I got a huge load of broken up pallets and just junk wood pieces from a friend to use as kindling SO I put paper down in knots, small piece of fire starter, and a small round on either side and then about 10 pieces of this junk wood of pallets etc and I am up to 475 degrees in about 30 min or maybe 40 but much faster than before. That wood was DRY, and it mattered. I could not figure out what in heck was the problem without being able to get to 400 degrees for a couple of hours but was using wood that was said to be seasoned or kiln dried and neither was true and I was trying to get the bigger pieces on too fast. I have a good fire going now and am happy. NOW only need to get the blocking plate down near the opening of the fireplace chimney in addition where they put it, at the top! Amazing how important the dryness of the wood is not that I thought wet wood would work but .., I have some maple coming for free so hope that is good for burning, it is 3 or so years sitting in shed. Best part is that it is free.