Living off the grid for five years on a 22-acre property on the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, Jean Collins knows a thing or two about building fires. In fact, she and her family enjoy their fire pit a few times a week. We recently connected with her to learn how to make a Swedish fire log.
A Swedish fire log, also known as a Canadian candle, is a log that has been vertically cut and set on fire. What's great about the fire is that it's self-feeding. The log burns from the inside out and the fire can last for two to five hours depending on the size and material of the wood.
Here's how you do it:
Step 1: Take a chainsaw and make four cuts into a log as if you're cutting slices of a pie. Cut into the log about three quarters of the way down. This particular log was 30 inches tall and 14 inches wide.
Step 2: To light the initial fire, place kindling such as wood shavings, pine needles or small pieces of tree bark on top and inside of the log. Once the tinder starts to burn, the hot embers drop down into the log, igniting the inside.
Step 3: Enjoy the heat. You can even cook on it by placing a cast-iron pan or kettle on the flat top of the log. In the 1600s, European soldiers used these logs for heating, lighting and cooking.
Note: if you don't have access to a chain saw, you can create a Swedish fire log by tying a group of thick wooden branches together. Then stuff smaller branches in the empty spaces. Place kindling on top and light it.
For more information on the trials, tribulations and joys of living off the grid, follow Jean on her blog, Off Grid Home Sweet Home.