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Fire starting with a modern stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by georgepds, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. georgepds

    georgepds Member

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    I’m about to be a new Progress Hybrid stove owner and could use a few tips on fire starting. I know how to do it on my old Jotul, I’m just wondering if any of these are bad habits for the new stove

    I’ve been using a Jotul combi-fire for about 30 years ( the one that looks like an easter island head) , and have learned how to start a good fire in it:

    1) leave the door and flue damper open until a fire gets going
    2) stack the wood log cabin style (front to back on bottom with side to side on top)
    3) start the fire with a paraffin/wood chip fire starter ( the stuff in fake logs, but much smaller, a stick about 1x1x3”)


    Hints would be appreciated. I’d be loathe to give up my fire starters, they seem to work so well all these years

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  2. n3pro

    n3pro Minister of Fire

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    I don't see anything wrong with those. It varies but sometimes a top down, sometimes a tunnel of love, there are a few ways to get it started. In many cases but not all you shouldn't have to leave the door open unless you have a weak draft situation just open the air control and cat bypass light, watch, and wait.
  3. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    If you got good draft, and dry wood, a few pieces of junk mail is all you need. Gets the harman goin fast. Pine is a natural fire starter as well.
  4. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    Nice stove choice George, your new Progress will come with a thermometer, I use 3, one on the pipe (single wall magnetic style, probe type if dubble wall) 8" above the stove flue collar. this is the most important one. one on the flat cast part behind the top stone, and one on the stone in the middle over the cat. the one on the cast will react quicker to surface temps than the one on the stone- it is slower to react. This stove burns and reacts different from alot of others so the thermometers really keep you in tune to whats going on.
    I use Super Cedars, you want to use a fire starter that will not harm the cat.
    Starter fires you can play with for your liking, loaded burns do best for me always east west stacked.
    I always close the door to start (always open bypass) These stoves have air injection points inside in different locations so that with good draft and dry starter wood mine will rip start no problem with the door closed.
    The main concept is to get the flue gas up to temp so you can close the bypass, the closed door for me gets it hotter inside quicker and is safer by all means. (quick heat ups after your break-in fires of corse)
    350 deg (single wall pipe with a magnetic surface thermometer) close the bypass and start decreasing air in a fiew stages. The book that comes with the stove covers this well and the rest is a little bit of a learning process not hard at all. they like good dry wood, as do all stoves. the controllable heat out put is great once you get the hang of it and you should be fine with experience already under your belt. The hardest part is dealing with the weight of the stove !

    Enjoy, Todd2 maby some pics when installed:)
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Yes, don't keep the door open...but you'll realize that quickly. Fire will be burning often before you finish your reload.

    I keep air fully open only while loading. Have a tall chimney, strong draft, and find the stove heats more quickly, and the start up is better, if I close the air by at least a third immediately after I close the door.

    You won't need firestarters very often...this stove lights very easily. But by all means feel comfortable using them when you do need them...Woodstock has tested the supercedars and found the fire starts better with them.

    Agree about the "lots of thermometers". I use three.

    You'll grow quite fond of your stove. Let us know how your install and first fires go. :)
  6. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    IT sounds like that should work quite well. As already mentioned, be careful what you use to light: paper pieces will block the CAT quite quickly.

    Andrew
  7. georgepds

    georgepds Member

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    Thanks.. , one and all,

    I do not use paper of kindling, I use a product called duraflame firestart ( I cut the sticks in 4, use just 1/4, and light it on the gas stove, carry it to the wood stove). The virtue of this method is I never have to look for a match, and for years I 've started a fire without fail

    Anyone know if the durflame firestarter (which I think is just parraffin and wood chips) is "bad' for the catalytic converter?

    If it is, I guess I can swittch to supercedar
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I've never had problems using non colored paper to start my cat stove. The cat is bypassed until the fire is really hot anyway.

    But super cedars are nice :)
  9. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure if the dura firestart is bad for it or not, BUT, I do know that Supercedars are the ONLY CAT approved and tested firestarters. Whether that is becasue they are the only one that went thru the trouble of getting tested and approved, OR they are really the only one that won't cause issues (aka no chemicals...), I don't know. But they are cheap, work awesome, and support this site so why not right? ;) I and everyone else around here loves them.

