Q. How can I prepare old newspapers for use as fireplace logs? Is this a good idea? A. A number of companies now market machines which are designed to roll old newspapers into "logs" that can be burned in the fireplace or stove. Putting recycling on a grass-roots basis, this process converts waste into something useful, thus giving a partial answer to the so-called fuel shortage.
Our response is given with due apology to Abe Lincoln who used real oak logs, not old copies of the Monitor, in his Illinois log-cabin fireplace.
If the purchase of a machine is disquieting, you can roll sections or sheets of newspaper around a length of broomstick. When the makings are a couple of inches thick, slip out the broomstick and tie the bundle with tight wire.
Soak the paper in charcoal lighter fluid or kerosene -- but never gasoline.
When the rolled paper has soaked up the fluid, wrap more waste newspaper around the saturated bundle to make the "log" four or five inches thick. Again, wire-tie the "log" and set it aside for a nippy night.
Two or three such "logs" should burn all evening in a fireplace.