Mixed basket of wood fuel briquettes
Noooo! The office stove has gone on the sulk! The flue pipe goes straight to the outside wall and it's a challenge to light when it's cold. The Ezilite recycled paper briquettes (the white ones in the pic) have been brilliant at getting it going - they give such an instant heat that the flue warms up and then the stove draws. But without them we've been struggling miserably to get the fire going properly...it sits and glowers at us and doesn't give out much heat at all. BUT...tomorrow (Monday) we get a delivery of Ezilite briquettes, so phew! Can't wait! If anyone else is struggling to light the fire or stove in this still, cold weather, these could well be the answer.
Our new Waxling Gift Baskets
The Waxling eco-firelighters are starting to acquire an enthusiastic following...and some of our members are admitting that they enjoy looking at them almost as much as they enjoy burning them! This is why we're just about to start supplying them in attractive baskets of 43 Waxlings, which make very attractive and original gifts, and in postable boxes of 64. (We still have a few small gift boxes left from Christmas at £3 each, too.)
With their gentle 'wood and beeswax' aroma they're a huge advance on those white chemical-laden slabs that leave your fingers smelling of all the wrong things. They're highly effective fire starters: easy to start - just fray out a few wisps of wood wool and touch them with a match - and they work well with all of the wood briquettes in getting your fire off to a fast start.
Too good to burn? Nah!
If the weather is dour and the stove or fire is refusing to draw well, we've found that using 2 Waxlings with 3 or 4 Ezilite briquettes, is a good base. Placing half a Verdo or bark briquette on top soon gets a good long-lasting heat going.
One of our Toasty Toes Team who has an open fire has recently started placing the smaller 'cob' type briquettes on their sides, like straw bales, rather than sitting on end, and when she demonstrated her fire-lighting skills the other night it was evident that she'd found a very good ignition pattern. Perhaps we should hold a fire design contest...any combination of our briquettes is allowed, as long as there's a Waxling or two at the heart of it!
It's not just the horses that are happy with the Verdo horse bedding pellets that more and more horse owners are buying.
These highly absorbent and hygienic wood pellets, made from locally sourced virgin Scottish timber, are dust free, easy to handle and work out very economically once you've got your system set up. When you fist spead the pellets, you spray a little water on them to make them fluff up, which bulks them out considerably and gives them their high absorbency. They're also free of allergens and additives, plus the wood's natural resins produce less ammonia and a pleasant faint 'forest' scent.
Because the wood pellets are so absorbent, the urine remains in a localised patch, enabling it to be removed easily with a shovel. The stable stays cleaner for longer, so you use less bedding...ergo, a smaller dung heap as well!
The Verdo horse bedding pellets were described in more detail in Horse and Hound when they were first launched and we are seeing more and more positive comments about them, as are Verdo.
The video below gives you some good information about the use of wood pellets for horse bedding:
_A point to note when buying wood pellets for horse bedding is that the specially packaged, dedicated horse bedding pellets are essentially the same product as those used as wood fuel for pellet boilers and stoves...BUT the VAT on the horse pellets is 20%, whereas on the wood fuel it's 5%. We would normally assume that you want the wood fuel pellets when ordering unless you specify the horse bedding ones, so please make sure you tell us which ones you want.
We also would like to get your feedback. Have you used Verdo horse bedding pellets, or both types of pellets? How do they perform? What advice would you give to other horse owners?
If you're ordering horse bedding pellets by the pallet load you make considerable savings (around 10%) by buying from the Wood Fuel Co-operative's Membership Scheme. We can deliver UK-wide, or if you are within reach of Dumfries, you can store your order with us and collect as and when you need it, so saving on delivery costs.
In this still weather it's sometimes harder to get the fire or stove to light. The reduced air flow makes building up the necessary heat in the base of the fire more of a challenge.
This is when the Ezilite recycled paper 'cobs' really come into their own, as they're pretty much a cross between a firelighter and a fuel cob. We use one Ezilite alongside 3 sawdust briquettes, with another sawdust, an Ezilite or a Verdo perched on the top, plus a Waxling firelighter or two in the middle and as much air intake as you can...and whoosh! off it goes!
Phoenix Ecofirelighter (left) & Waxling Firelighter (right)
We've become great fans of the Waxling firelighters lately but are aware that there are quite a few other 'eco-firelighters' on the market, so have begun trying some different ones out. We'll report here on our findings and would welcome your feedback too: which ones have you tried and how did they perform?
We're trying to replicate the same lighting conditions for each test, as far as we can, but right now our findings are based on observation rather than scientific testing...and different lighters will probably suit different fires or stoves. But anyway....
A Waxling Eco-Friendly Firelighter
First off, we compared the Waxling firelighter (pictured left) with the Phoenix ecofirelighter No. 1. From the top picture, you can see right away that the Waxling has a more dense core and it's a lot more tightly rolled. The Phoenix has a very much looser construction, with trails of wood wool detaching from it easily.
Are they odourless? Neither firelighter has a strong odour when you open the bag or box. The Waxlings smell faintly of wood resin and beeswax, the Phoenix have a faint wood-and-paraffin-wax aroma about them. When lit, both seem to burn without any unpleasant aromas and would probably be great for barbecue lighting for that reason.
Initial lighting is easy with both types as the external bits of wood wool catch readily when you hold a match to them.
The first stage of burning is strong with both and, provided the fuel you put on top is dry, they both produce a good amount of heat.
The length of burning time is longer with the Waxlings. They last up to half as long again before the flames die down into a ball of ashes. I needed to use 2, sometimes 3 Phoenix to get the fire going on a still day and 1, sometimes 2, Waxlings under the same conditions.
Rejuvenating the fire is easy with both of these: just shove it under the nearest bit of fuel and light with a long match.
In summary, I personally prefer the Waxlings because:
a) They last longer
b) They don't seem to have any (or much?) paraffin wax in them
c) They look so attractive: we have them in a display basket!
d) They're less messy. The Phoenix ones lose bits of wood wool in the box, in the basket and on the grate.
The Wood Fuel Co-operative team, aka the Toasty Toes Team, are constantly testing new wood fuels and reporting back here, plus seeking out news and views that help members choose the right fuels for their fires and stoves.