Reviewed by Keith Mitchell
Being a traditionalist, I have an open fire and don’t use firelighters. Screwed up newspapers in the grate, followed by a lattice of chopped sticks (kindling). Light up, then add logs and coal when established. From starting to build the fire to being established about ten minutes and then quite a few minutes to warm a medium sized room. A bit slow in the depths of winter but seriously warm when going full blast.
Along came a product from Firemizer called Firebuilder. Chunky, sturdy box, with a brief description of how to use underneath. Inside were five blocks with holes in, about 10 inches by 4 inches, that look like an old-style egg box with holes in. They are made from recycled cardboard, really compacted. Sniff test showed no discernible smell. I placed the first full block in the grate and tried to light it. “Simply light the edges” says the instruction so first test fire… half a box of matches and a bit of cursing finally got the flame to take hold. Looking at the picture on the box I added some small bits of coal, it struggled. Once going though, it took hold quickly and burnt fiercely warming the room fast.
NOT ONE TO BE EASILY PUT OFF… day two I tried a different technique. Held by one corner dangling with a longer match/taper. This time the block easily caught on the corner and within seconds I put the item in the grate with a sturdy flame, added a few bits of kindling and within a minute had logs and coal on with quite a strong fire burning, lots of flame very little smoke, only from the additions. Warm room very quickly in half the time of my usual fires.
Day three, same style as day two but this time with only half a block (easily snapped). Exactly the same result, strong, hot fire in a couple minutes. Impressed.
In conclusion I would say that using these items as firelighters is a quick and easy way to get a strong fire and warm a room quicker than traditional methods. They do not emit a smell or smoke, so especially good when there is a strong wind blowing down the chimney. I found half a block sufficient to start a fire in a normal size grate in a family home so this box would be sufficient for about 10 fires. I did not trying using them on a barbecue, but as someone who has great difficulty in lighting one in the summertime using traditional firelighters, I would imagine that these blocks would be absolutely spot on. At £6.99 for 5 blocks (10 fires) I think they are more expensive than the more traditional firelighter but these items are without Kerosene and odourless, quicker and also made of recycled material so have much to recommend them.
For more information or to buy visit www.firemizer.com.