Secrets on the Grill

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preparing the Paper Component of Briquettes

In a previous entry, I mentioned that paper has good binding properties that helps create a briquette that doesn't immediately fall apart. It's actually the fibers of the paper that has this.

Cutting or shredding the paper (with a paper shredder) like in the picture breaks down the paper in size. The clean cuts do not however expose the paper's fibers.

The trick is to shred the paper by tearing or ripping the paper so it has a shearing effect. See the fibers exposed in the photo below.

For briquette production, this is what I do to prepare the paper:

  1. Shred stacks of paper using a paper shredder.
  2. Cut the long shreds into shorter pieces.
  3. Soak the shredded and cut pieces in a pail of water overnight.
The following day, do the following:
  1. Pick up a wad of the soaked paper roughly half inch thick.
  2. Tear into pieces roughly 2" by 2".
  3. Put the torn pieces in another pail.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 until all of the soaked paper is torn.
  5. Pour back water into the new pail.
  6. Mix the paper while breaking apart the torn pieces until it forms a slurry.

The next post in this series discusses briquetting by compression.