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Howdy all - I've got a question about the rock wool used to simulate the glowing embers in a gas fireplace. After buying replacement embers for $15 per small bag, someone at work mentioned that it's just fine steel wool wadded into pieces. Is there more to it than that, or is rock wool really just plain ole steel wool in disguise?

TIA…
 

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It seems like it is made from melted rocks and different than steel wool.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_wool

Stone wool is a furnace product of molten rock at a temperature of about 1600 °C, through which a stream of air or steam is blown. More advanced production techniques are based on spinning molten rock on high speed spinning wheels somewhat like the process used to prepare cotton candy. The final product is a mass of fine, intertwined fibres with a typical diameter of 6 to 10 micrometers. Mineral wool may contain a binder, often food grade starch, and an oil to reduce dusting.
 

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Great, glad I could help you back after you helped me.

You recommended a Delta table saw blade for $17 a couple of months ago which I bought and have really enjoyed using. It is quite a fantastic blade.

I also was able to get a $15 rebate on that blade, so it was an incredible deal at $2!

KG
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mike - I knew that steel wool was a good fire starter…I've seen it used with a flint and steel set.

$2?! KG…you're the bargain King! That's an amazing deal. The box it came in is worth $2.

FWIW, while I was waiting for replies on this, I got curious and placed a couple of chunks of steel wool in the fireplace. It does make for a decent glowing ember, but you can see the individual strands of steel, so it's not quite as realistic as the rock wool. So far it hasn't been consumed by the flame either. That's not a suggestion for anyone else to use steel wool as a substitute…just reporting the observations.
 

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This is ironic considering the recent discussion about the flammability of steel wool.

This morning I was messing around with our prewar era Lionel train set that belonged to my Dad. The wheels weren't getting good traction, and since I happened to have the steel wool mentioned above readily at hand, I grabbed a piece to wipe down the track. Unfortunately, I chose to do this while the train was running, not thinking about the short circuit I'd be causing with the steel wool. To my amazement, the steel pad immediately went up in flames in a shower of sparks in my hand, caused by contact with the track. My first reaction was to try to blow it out, which only made it worse, which then caused me to drop the pad…it landed on some nearby poster board, still glowing orange but with no flame…the sparks were showing no signs of going out, afraid of a full blown flame resuming, I attempted to pick it up again and dropped it to the floor. I managed to grab a rag and pick up one end of the pad and ran it upstairs to the sink.

All's well now, but WOW!...what a surprise, and what a tragedy this could have quickly become. It happened so fast, and could have easily turned into an all out fire. Having coffee and enjoying some childhood memories one minute, panicking and wondering if my house was going to burn down the next. Fortunately, my wife and most of the kids were out of the house, and fortunately nothing else became of it, but it did scare me and reminded me what a fine line we walk sometimes. I should have known better, but didn't give it a thought until after.

Be safe my friends!
 

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When I was a kid in scouts, we were taught to carry steel wool as an emergency fire starter. If all else failed, you took the two "D" batteries out of your trusty flashlight and held them together (just like they were in the flashlight). You would then stretch out your steel wool so it would touch both ends of the batteries. You had instant fire! I think that is how you did it anyway. That was 35 years ago!
 
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