The fire that burns…and burns

Have you ever just wanted to sit around a fire that burns and burns all on its own? You know the kind of fire that doesn’t send you off into the woods in the dark with slightly blurred perceptions skills looking for wood. We all aim to prepare stacks of kindling and a neat pile of wood split for easily handling, but sometimes that doesn’t work out. let’s face it doesn’t it sound nice to just kick back and do nothing.

It’s the moments of do nothing that a Swedish candle (AKA, Finnish candle) fits perfectly into your vision. That said, there is work that has to be done in advance. Here’s how it works.

hand drawn by Scott Laine, no rights reserved as I clearly lack skills

Step 1. You will need a chainsaw, or someone who sells firewood and has one to help you out. I gave my guy $30 to make the cuts for me.

Step 2. Select a log that is flat on top and bottom and will stand up on its own. The log should be dry and approximately 13" in diameter and 24" in length. You can use a larger log and it will burn longer. Remember you have to be able to move it so, plan accordingly.

Step 3. Cut three pizza cuts straight through the log from the top of the log 3/4 of the way down (see image). Haul that puppy to your campsite and wait for dusk.

Yes, this log is HUGE, and was a massive pain in the ass to get here.

Step 4. Start a small fire on the top of the log at the intersection of your cuts. A little fatwood would be useful at this moment or some homemade firestarters.

Plan on starting a couple hours before total darkness so you have a solid flame once the sun sets. It can take a little while to catch. Once more of the core of the log catches you will start to see the flame though the side cuts. At this point the log will radiate heat yet ALL the smoke will be forced up and typically won’t give you a face full, like a typical fire. A good size log will burn for 4–5 hours giving you plenty of time to enjoy watching it burn and burn.

At the end of it all you won’t have much left. Ours looked like this. The next night we stacked some wood around this guy and lit the whole thing up to finish it off. Carry in, but no need to carry out.

One final note: Check with your campsite first, some won’t allow outside wood, but often there are loggers within the forest you can work with.

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