Good deal on a charcoal chimney

Originally published at: Good deal on a charcoal chimney | Boing Boing

I used to use a chimeny firestarter, but found that the newspaper always created a bunch of fine ash that got all over the place (particularly if there was any wind at all). So I’ve switched to using paraffin firestarters instead, which are basically little lumps you set on fire and then build a pyramid of charcoal on top of it. This is less messy, and also produces a fire in the grill instead needing to pour/transfer hot coals into the grill.

If you’re handy, you can melt paraffin, candle stubs, etc. and mix with sawdust or wood chips. But you can also just buy them at the grocery or hardware store.


I began using an electric fire starter some years back (one of the loop kinds), and I’m never using anything else ever again for home barbecuing. No starter fumes and none of the fuss of a chimney.

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The brand logo has been photoshopped onto it, which is something you see lot of in product photos these days. I sorta wonder why that is. It seems suspicious to me, but I suppose it’s just because the Chinese factories make the same item for ten different brands, and they are given the product photo as well?

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Might’ve been that the logo wasn’t very legible so they shooped it to make it obvious. However my hunch is that it’s a generic item that gets rebranded as you also mentioned.


the one at the Amazon page is different than the one in the photo that accompanies the article; that one has the Kingsford logo embossed on the chimney. Others I’ve seen have and additional apparatus that looks a bit like a rat trap, on the handle. All work just as well I’m sure. The problem I have with these is “newspaper?” .The local newspapers are both Postmedia so I won’t be buying them for content, but they don’t burn as well as they used to. The non-tabloid “Journal” changed their paper a few years ago; smaller, courser, and the ink sheds readily.

If you squirt a little non-stick spray on the paper before lighting it, that helps with these.

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@frauenfelder is right, once you use a chimney, you’ll never go back to lighter fluid. I got my first chimney maybe 15+ years ago and later, once I learned how absolutely pollutive the fluid is, I’ve never used it again.

That’s true, but it doesn’t bother me.

Yes! I started getting into this with my wife’s candlemaking set up. We used old, ugly used up candles and dryer lint mixed with pine cone needles (?). It burns for a good long time.

What is Postmedia? Is it some kind of paper stock? Or the company? Our local paper uses regular newsprint, I still have a Sunday deadwood edition subscription, so I’m good. Only thing I won’t burn is the glossy ad/fillers that come with the Sunday paper.

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The task of butlers ironing newspaper is not as silly as it sounds. Butlers were not ironing out creases, but were using the hot iron to dry the ink so that the paper could be easily read without the reader’s ending up with black hands, a common problem with newspapers, including The New York Times daily. One’s “gentleman” could actually then read the newspaper wearing white gloves with no problem.

Note to readers: According to Ivor Spencer, who runs the Ivor Spencer International School for Butler Administrators and Personal Assistants in England, newspapers are ironed to get the wrinkles out and to dry the ink. He said the reasons were equally important.


It’s a Canadian media firm…explicitly declared Conservative bias.

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Interesting. Reminds me of My Dad and his handkerchiefs that he felt needed ironing (at least he did his fair share of the ironing :slight_smile: ) . I know that makes them sit better in your jacket pocket, but … He also ironed his socks too, though. Explain that, Scientist!


He had flat feet?


Ba Dum, Tish (Can’t get the monkey to work today)


$20something, shipped across the world, for a thing you can make yourself with a tomato can and a can opener in about 3 minutes

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I thought the exact same thing as you. So during a trip to the cabin, I made one from a coffee can, a can opener on a Swiss Army knife, a bent coat hanger, and a stick for a handle.

It took considerably more than three minutes, and my first attempt did not work nearly as well (I didn’t get the ventilation holes big enough.) The coffee can was also a bit short and wide. It lasted several years, but the metal eventually failed due to the heat.

I like my purchased one a whole lot better.

What’s that?


I see this all the time on Amazon, and often the shoops aren’t even good. The cat feeder I bought has no logo at all on the front, but in the product photo on amazon, there was a logo in that spot with obviously wrong perspective angles. It was a big name brand too, not some sketchy fly by night.

It’s a perfectly good cat feeder, but I am curious what’s going on in these corners of retail. Why do companies do this, and often do it so poorly.

I’ve really been struggling myself to find products that aren’t generic, slap-a-label-on-it items. Sometimes they can be decent but i always question how reliable or durable it really is, especially when it comes to certain types of products reliability matters more to me and it’s such a hassle wading through all the rebranded stuff. Often times it comes down to cheap & potentially a waste of money vs expensive/overpriced/overbuilt for what i need and there’s no middle ground… maybe i’m too picky :neutral_face: (i know i’m too picky).


I agree completely. It’s become really difficult to determine product quality before you buy. All reviews are astroturfed, and increasingly previously trustworthy brands are just putting their name on the same product as everyone else, all cranked out in China. This is not to say things made in China are poor quality because they are made in China. I’m not a dog-whistling racist on that point. China makes things to whatever quality and price point American companies ask it to. Companies have also figured out that profits go up if they get rid of theories and buy on the secondary manufacturers’ markets in Shenzhen instead. Then they start demanding lower costs on that end, factories oblige by cutting corners and so on. Amazon then makes all this worse by flooding every vertical with scammy brands and making it difficult to tell them apart.

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