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How do you light your stove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Ducky, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    Nov 4, 2010
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    Loc:
    Buffalo, NY
    This is my 6th year with my stove running full time with no gas furnace back up.

    I was doing a 'big' no no when it comes to wood stoves... lighting it with a cup of kerosene ::P

    I decided this year, to try a new approach, and to see how well it works...

    I bought some perafin wax, and used old toilet roll/paper towel rolls, cut them down to about an inch tall, melted the wax, mixed in saw dust, and let cool.

    I have had 2 fires this way. I started doing it in the kitchen, but what a mess! So I switched to doing it on top of my stove (melting the wax) much less messy, just be careful not to spill any or its smoke city!

    Anyways, I use one 2" 'candle' to light the wood in the stove... some observations so far:

    1) the fire seems to burn better/hotter/faster going this route over kerosene.
    2) with kerosene it was always a good 15-20minute exercise to get the wood to catch... then to keep it that way... with the candle, you set it in there on a peice of wood, pile the kindling around and on top, light the candle, and with in 5 minutes a solidly burning, good to go fire.

    So i geuss, is this a good way to run the stove with a small candle like this? Or is this dangerous in the form of creosote? My chimney is 6" x 16'? or so... My creosote has always been dry and crusty... I havent run into any of the gooey and sticky yet...

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  2. argali66

    argali66 New Member

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    Loc:
    Orland, Maine
    Supercedars
    Jack768 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  3. Hanko

    Hanko Minister of Fire

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    livingstion co, Michigan
    Ruttland fire starter squares. $11 per box 144 squares per box. easier to get then super cedars and cheaper. work as good or better
    Woody Stover and vector1701 like this.
  4. salmonhunter

    salmonhunter Burning Hunk

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    newbrunswick canada
    3 crumpled up sheets of newspaper with cut up and split pallet wood for kindling. light it with a BBQ lighter in a bunch of spots. For the wife I have a box of supercedars to make it easier for her.
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Philadelphia
    Well, it sounds to me like Ducky is making his own version of Super Cedars, which are also sawdust in a paraffin binder. Why should be buy commercially available fire starters, if he likes making his own?

    I use a handfull of small fatwood splits over some crumpled up paper. Takes off like a banshee every time.

    fatwood.jpg
    mfglickman and CatieG like this.
  6. argali66

    argali66 New Member

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    Loc:
    Orland, Maine
    We always lit our fires the traditional way. Newspapers and kindling. I bought a 72 Pack of those super cedars and I can say without a doubt that this is the easiest way to start a fire I can think of. I take 2 Splits and lay them in the firebox pointing to the back of the stove. Then I lay on top of those 2 splits 2 more splits and in the center I put 1/2 of 1 super cedar split in 2 pieces under each log on top. The Fire is going with minutes.

    My wife use to make fun of me because I would get so mad trying to start it the old way. Now it's funny because I had to show her the new way.

    I guess when it comes down to it, whatever is the easiest, fastest, safest and cheapest way you can start your fire is the best for you.
    CatieG and Backwoods Savage like this.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Ducky, for many, many moons I used newspapers only for starting fires. Then one day my wife bought some fatwood. She liked it but I did not. Then we learned about Super Cedars (and you can get some free samples) and after getting our free samples we bought a box of them. Lighting fires used to be extremely difficult for my wife but now with these things it is super easy. We break them into quarters so each one will do 4 fires and it matters not if you have kindling wood or not.
    By your description, you have been doing something similar.

    Yet, by the sounds of it, if it took that long to get the wood burning using kerosene, I'd say your wood is not very dry and you need to fix that. The only way to fix it is to get wood on hand long before you need it. Around our house, we won't burn wood unless it has been split and in the stack for 3 years. This way, there is no creosote. None. We've had our present stove 5 full winters now (and it is our only heat source) and have yet to have creosote in the chimney. Dry wood is the only way to go. If you buy wood, never believe the seller when he says the wood is ready to burn.
    CatieG, akennyd and woodchip like this.
  8. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    Ducky, that seems like a lot of work...like piece work on an assembly line. Newspaper, super cedars or fatwood will make short work of starting your fire
  9. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    Colorado/NewMexico
    Newspapers work great for me. But I don't crumple 'em, roll 'em, or tie 'em in knots. I tear 'em into strips an inch or 2 wide, fray 'em like a pompon, and place 'em under kindling. All the extra edges really help the newspapers to go up fast and hot. They tear nice and evenly top to botton because as part of the modern newspaper manufacturing process the fibers get alligned. Tearing right to left doesn't work the same.
  10. DickRussell

