Firemaking Survival Skills

Primitive Fires: Swedish Fire Torch

swedishtorch1
Written by Jax Grey

The Swedish Fire Torch is a primitive fire-making method that only uses one log, has a flat cooking surface, and is self-feeding. You may have heard it called the Canadian candle, the Swedish Fire Log, or the Swedish log stove. They all mean the same thing.

See the Swedish Fire Stove on Amazon.

This primitive fire is unique because it only requires one decent-sized log to burn, and once it’s going, it can burn for several hours without requiring any attention.




As with most primitive skills, there are several variations. You take a log, split it into quarters, and then stand it back up. Some methods will have you criss-cross kindling between the gaps, but I prefer this much-improved version which has been perfected by Far North Bushcraft and Survival.

In this post, I’ll show you how to make the improved swedish fire torch.

Swedish Fire Torch History

The Schwedenfackel, or fire torch in Swedish, is a pretty cool invention. Many believe it’s name is derived from the 30 Year War, which started in 1618 and ran through 1648. During the war, firewood was hard to come by and difficult to haul. It made sense that the soldiers were looking for ways to conserve wood.

Thus, the swedish fire torch was born.

With this method, they could cook their meals with a single log, and provide heat and light at the same time.

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Materials Needed

  • 1 Decent-sized log
  • Kindling or bark shavings
  • 1 Hatchet or axe
  • Lighter
  • Cooking pan (because you have to test it to make sure it works..)
    • Mountain Man Hash recipe/ingredients at the end

How To Make A Swedish Fire Log

  1. Locate a dead tree, roughly 8 inches in diameter. Saw both ends until you have flat surfaces on each end.
  2. Take your axe, and split the log right down the middle.

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3. Split your log in quarters. Do this the exact same way – pound your axe down with the same log.

You should have now have four identical quarters of the log. Mark each quarter 1,2,3,4 with your pen, or leave some kind of distinguishing mark. This will help when you putting it back together correctly.

Swedish Fire Log Improvements

In order to make this Canadian Candle a little better, we’re going to make a few improvements. The first improvement is creating a chimney. The Swedish Fire Torch works best when oxygen can continually fuel the fire. The second improvement is to “feather the logs”. This helps the flames climb up the log and out of the top.

Improvement 1: Create a Chimney Torch

  1. Take a quartered log, and shave off one the inside point.
  2. Repeat for all 4 quarters.
  3. Place all four logs together temporarily, and you should be able to see a small hole through the middle of the log.

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Once you put the logs together, you will see the ”chimney” begin to take effect.

Improvement 2: “Feather” the Logs:

The next step to creating this improved swedish torch is to feather the inside of the quartered logs. Take your hatchet, and notch the edges in a downward motion. This provides some rough, raw edges for the fire to catch on. Each notch should be facing the same direction. This will be important later on.

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Reassemble the Log

Put the log back together, with all of the feathered edges facing downward, and set it down on the ground.

Fill in all the edges with dry birch bark. Some people prefer to criss-cross kindling through the gaps.

It doesn’t need to sit very tightly together. Once the inside of the logs catches fire, the gaps will help to continually refuel the fire.

Light Your Torch

Starting at one of the edges, light your birchbark. Once one side takes flame, light the other three sides. Lighting all four sides at once helps create a uniform burn.

It might take a few minutes for your chimney to start smoking. Blow in the gaps gently if necessary.

Pretty soon, you’ll really start to see the chimney really take effect. You’ll first see a lot of smoke leaving the chimney. Once the inside feathers continue to burn, you’ll start to see flames shoot out of the top.

The length of time the torch will burn is dependent on the type of wood, and size of the log. If you’re using pine, you should be able to get several hours of use of out a single log.

 

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Simple Torch Meal

One of the big advantages of the Swedish fire log is it’s built-in stovetop. Take advantage of it next time you go camping, and make this simple recipe!

Mountain Man Hash Recipe

  • 4 strips of Bacon
  • ¼ lb sausage
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 stalks asparagus chopped
  • 1 Table spoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/8 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Dash of Salt and pepper
  1. Fry your bacon in your cooking pan first. This helps with the pan seasoning, and is especially important if you are using a cast iron pan.
  2. Pour a little olive oil into the pan, and then add your chopped sausage, asparagus, onions and chopped potato.
  3. Cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are almost done. 
  4. add the minced garlic and let it cook another minute.
  5. Add your mushrooms and the sun dried tomatoes(optional) As the mushrooms finish cooking stir it all together.
  6. Pull the pan off the torch and stir in two beaten eggs. Add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed.

Once the eggs are cooked, serve and season to taste. Enjoy!

About the author

Jax Grey

Survival expert with 10+ years of experience. Combining my passion of writing with my love of the wilderness, I am able to offer in-depth articles and how-to guides to help you survive in any survival situation.

2 Comments

  • Hi Danny

    Thanks for the great post. I have been writing about these candles for over the last couple of years and appreciate the bit on the history and the links. So far I have only been able to link them to Finland.

    The cuts on the inside of the chimney I came across in a Finnish candle called the Raappanan tuli candle and I incorporated it into a log rocket stove exactly as you have done to increase surface area when using damp wood.

    I researched your term Schwedenfackel and see that this name has been linked to candles from the medieval period (used by woodsmen). This has now given me another idea to add to my research.

    Cheers now, George

    • Hey George,

      Send some of your posts my way! I’d love to learn even more about the history behind swedish fire torches.

      I’m glad my post could help you further your research.

      Cheers,

      Danny

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