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Starting a fire

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Danno77, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    This can be thrown into some thread purgatory because the post was made under the influence of cough syrup and an energy drink.

    Why are there so many posts on starting fires? Do y'all really start that many fires? I struggle with a fire or two every year. maybe more so in the early fall and early spring, but for the most part I just start a fire and reload on hot coals for weeks on end.

    I mean, we have posts on how to break fire starters into sixteenths. Seriously? Forget that crap; chuck the whole thing in there and let it burn.
    Richprint29 and Wildo like this.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Some folks have a small stove that won't hold coals while they are gone to work or overnight. Others simply start evening or weekend fires as supplemental heat or for ambiance.

    With my fisher wood stove, I had to start a fresh fire almost every day after work, and some mornings as the stove simply wouldn't hold coals worth a damn.

    pen
    dorkweed and BrowningBAR like this.
  3. Stella

    Stella Member

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    Here you need a fire from mid afternoon once the sun has started sinking but not overnight, hence the necessity to clear it out and lay it every day. So far in southern Greece the weather has been kind unlike in northern Greece which has temps below freezing and plenty of snow. Fire burning well now, pine log giving out plenty of heat.
  4. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    Some folks are on a budget or generally thrifty and don't want to chuck in a whole firestarter if a sixteenth will do. Not interested? Don't read. :) Feel better!!!
    tbuff likes this.
  5. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    +1
  6. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    folks on a budget don't buy them fancy schmancy firestarters in the first place!

    Nah, I hear ya, but y'all just need to throw a few knots of the newspaper in there and light it up with a bic.
    Wildo and X-trema like this.
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    When I was running the combo of Vigilant/Intrepid/Heritage I had a LOT of cold starts throughout the winter. Combine that with bad fuel and you have to do a cold start even more often as wet wood does not light from coals all that well.

    Also, a lot of new burners are gun-shy of packing the stove full or doing an overnight burn out of fear of a home fire. So, first year burners tend to have more cold starts.
    dorkweed likes this.
  8. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

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    I wish I could go weeks on end--and it's not b/c of burn times or being able to keep a fire going. The one downside of my attractive ZC fp is that it doesn't hold that much ash so I have to shovel and clean it out about every 10days or so. The upside is I keep my glass pretty clean.
  9. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I will say that when it stays cold i don't need them i just fill the stove up.
  10. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    You don't have to shut it down to clean the ash out. I rake the coals to one side and shovel the ash out on the other, then roll the coals to the other side and take some more ash out. works great and the house doesn't get cold while I do it. My glass gets a little foggy, so you got me beat there.
    Blue2ndaries and BrowningBAR like this.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Correct. This notion that you need to have a stone dead stove to clean out ash continues to pop up here.

    1. insert shovel into firebox.
    2. shake off coals.
    3. dump ash in bucket.
    4. repeat.

    Do it in the morning before you reload the stove. I don't even use the ash pans on any of the three stoves I run and I have yet to need to wait for the stove to go cold to remove any ash.
    Blue2ndaries likes this.
  12. tbuff

    tbuff Feeling the Heat

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    Danno, if we were all as smart as you, we wouldn't need Hearth.com... :p
    Joful likes this.
  13. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

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    I have actually done this a couple of times. The thing I noticed (or has been brought to my attention) is that more dust/ash rises and gets spread out in the room from the thermals coming off the hot coals. My wife finds a layer of dust on the mantel and bookcase off to the side of the hearth area after I do this, so that is why I typically let the stove go cold. ;em
    nate379 likes this.
  14. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Danno, I'm really glad for you that you can just chuck the whole SC in there. Not everyone likes to waste things like that.
    If one only needs a 1/4 (or 1/8) SC, then that's what one should use, not the whole thing. I will say though, that it might be nice to have them made in 1/4 size, but the cost would go up....so there's that.
    Why is it you think that some on a budget wouldn't buy SC?Probably cheaper than buying newspaper.
    We don't get the paper, but we do use some from a relative. I make my own firestarters, which are about the size of 1/4 SC.
    Today, I started a fire from coals. The stove is now going cold because outside temps are rising and we don't need a fire, which means starting a cold fire later. Happens a LOT in fall and spring. I don't burn all day in those conditions.
    Maybe I should move to a colder climate.
    I also clean the stove while hot by pushing stuff to one side then the other. Some here seem to think it's necessary to wait until the stove is cold.
    HTH;)
    ETA: Oh, and if you're ill, I hope you feel better.
    Lumber-Jack likes this.
  15. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    That's my issue too. When temps rise into the 30's or 40's, the house overheats if I burn more than one or two fires per day. If I can, I run two consecutive fires and then
    let it go out. That saves one homemade firestarter. :)
    Lumber-Jack and PapaDave like this.
  16. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    My little Century stove in my workshop has to be started from cold every morning if I want to spend time out there during the cold season. Small firebox, softwood burner, and I don't spend the night in my shop. That stove burns from maybe 9AM to 3PM, or so, then I let it die and start it back up the next morning. The Lopi in the house I just don't burn in consistently anymore since my wife died, so it's quite frequently cold as well. But even in our heyday we (me & wife) never really achieved what folks refer to as 24/7 burning. With softwood, it's tough, and neither of us was ever inclined to get up in the middle of the night to reload the stove. House is very well insulated, so it holds the temp overnight pretty well. So, I guess the message is...folks situations are different. Some of us use at least 1/4 of a Super Cedar pretty much every day. Rick
    PapaDave likes this.
  17. bryan