    DickRussell Member

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    central NH
    We had a thread on this subject just last week, I think, but too many pages back to find easily. I think the biggest problem some have in getting a fire going is using splits right away that are just too large for starting purposes. A large chunk of wood absorbs heat readily, slowing the rate at which the firebox temperature goes up. A hot fire is needed to get a good burn going. The remedy: keep a good supply of narrower splits on hand for starting, and hold off adding the larger pieces until the fire is going well. I like to place two small pieces a few inches apart and parallel to the air flow (butts facing the front door in my case), add some light starter material like thin birch bark strips or a twist of newspaper, add a small pile of dry light kindling (like the small dead branches that snap easily off the lower branches of a pine tree), then some bigger diameter kindling, and finally some small splits of regular firewood. One match kicks it off to a good little blaze within say 30 seconds. If your fire takes 10 minutes or more to get going, chances are you've got too much big firewood in there.
  11. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I'm lucky
    Dry birch bark.
    woodchip and Agent like this.
  12. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

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    Loc:
    Waynesburg, Kentucky
    I don't understand how come people burn fires to save money on heating bills, but buy products to start a fire with.
    Bster13, bryan, WidowMaker and 5 others like this.
  13. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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    I start my fires with pallet wood, 2 or 3 larger pieces on the bottom and smaller pieces criss crossed
    on top. I use the Wall mart fire starters, they are cheaper than making them yourself (unless you can
    get the wax for free). I use a self lighting propane torch (TS-800) to light the fire. Works great!
  14. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you. Can just stop by and buy some on the way home from work and always start my fire.
  15. Nixon

    Nixon Minister of Fire

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    two small splits north south , the rest east west . Under that is basically splitter trash that I use a kindling . Rarely takes more than one match to get it going . Mind You , that all the wood has been split and stacked for at least 3 years .
    PapaDave likes this.
  16. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Super Cedars, pine cones, cardboard, birch bark, pallet pieces, dimensional lumber scraps, kindling and newspaper . . . I'm not too picky on how the fire gets started . . . just that it does get started.
    CatieG, bag of hammers and chazcarr like this.
  17. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    Bic lighter.
  18. pastera

    pastera Feeling the Heat

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    SE Mass
    This year it's pine cones - so many around the yard it seemed a waste not to do something productive with them.
  19. Agent

    Agent Member

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    Loc:
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    A little 4"x4" piece of roofing tar paper or dryer lint along with my choice of pine kindling.
    I prefer the tar paper as it has a nice lasting flame, but the lint is exceptionally entertaining to ignite for some reason.
  20. tlc1976

    tlc1976 New Member

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    For me #1 is to build the fire into a wood pyramid, with ashes cleaned out from under the wood so it can breathe, and so the heat is trapped above the two bottom pieces. I also usually prop the two bottom pieces onto the ledge at the door for air space. Makes a huge difference.

    Then I usually use newspaper and cardboard. Newspaper starts quick but cardboard usually holds the heat long enough to get the fire going. If it's being finicky then I'll stick a piece of plastic in there since it melts into an oily mess on the wood and then really gives the fire a boost. Basically I just save anything that would go to the recycle bins at the dump anyway for starting fires. The only thing I buy is lighters.
  21. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    On a cold start, big stuff is loaded into the stove except for the front top of the box (E-W loading stove.) A couple of small splits of fast-burning wood like Cherry or soft Maple, with a trough between them. 1/4 full sheets of newspaper, a couple of them, crumpled to the shape of long sticks and laid in the trough. Red Pine kindling criss-crossed across the trough. Light stove and don't open the door again until it's time to reload. Rake coals forward, load big in the back and some small stuff in the very front. Close door until next reload.
  22. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Where do you buy these, I looked and found them at the HD for $12.98

    A hatchet, a hammer, split up a bunch of finger sized sticks,put em in a bucket.
    A couple of 3 to 4 inch splits laid 4 or 5 inches apart,crumpled up paper between them, then lay the sticks across them ,then bigger splits on top of sticks and light
  23. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I posted my current method of wax/wood noodles previously - before that I used dryer lint stuffed inside empty toilet paper rolls.

    You mentioned your chimney is 6" x 16" - drop a liner down that chimney & your draft will improve. :)
    DianeB likes this.
  24. learningasigoalong

    learningasigoalong New Member

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    chazcarr likes this.
  25. akennyd

    akennyd Member

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    Loc:
    North Carolina
    +1 on the possibility of having wet wood.

    I too have tried a few different ways of starting my Fireview (I have to start it from cold a lot down here in NC). My favorite is to use fatwood. I am blessed in having an almost unlimited supply due to some pushed up stumps on my mother-in-laws property. I have heard the argument that fatwood burns with too much smoke and soot but I burn a good bit of pine and if you've ever messed with dry pine, you know that the knots are pretty much on their way to becoming fatwood if not there already.

    Anyway...Dry wood+fatwood+newspaper=fire in my woodstove.

    Kenny

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