Question: hi- as the header suggests, i am the idiot who cant start fires. well, actually i have only tried 2 times, but here is my question. i have a new stove that i am breaking in , and i tried to get a small fire going in it, as suggested by the manufacturer. i have a good draft, and dry seasoned wood (1 year+), yet the stuff wont light up. its broken into little kindling sized pieces no less. so my next step would be to try those firestarter sticks they sell, but my owners manual says do not use fire accelerators/igniters because this can damage the catalytic converter. are these wood based firestarter sticks going to damage the stove's c.converter? they say they are "non-toxic" and 100 natural, but they don't list any ingredients. p.s- here in syracuse, we had a storm in september that knocked over 30,000 trees in the city. yet, in the papers the "wood sellers" say that this surplus of wood will not effect prices, as the wood is mostly from "trash trees" (pines, cedars, elms, ash, etc). are they just trying to maintain the demand for their product (wood they cut and season themselves) by dissuading people from using the wood that fell on their own property, or are they right that these trees are no good to burn . I was under the impression that there really was no "bad" wood, as long as it was properly seasoned. Especially if it is free wood that mother nature put in your yard! : Answer: Those firestarters are fine to use. In any case, your catalytic should be in the bypass mode when you are starting the fire... Hopefully, you've read the articles on starting and tending fires at http://hearth.com/what/specific.html It's OK to burn these wood, as long as they are dry. However, in many cases, the wood is simply turned into mulch by processors right at the scene. This makes it easier to transport. In addition, these woods are usually not sold as firewood - i.e., they might be used if they fell in your yard, but people don't go out and cut them. So, I would agree that the price of good seasoned oak would not fall as a result.