How to Make a Swedish Fire Log or Swedish Torch

The art of making a Swedish fire torch, alternatively known as a Swedish log, is an efficient and versatile method of creating heat and light. Let’s dive into how to make a Swedish fire log and use it as a camping essential.

how to make a swedish fire log
how to make a swedish fire log

Making a Swedish Fire Log: What Do You Need

To properly make a Swedish fire log, you’ll need firewood, a chainsaw or axe, and some kindling.

Having a sturdy surface to cut or split the wood is essential. Additionally, having nearby kindling, fire starter material or newspaper will help in igniting the log in less than ideal circumstances.

Choosing Your Log

The ideal firewood to make a Swedish torch is a whole log from hardwood trees (oak, alder, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut), which burns longer and produces more heat.

Softwoods (douglas fir, cedar, pine, redwood, juniper, and spruce) are easier to cut and catch fire more quickly.

The size (height and width) of the log you choose will impact the overall burn-time In my experience, a standard-size log (around 12 in / 30 cm tall and 8 in / 20 cm in diameter) will burn for on average 2-3 hours.

campfire log pile
campfire log pile

Step by Step: Crafting the Swedish Fire Torch

Creating the Swedish torch involves preparing the log, using kindle to start the fire, and maintaining it.

Step 1: Preparing the Log

Stand your log vertical on a flat and stable surface. Starting at the top of the log, use a chainsaw to make two or three cross-cuts down about 3/4 of the length of the log. Cross-cuts should intersect at the center of the log.

You’ll need to cut the log like cutting a pie. The cross-cuts will split the log into quarters or sixths however the cuts will end just before cutting through the bottom of the log.

Step 2: Start the Fire Using Kindling

To start your fire, place kindling, tinder, paper, pine needles, pinecones, wood shavings, or a fire starter down the center of the log, then light it. The cross-cuts will allow airflow to the center of the log allowing continuous oxygen to feed the flame and burn the canadian cancle from the inside out. 

Step 3: Maintaining the One Log Fire

Occasionally, drop an ember or tiny pieces of kindling from the top of the log. This ensures consistent burning and helps keep the fire going inside the log.

How to Make a Swedish Fire Torch Without a Chainsaw

Locate and assemble 4 or 6 pre-split logs into the shape of a larger log. Most split wood is cut into relatively even lengths. Make sure the bark side of the log is facing on the outside.

Secure Pre-Split Logs WIth Wire

Secure the pre-split wood by wrapping wire around the entire group of logs to keep the log formation throughout the entirety of the burn cycle.

The Art of the Swedish Fire Log

A Swedish fire log is an innovative form of outdoor warmth and lighting developed by ingenious soldiers a long time ago. The Swedish fire log burns leveraging elementary principles from the essence of thermodynamics and outdoor survival.

The Origin of the Swedish Fire Log

To counter freezing winters, soldiers devised this method to maximize the use of a single log, allowing it to burn from the inside for hours without interruption. This technique became a strategic tool in survival situations.

Provides a Flat Surface for Cooking

A Swedish torch is an effective method to maintain a good fire throughout the day or evening. It provides a flat surface for cooking, handy for heating a pot or pan, and keeping the fire off the ground.

Keeps Fire Off Wet Ground

This technique is particularly advantageous in areas where firewood is scarce or in damp conditions where it’s challenging to start a fire near to the ground using traditional methods.

Important Safety Precautions

Adhering to safety guidelines when working with a saws is crucial in avoiding accidents.

Remember to always prioritize campfire safety. Never leave a burning fire unattended, and always extinguish it completely before leaving the area. If you’re starting a fire outdoors, confirm if it’s a safe time to do so in accordance with local regulations and weather conditions to avoid uncontrollable wild fires.

Campfires can be magical and comforting, but always remember to respect the power of fire and treat it with the utmost caution and control.

Have a fire extinguisher or a water source nearby to put out the fire if it gets out of hand. Always keep children and pets at a safe distance from the fire.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Swedish torch?

A Swedish torch, often referred to as a Swedish log, or Canadian candle, is essentially a mini campfire made from a single log. It was traditionally used by Swedish soldiers who needed quick, portable heat sources.

Is a Swedish log the same as a traditional campfire?

No, a Swedish log can be seen as a more efficient version of a traditional campfire. A traditional campfire requires multiple logs and constant fuel, while a Swedish log only needs a single log and some kindle to get the fire started.

What type of wood is best for a Swedish torch?

The type of wood doesn’t matter as much as the size. The bigger the log, the longer your torch will burn. However, it’s best to use naturally fallen or sourced wood rather than cutting live trees.

Do I need to have a chainsaw to make a Swedish log?

No, while a chainsaw will help to make swift, even cuts into the log, you can also use any tools you have available. You can try axes or wedges to split the wood.

How long will a Swedish torch log burn?

The burn time of a Swedish torch largely depends on the size of the log. On average, a Swedish torch can burn for 2-5 hours. However, with larger logs, it’s possible to get a fire lasting even longer.

Can I extinguish a Swedish torch easily?

Yes, just as you’d put out any other fire, with good fire safety in mind. Simply pour water onto the log until the fire is completely extinguished, and ensure no embers are left smoldering.

Can I cook on a Swedish torch?

Absolutely! Once the fire starts to burn and the flames have died down a little, you can place a pot or pan across the top of the log. The log will continue burning from the inside, providing a heat source for cooking.

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