25 June 2012

5 ways to make and use a Swedish fire torch

We've recently come across an interesting method of making a campfire that is fuel and stove all in one. The most common name for this approach to making a campfire is the "Swedish fire torch", which is how the original German name "Schwedenfackel" roughly translates. Other names, include "log candle," "log stove," or "fire log." Today we take a look at the Swedish fire torch and how to make one.

There are many variations on making a Swedish fire torch, but all involve upright pieces of wood in a circular arrangement. Gaps are left (or made) between the pieces, which allow tinder/kindling to be used to light the interior of the wood. The wood then burns from the inside out.

The fire naturally travels upward through the "chimney" formed by the gaps. Assuming that the log is cut evenly on top and bottom, and placed on a level surface, you also have a built-in cooking surface to place a kettle, or pan for cooking, boiling liquids, etc.

If you have a chainsaw, making a Swedish fire torch is as simple as making four cuts about ¾ of the way down the log as shown in these two videos:

How to Make a Swedish Torch by Doogly13
This video shows the basic concept, although it demonstrates that you still need to know how to make a fire.

The Fire Log by The Wild North
This is a good demonstration of the chainsaw method, however, they take the easy way out for lighting the fire by using chainsaw fuel. (Please note that there is a couple instances of foul language in this video, so if that offends you, you may want to skip this one.)

Of course, in the wilderness, it's likely that you may not have a chainsaw. Fortunately, you can still build a Swedish fire torch without one. Below are three videos that show variations on doing so.

Swedish Fire Torch by Reggie's Bushcraft
This is a good, basic overview of how to build a Swedish fire torch by splitting a log and putting it back together.

American Survival's entry into Waldhandwerk's Swedish Torch Challenge
This video is a bit long and could benefit from a little editing. Nonetheless, it's the best video we've found on making a Swedish fire torch by hand.

Bushcraft Skills: the Swedish torch/stove - my way by BushcraftMyWay
In many ways, this approach is the simplest, because it just uses many smaller logs bound in a circle. The biggest challenge would be getting all the pieces the same length and level enough to cook on.

So, there you have it, an all-in-one stove and fuel source. Have you used a Swedish fire torch before? If so, what tips do you have for making or using one? Please share your ideas and comments below!

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