Harbor Freight cart and fire starters

I am finally putting together some of the stuff/tools that will help me make stuff around the house. Today I built a small two shelf metal cart I got from Harbor Freight for about $30.00 a couple of years ago. I knew I wanted a small cart to make jobs around the shop and garden easier by having a mobile work platform for tools and stuff, but I never took the time to put together the cart.

I have to say putting the cart was a challenge because the metal shelves are not square or welded at the corners. The metal has a properly bent crease but it takes some muscle power to get the metal shelf walls close enough to get the bolts through and attached. What I thought would be an easy job of bolting together a cart became a multi-hour job of getting the metal shelves to fit the legs of the cart.

I can say that all of the holes were correctly positioned once I got the the legs in place and tightened down the the bolts and it is a nice small cart that can work as extra work space for moving tools, plants for the garden or even a patio cart for moving food around when you BBQ. The cart was worth buying but just so you know it takes a bit of muscle to put the cart together.

I’m making more fire starters with the paraffin wax and wood chips in cupcake muffin papers. I am getting better about stocking up on kindling and splinting my fire wood into smaller and easier to burn firewood. While I still use a bit of paper around the fire starter and add about five sticks of kindling. I know the “fire starters” always work with just one match I’ll start a fire every time.

If you want to make your own fire starters it is easy but you have to heat the paraffin wax slowly at low temps because that wax is very flammable. I use a small crock pot set on low heat or a Homedicis wax bath for wax heat coats for arthritic joint therapy. Wax for canning is paraffin and you can find it in most canning sections of stores. I bought my last batch of wax from Amazon because I got a better price per pound price. Fill the muffin cup 1/3-1/2 full of wood chips then add about 1/4 of a cup of wax and that is all you need to make your own fire starters. I use mostly wood chips but I have used paper egg crates instead of muffin tin papers, sawdust or small pine cones and decorative ribbons to give fire starters out as Holiday gifts.

Don’t be afraid to open a window or door if your fireplace/wood stove makes your house a bit warm. I know I felt like I was wasting heat if I opened a window or door if the room that my wood stove got warm. This year I’m opening up the door to let out some heat but also let in some fresh air.

I tried to hold all heat in in the winter and I forget that the house needs to breathe. While you can call me bad names but I have a hard time keeping my wood stove from heating the front part of the house in the 80 degree F. range. It’s not my fault because I have an efficient wood stove, dry wood and good insulation. Now that I’m opening the front door for some fresh air the back part of my house gets a couple of degrees warmer.

Every home and every body is different. All I can say is my experience by opening up my front door to get fresh air, seems to move warmer air into the back part of my house the farthest away from the wood stove and the open door. Obviously it is some sort of convection air movement. While I don’t understand why it works. I am happy that the back part of my house is staying warm.

2 Responses to Harbor Freight cart and fire starters

  1. Louise says:

    Could it be that your wood heater is too big for your house? My dad said that it is a common mistake, that people will get a bigger heater than they need, and then they have to keep the fires dampened down, leading to more smoke than heat, and also chimney fires. Surprisingly, when we went to buy a wood heater, the salesman steered us towards a bigger, more expensive one, but I wasn’t having it.

  2. Jamie says:

    Louise: My wood stove is over sized for my home’s sq. footage but I wanted a wood stove that took a standard 16-18 inch chunk of fire wood.
    I agree you should not buy a would stove larger than what you need for your home. But there are other considerations about the wood you are using. Is the wood dry and seasoned, do you need to cut and or split the wood to fit in your wood stove.

    Most wood stoves that are built for small homes under 1200 square feet actually use a 15 inch or smaller length chunk of firewood. That is fine if you cut your own fire wood. But if you are buying cut and split fire wood. You will have to cut and split that wood again to fit your smaller wood stove.

    Opening my front door a few inches, lets in fresh air, adds some humidity and is not drafty feeling. My solution is not the same solution for everyone.

    I hated letting out all that warm air from the stove for a couple of years. This year I open the door and the back part of the house temps are a couple of degrees warmer after opening my front door to
    to my enclosed but not insulated front porch and the fresh smelling air coming into the house is wonderful.

    With the larger wood stove I get plenty of heat and I can mitigate any over heating via opening windows or door. I’m not wasteful about my firewood heat.

    I agree with you a hot clean burning fire is preferable for keeping a chimney clean. Better to burn a good hot fire and open a window/door rather than have a smoking smudge type fire in your wood stove.

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