    bryan Member

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    Precisely my issue, but if the stove was any larger the living room would be uncomfortably hot.

    Finally getting comfortable enough to pack it full enough to last all night, but still gun-shy given that I'm burning pallets as I'm saving the what little seasoned cord wood I have until it actually gets cold here. Actually had enough coals to re-start this morning with a little coaxing, but it'll be cold by the time I get home today.

    All that said its easy enough to roll 3 sheets of newspaper and do a top down with some kindling (easy to make kindling out of pallets). I don't even by a newspaper and there is enough newspaper type things coming to the house to make one fire a day. I'm not out to earn a merit badge, but making homemade starters seems like too much work and I'm too cheap to buy firestarters.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are lots of reasons why folks have to start their stove once or more daily. Small size stove, small space, milder climate, milder season, new to wood burning, inadequate wood supply, workday cycle, balky draft or hard to light stove, damp wood, no kindling, are just some of the many reasons for people asking for help with starting.
    Mrs. Krabappel likes this.
  19. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    It's warm here today so I'm letting the fire burn out...need to clean the glass. I'll start a fire tonight, using a couple small chunks of SC and burning mostly Cherry so I can save my better wood... ==c
  20. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    It's not really too bad. I happen to have quite a supply of sawdust/chips and just use egg cartons. Takes about 10-15 minutes.
  21. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    While I could easily keep a fire going and reload on coals from October through April, I'd much rather start a fire than waste my firewood.

    I am with you on the firestarters though. A bit of paper seems to work just fine for me.
    Lumber-Jack likes this.
  22. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I used to say the same thing.

    pen
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Danno, I can throw another curve ball. In the past we normally would keep the stove going from, say, November 1 through March 15, give or take. No cold starts in that period at all. However, last winter was rather unique and it was amazing how often we had to start a cold stove.

    Was that the result of an unusually warm winter? Or perhaps that was because of the new insulation, new doors and new windows? I tend to think it was a combination of the two. The insulation has worked wonders. For example, we are a week into January but yet I find that we have not burned a cord of wood yet. I not so fondly remember the old Ashley days when we would burn 6 cord or more each winter. But we are close to mid-January and now have not even burned a cord. How much will we burn the rest of the winter? Yes, I am curious.

    The point is that burning so much less wood has meant that we have let the stove go cold quite often and therefore we do need to start new fires a lot. I really don't mind.... btw, Monday morning of this week I started a new fire because we simply let the stove go out. Sunday afternoon it got a bit warm in the house and there was now way I'd add any wood to that fire before going to bed. The result was our house temperature got down to almost 70 degrees! Not a bad temperature for not having an overnight fire. But the low temperature for that night was 29 degrees. Very unusual for January.

    So, I really don't mind having to start new fires because in the end, that means I am burning less wood which also means I am cutting less wood which means I'm not buying as much gas for saw or hauling vehicle or splitter. Nope, don't mind at all.
    corey21 and pen like this.
  24. PA Fire Bug

    PA Fire Bug Feeling the Heat

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    Since we have two stoves (it's great!) we only burn one at a time unless it is really cold or we want heat in the entire house. Depending on the weather, we may keep the entire house warm enough with a fire in the basement stove. Other times, we let the basement get cold and keep the living room and upstairs cozy. Either way, we're warm and happy.
  25. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    That's doesn't make it wrong now. The fact is, starting a fire with a bit of paper and dry wood is a simple task.
    Lumber-Jack and PapaDave like this.

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