Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From Laundry Disaster to Preparedness Hack

About two weeks ago I'm transferring a load of laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. Clunk. I look into the dryer and see a crayon. That's odd, I think. I transfer a few more items. Clunk. Another crayon. I poke around, and find another. I then spend the next 20 minutes digging through wet clothes, trying to find as many crayons as possible. When I'm done, I've got my findings splayed out in front of me:

I have two thoughts: (1) Whew. Thank heavens I accounted for all 24 of them. I could just imagine pulling out a dryer full of crayon-streaked clothes. And (2), whoo! It's buddy burner making time!

A buddy burner is an outdoors / preparedness hack, where you turn a can, cardboard and wax into a mini-stove. The stove is basically a large candle, so it's usable indoors; a claim nearly all other improvised stoves can't make. The insructions for making them aren't difficult, but I've never had a source of wax to give it a try. With my collection of crayons, I now had this final ingredient.

Here's some action shots of me putting this project together:

The whole thing went together easily enough: the cardboard from a recent Amazon purchase was easy to cut and shape, and the caryons melted with ease in my improvised double-boiler.

After letting the burner cool for an hour or so, I went ahead and lit it up (see above). Yeah, the results weren't especially astounding. I believe I over-filled the burner, not leaving any cardboard peaking out from the wax. The result is that I've created one heck of a candle, but not much of a stove. I should be able to melt and reshape things to fix this oops. But for now, lesson learned: always leave some cardboard showing at the top of the stove.

How exactly a box of crayons ended up in our laundry basket is still a mystery to me. But I'm glad it happened and this was definitely a fun project worth trying. My suggestion: skip the washing machine step and just salvage an old box of crayons you have lying around.

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