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Sustaining a fire is all about the proportion of fuel to oxygen. Too much of one and not enough of the other, and your fire will quickly fizzle. That’s why we’re always interested to see creative solutions for feeding a campfire efficiently. If you haven’t already seen our article on the Dakota Fire Hole, that’s a great example of this principle.
Today, we wanted to share another technique, the Swedish Torch. Also called Schwedenfeuer or Swedish Log Candle, it differs from ordinary campfires in that it uses a single large piece of timber as its fuel. If you’re in a location where you can cut down or find a sizable fallen tree, and you have a saw or axe handy, give it a shot some time.
Essentially, you’ll need to stand a section of a log on end, and cut 4 to 6 deep vertical grooves into it with a saw. The video below uses a chainsaw for quick cuts, but this can easily be done with a hand saw. (Alternatively, you can split the log into quarters with an axe, and bind the quarters together near the base.)
Then, shove some tinder material into the grooves, set some kindling on top of the log, and light it. The Swedish torch log will eventually start to burn from the inside out, and air will be drawn into the grooves at the base, sustaining it. You even get a nice flat-top cooking platform for a skillet!