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How to start a fire video. Top down method and other tips.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by freddypd, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. freddypd

    freddypd Burning Hunk

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    I saw this video. It looks old and corny, but I think it explains everything you guys always talk about. Really good for the beginner wood burner.

    burnt03 likes this.

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  2. freddypd

    freddypd Burning Hunk

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    How bout we put Butch in the firewood haorders club.....Wonder if he is Hearth.com member?

    dylskee and n3pro like this.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That top video has been quoted on here many, many times. It works okay for many but methinks it can be done better.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I love top down. I started one like her first one in the video the other night using pieces of Super Cedar on top instead of the newspaper knots. It worked like a champ.
    NWfuel likes this.
  6. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I have seen that one on this site a lot.
  7. David Tackett

    David Tackett Member

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    Thanks for posting. I never attempted a top down start.
  8. freddypd

    freddypd Burning Hunk

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    Sorry for the repeats. I was trying to "pay it forward" for all the advice and help I have gotten so far.
  9. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Freddypd,

    No problem with the repeat, there are lots of people that lurk on here and never post, plus newbies here all the time. Its good to repeat it.

    Thanks for paying it forward :)
  10. Monosperma

    Monosperma Member

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    I think the overhand is the wrong kind of knot for newspaper. A bowline is a better knot with much greater breaking strength. If you want to join two or more rolls of newspaper, try the re-threaded figure eight or the double fisherman's, unless of course your rolls of newspaper that you are tying together differ significantly in diameter, in which case you might be better off with an Albright knot.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  11. rawlins02

    rawlins02 Member

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    I tried top-down method last spring. I'm 2 for 2 this season. I stack the stove with big splits, then medium logs, twigs, some cardboard and newspaper on top. Light it and 40-45 minutes later I'm at 450F and climbing. Now it seems silly to try piling bigger logs on a little fire. That's upside down. Top down works great in my Vermont Castings Vigilant.
  12. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    However... Not everyone has the best luck with top down starts. I tried it for awhile, my wife liked it and made some improvements that worked for her but eventually I went back to bottom up. I know the smoke issue is better associated with top down. Personal preference I guess. :)
  13. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    Nice little video (the first one) but not wearing gloves? Really? Seems like a pretty obvious flaw to me for a beginners video.
  14. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I use a top-down method but don't use paper of any kind. I do believe it works best for me in the stove and also in the backyard firepit. Nothing like building up a cross-stacked pile of splits in the pit and lighting from the top then not having to add wood for several hours yet having a nice constant flame with little to no smoke. Amuses guests too who don't expect it to work as well as it does.
  15. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    The idea is you fill the stove up and like Slow1 does criss cross if you can to have more space between splits for air flow.
    But by filling the stove up about the only open space is up at the top to stack some kindling and fire starter (newspaper).
    The kindling will burn hotter and faster being up there by the secondary air tubes feeding it fresh air and the small space thats left up there heats up really quick.
    By not piling a bunch of wood on top of the kindling lets the kindling burn quicker and hotter.

    Having a big open space in your stove by making a little pile of kindling on the bottom and stacking a couple big pieces on top makes for a lot of open space to heat up and that takes longer.

    As the video says heat radiates in all directions so as the kindling on top burns the wood underneath gets heated for also, but now with the top down set up, the heat build up is faster and hotter and it radiating down to catch the splits below on fire. Its all about build heat. I say that as people usually think its all about a bunch of flames but you can have lots of flames and not build heat in the stove, so its all about the heat.
  16. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    I loaded up some criss cross kindling and placed two square fire starters on the top and lit, I then noticed I had smoke coming out of the door and into the room, I knocked the fire starters to the bottom of the pile of kindling and It started up with no issue. What did I do wrong, door was cracked alittle and air was wide open?
  17. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    During warm weather flues can be finicky with their draw. As its the difference in the temps as in outdoor temps verses temp of stove that creates the draw. I have trouble with my draw during mild weather. Some people have really tall chimneys with really good draw.

    Each stove, fireplace insert hooked up to the chimney /flue seem to all have their own little characteristics.

    You hear alot of times on here to give things time to learn your setup as they all are a little different.

    Maybe people can post pictures of their top down fire starts.

    Etiger2007, I am not sure what went on with your deal there, some people dont like top down starts and start their fires other ways , there is more than one way to do it. What ever works for you stick with it.

    I would say but not sure but maybe if you too loosely stack your kindling and didnt have it ontop of some bigger stuff to fill up the stove. The object is to fill up the stove to reduce the amount of open air space in the stove to only leave a small space ontop of the bigger stuff to lay a small pile of kindling and fire starter. If you just used a pile of real loose criss crossed kindling ,I dont see that as filling the stove up like with bigger stuff to reduce all the open air space.

    Next time if you could take a pic maybe we can get a better idea of maybe what happened. Top down works but with any stove from a cold start depending on how good of draw you have, a little smoke can try and escape out the door if you dont get the door shut quickly as its the heat that warms the flue and gets the draw going better. Its all about the heat.

    http://www.chiefchimney.com/fireplaces/upsidedown.pdf

    I found this pic on the web:
    [​IMG]

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