Happy 1st Birthday Blog – Sawdust Dixie Cup Fire Starters

sawdust dixie cup fire starters

It’s been a year since I started the Brown Paper Bag Lunch Box Blog! Instead of lighting candles on a celebratory cake I melted candles and poured the wax over sawdust in Dixie Cups.

Why melt perfectly good candles? – Well, these candles were found partially used and discarded in an inconspicuous area under a bridge. The wicks were lost in the wax and there was no easy way to make the candle useful again.

Why pour perfectly good wax over perfectly good sawdust? To make fire starters! When I’m ready to fire up the chiminea or start a campfire all that is needed is a match to light the paper cup. The burning cup melts the wax and catches the sawdust ablaze. The wax starts to burn and melt all over the wood causing the wood to catch on fire. It’s really a treat to watch.

Dear person under bridge, leave me more candles.

Four Chamber Nursery House for bats.

bat houseThe idea of building a bat house has been stuck in my head since I visited Carlsbad Cavern a decade ago. Carlsbad Cavern has an amphitheater to watch the bats fly out of the cave each evening. It’s amazing how silent and peaceful the experience is. Bats are great to have around for reasons you can discover on sites such as batcon.org.

Bat Conservation International has a great site and free plans to build your own bat house. I downloaded the plans for the Four Chamber Nursery House and went to work. The plans are very simple to follow and are a great project for anyone with a table saw. The parts allow wiggle room to adjust measuring and construction errors. The project did take longer than I thought it would, mostly because scoring all the internal surfaces required time.

The plan assumes the maker intends on making two bat nurseries. I went with the plan and made two, the picture shows both. The nursery on the left does not have the front attached; the nursery on the right is complete without exterior paint. I am looking forward to completing both, painting, adding metal roofs and getting them attached to the house. Hopefully a bat family will find a new home.

Urban Lumberjack @ 2014 Greater Newark (NJ) Maker Faire


urban lumberjack @ 2014 greater newark maker faire

It’s official! Saturday, April 5, 2014 I am presenting an exhibit titled “Urban Lumberjack” at the Greater Newark (NJ) Maker Faire. Urbandictionary defines “Urban Lumberjack” as, “A city dweller who makes a habit of wearing plaids and flannel although he or she has little to no outdoor experience.” This flavor of Urban Lumberjack does not interest me.

Unlike the hipster variety, real Urban Lumberjacks utilize natural, raw materials from their urban environment. Storm damaged trees and curbside trash provides a bounty of supplies to a person with knowhow and willingness to work. Items I created from such treasures will include a side table cut from a curbside tree stump and a sculpture of Adventure Time BMO (Beemo) carved from a section of fallen forest oak tree. See you there!