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A Foot in Two Campos

Thoughts from a brand new home-owner in the Axarquía region of Málaga. I hope there might be some information and experiences of use to other new purchasers, plus the occasional line to provoke thought or discussion.

23 - Bricking It
25 September 2012 @ 11:22

My visitors don’t get a free ride, coming to stay with me.  There’s rent to be paid.  One brick, per person, per day.  Simple.

My part in this is collecting lots of newspapers at every opportunity.  Leftovers of the free papers, after they become “yesterday’s news”.  Occasional bought newspapers.  All heaped up in the storeroom awaiting the arrival of the next unsuspecting guest, who back in the UK had said “Gosh that sounds easy, yes of course we’ll make a load of papier-mache bricks for you Tamara”.

First task is the tearing into strips. About eight or ten newspapers at a time, torn lengthways into long strips.  Easy, but quite tiring on the arm muscles after a while.  These strips then need to be separated, draped across a bucket of water forming as intricate a web as possible, a sort of cat’s cradle, before they are pushed down into the water in gloopy batches.  Nothing needs to be added, the recipe is solely newspaper and water.  Two big bucket-loads are then left overnight to soak.

Next day, the heavy buckets are carried out to the street, along with the Green Eko-Log Machine.  Handfuls of wet newspaper are glooped into the log-maker, the top press is fitted on, then it’s white-knuckle time as the water is squeezed out by sheer muscle-power.  Out comes the top press, then carefully the compressed brick, log, or briquette, is lifted out and laid on the terrace to dry.

Twenty-four hours later, those briquettes are ready to be stacked in the storeroom.  A new heap of newspapers glowers down from the shelf.  The visitors pretend not to see these, deposit their dry briquettes and beat a hasty retreat, proud of the 6 or 7 bricks they’ve made, but not quite so keen to start all over again.


For me, every brick made is a log I won’t need to buy for the winter cold.  Amazingly, these paper briquettes burn well and slowly, and will feed the woodburner (along with a large delivery of wood) until the sunshine returns to begin to dry out next season’s gloopy bricks.



© Tamara Essex 2012

Like 0


Padricia (Campana) said:
25 September 2012 @ 15:29

There would seem to be a marked lack of enthusiasm in response to this particular blog, Tamara. LOL!!!

Gerald said:
25 September 2012 @ 17:47

very apt the title I think!

Seems to me to be the exercise of the day.

mac75 said:
26 September 2012 @ 00:00

Think it's a great idea. Great initiative , all in favor of recycling but it seems a lot of hard work for not much heat, just how slow are they? and how much heat does paper really give off? Well, at least the papers are going to use.

Tamara said:
26 September 2012 @ 00:32

It's not hard work at all. Well not for me!!! I just watch :-) No seriously, it's quite fun if there's two of you. And they burn really slowly, pretty much like logs, as long as they're compressed properly. But my friend who helped make them today, her neighbour has invented a chain system that goes round two tightly-rolled newspapers, you burn them, and fish the chains out of the ash the next day. MUCH less work!

james said:
29 September 2012 @ 22:56

try filling empty tin cans with damp coal or briquette dust does the same job as peper logs. through a few in woodburner overnight give good poke in morning and hey presto

calamitykay said:
24 April 2014 @ 20:23

Hi there Tamara, my hubby John has been making these paper logs for the past 2 years here in Swansea, we use them in our shed log burner.
He usually makes them in our greenhouse in a large plastic garden bucket that once filled contains enough 'gloop' for about 8 at a times. The only difference is that he uses a paper shredder to cut the newspaper and it can take a good few weeks to dry out due to our inconsistent weather!
We both think alike though in that every brick means one less wood log :-) :-) :-) :-)

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