Category Archives: Fires

M.T., Dunedin.

Fire starters. Blue gum trees shed bark as they grow. Collect, cut into suitable lengths with loppers while moist, allow to dry and use a few on top of paper. Just as good if not better than pine cones.


To make firebricks tear up old newspapers, junk mail, etc. Soak in water until they become a pulp. Squeeze dry, either by hand or using a firebrick cradle. Leave in the sun or a warm place to dry.

K.B., Kerikeri.

My daughter and I, as well as making firebricks from soaked newspaper, also save toilet roll inners; cardboard rolls from different products and some small cereal boxes and stuff them full of squeezed out soaked paper for the fires in winter. Takes a little longer to dry but the kids are less reluctant to handle […]

Dave, Opotiki.

For many years I have been following grass roots magazines and-for many-years-practising perrnecuture principles. I have often read-about making fire bricks from recycled news papers and junk mail so thought I’d let you know what I have been experimenting with over the last three years. From humble beginning I was making bricks by hand, shredding […]


Prevent drafts by closing up fireplaces that are seldom or never used. Keep the backs of fireplaces clean to better project heat out into a room.


A word of warning about gathering timber form building sites. Treated timber is a health risk and will burn out your fire box quickly. On most building sites there is very little suitable for burning, but check that the timber is not treated. [Very good points Tom – oily rag ed.]

PR, Kawerau.

When cleaning your wood box out, or cleaning your wood shed, shovel all remaining bits of wood etc onto newspaper then wrap up. This can be placed into your fire when lighting it or as a quick fire boost.

Ronnie, Gisborne.

To make excellent fire starters, dry out your used tea bags and placed them into a tin with methylated spirits and seal with a lid. I use 1 to 2 soaked teabags at a time.

Anita, Whangarei

Some of us with fireplaces enjoy cosy evenings in front of a warm fire. Not too many of us are good at starting fires so I hope this tip will be a winner in many households. I save and dry used teabags. I peg them next to the fire to dry, then put 10 to […]