    As already mentioned, no need to the crack door on PH. When cold starting, I simply do this and I have never had an issue, have a roaring fire in 10 minutes:


    1. Open bypass, and open air all the way up.
    2. Put a Med to large split in the back.
    3. Put a Med to large split in the front, with about 2" empty between them.
    4. Place 1/4 or 1/2 Super cedar in the middle of the stove, on the floor/grate, in-between the two splits. I cheat it towards the door a bit to make it easier to reach/light.
    5. Place one small peice (1") of kindling between the two splits, and over/laying on the top of the super cedar. I use pieces of 2x4 scraps that I split up to 1" x 1" pieces about 16" long. 1 scrap 2x4 splintered up has lastly me since 12/21 when I installed stove.
    6. Place a small split caddy-corner across the stove resting on the two splits, and above the peice of kindling.
    7. Place a med to large split ontop of that.
    8. Light the edge of the super cedar (I use a BBQ type lighter). It lights in 2 second with a flame on it.
    9. Shut door, and watch the super cedar take off like a rocket, catch the kindling up, which then spreads the flame across the stove and lights the small split and then everything else.
    10. After about 10 minutes, the flue pipe temp will read 250 to 300, close the bypass.
    11. Wait 2 or 3 minutes, close the air down about 1/2 way.
    12. Wait 2 or 3 minutes, close the air down to wherever you want it heat wise (close down for long slow burn, leave up for high heat/flames....).

    This will burn for about 2 or 3 hours, and you'll end up with a 2 or 3" red hot coal bed ready for a real load. Re-load as you wish.

    Enjoy the new stove. I'm really happy with the PH.
  10. georgepds

    georgepds Member

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    Thanks, very helpful.. I'll post this list near the stove so my wife can do it too (she's great wth the old Jotul)

    So, just curious, who approves firestarters for catalytic stoves.. is it the sotve manufacturer or someone else

    --G
  11. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    Yikes, Please do not use Super Cedars if you continue to carry a lit firestarter across your floor to start your stove. This practice is why major restuarants are getting insurance breaks for using the Super Cedar. They did not want the chefs lighting fires on the gas range and walking on grease slick floors to the wood ovens to light them. You can light the Super Cedar very easy with a match inside your wood stove, they light 10 times faster then a Firestart. I will be happy to send you samples and a match. email your ship to address forstarts@aol.com and they are on the way.
    I have been told by Sud Chemie that they have tested many firestarters in the past and ours is the only one approved for use with cats.
    Thomas
    Backwoods Savage, n3pro and jeff_t like this.
  12. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    FYI, the above post was written by Thomas, the man who created the super cedar. To be honest I was very apprehensive about using them. He sent me 2 samples, I ordered 2 cases. And I will again and again and again....

    Andrew
    Backwoods Savage and NWfuel like this.
  13. mattjm1017

    mattjm1017 Feeling the Heat

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    Woodstock will tell you not to use any firestarter other than super cedars. Also don't use colored paper but if your using super cedars and your wood is right you wont need any paper.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    The combo is virtually the same all over......good air + good fuel+ plus flame = success......please do not use fuel or accelerate..paper is ok just make sure kindling is good and dry....cedar kindling cut thin is amazing
  15. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Welcome. And here are some pics of it I snapped last night. I had to cold start last night so I snapped a few pics of exactly what I explained above. Lit up and ran like a champ. The 4th pic is what it looked like after 2 minutes from lighting the 1/4 Super Cedar in pic 3. You can see how nicely the Super cedar takes off and lights the peice of 2x4 kindling, then the small cross split and so on..... 10 minutes later, pipe was at 260, turned the cat and shuit down the air to 1/2. After an hour and a half, I loaded it up fo rthe night with 5 good size splits and it ran till morning.

    Attached Files:

    Swedishchef likes this.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Usually just an AARP invite and a "You may have already won xxxx million $" letter (junk mail)and off she goes.
  17. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    Here's a picture of my fire starting technique for an insert with a super cedar. Two logs N/S on the outside, super cedar on a bit of wood in between, two logs E/W on top of them, and some kindling (small branches, etc.) on top. Light super cedar and crack door open for a short period of time. Do not leave the fire unattended if the door is open. DSC03011-rev web.jpg
  18. KodiakII

    KodiakII Feeling the Heat

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    Fat Wood is my weapon of choice. I am going to cut out the middle man and make my own supply up this year.
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Glad to see that I'm not the only person who isn't a fan of having someone carry lit fire starting material across the room . . .

    Matches and/or lighters are pretty cheap . . .

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