size of a loaf of bread. They are packed in plastic wrap, three to a bundle.

It seemed like a good time to buy a few packages and see how they perform. The days and nights are cold enough for a good test, but it's not zero with howling winds either. Another inspiration to try them is my dwindling woodpile. Much of my remaining wood is hard to get to because of ice and snow still on the ground.

How do they perform? Short answer, pretty well. They ignite as well as very seasoned hardwood. They don't seem to put out quite as high a temperature as seasoned hardwood, but they burn for a longer period of time. Two blocks in my kitchen stove last all night and provide enough hot coals to start fresh wood in the morning.

I'm not keen on buying something that's wrapped in plastic, but there's no way around it. Fuel blocks must be kept dry. If they get wet, they fall apart and turn back into sawdust. When unwrapped a small amount of sawdust falls out of the package onto the floor. Of course, it's dry, clean and easy to sweep up. Natural firewood sheds bark, dirt, ants, and spiders. Compared to firewood, the blocks seem to produce less smoke and ash.

Most people mix fuel blocks and firewood and that works well. It is possible to successfully burn nothing but fuel blocks and that works fine too.

Fuel blocks are not to be confused with Duraflame or similar logs. Those contain waxes and other chemicals that make them unfit for use in woodstoves. Duraflame type logs are designed for burning outside in open fireplaces.

Would I buy it again? Maybe, if the price is right. I'm thinking a pallet of fuel blocks stored inside the house would be handy. It would be nice to have the options of not trekking through the snow to the woodshed.



  1. Do they even still make PRESTO LOGS?
    They were the original pressed sawdust log many years ago.
    Maybe that's where the DURAFLAME came from.

    I have seen newspapers rolled up tight like that but they leave a buttload of ash.

    What the heck, if they work good then there ya are.

    Sounds like you need some kind of covered area to keep the snow off the woodpile.

    Easier said than done I'm sure.

    1. Most of wood was covered, but I came back from FL sooner than expected and it's been colder than expected.

  2. Why don't you stack some of your firewood inside the house?

    1. Takes up too much space and brings too many bugs in the house.

  3. I have tried some a couple of times and they work well,, it's the price that's a bit off putting, but, at the right price I'd use them regularly.
    Storing wood inside? Dirt, ants and spiders come in keep warm :)!

    1. I've been taking care of my lovely wfie who's been sick this week so this has saved me from messing around with wood. Bought by the pallet the price is competitive.

  4. We are very lucky. Hubby has enough wood split and stacked for another 3 years. Our home is heated with wood and we only use the oil for the hot water.

    1. I never seem to get far enough ahead. Maybe this year.

  5. couple of thoughts.
    good to have a pallet of them on hand. you might be ill and LW might be the one to keep the fires burning.
    my godfather had a newspaper roller in the 60's and 70's with which he made logs for the fireplace. first he soaked them in a solution which i think had borax in it. it was to keep them from throwing sparks. does anyone remember how to do this? after they were dry they were rolled.
    jd belanger wrote an article about ageing in the last Countryside magazine. you buying pressed fire logs reminded me of what he wrote. it is good to have some back-up like these logs to ease things and be ready for exigencies, especially in the depths of winter even if you're young and healthy.
    love, deb harvey

    1. The paper logs do make an awful lot of ash. Besides, who buys newspapers anymore?

      I'm thinking having some for backup would be a darn good idea. Not a kid anymore.

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