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Using SuperCedars

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Joful, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So, I've gone thru two SuperCedars now, meaning I've started 7 fires (one early attempt took two quarters). I find that with the constant ash bed in my stove, simply putting a SC on the floor of the stove and then putting kindling atop it does not work... the SC sinks into the ash and does not burn well.

    More recently, I've used my shovel to scrape a well in the ash bed, so I can place the SC down in the well. The surrounding ash supports the kindling above the SC, and it works pretty well, except I'm exposing the center of my floor grate with each new fire. Not sure if that's good or bad, but Jotul does recommend keeping at least 1" ash on top of the grate for regular use.

    How do the rest of you use these things? Still seems to me that a few rolled up sheets of newspaper is a heck of a lot simpler, but I'm giving this a try (well 400 tries, I bought the 100 pack).
    NWfuel likes this.

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  2. jrendfrey

    jrendfrey Member

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    dont get me wrong here because i have taken a great deal of information from the users of this site and it has made my house warmer. but i have used twisted newpaper tied in a knot with cardboard and kindling for 8 years. never had a problem with getting the stove lit. (i have always used softwood for kindling) newspaper and kindling give me good flame and the cardboard make kind of like a coal bed. plus another advantage of using this method is its free! cant go wrong there im sure others will post on the use of SC's but there too pricey for my woodheat addiction. remember we burn wood for the cost savings
    jjs777_fzr likes this.
  3. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I haven't started a fire in weeks ;)

    There's always the top down option. I don't exactly do that, but I put some splits on the bottom and build my fire on top of that. I make my own out of wax and sawdust, but it seems like a waste to have a fire starter sitting on something (ash) that doesn't burn.
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Ditto! My trial of SC's is more centered on helping my wife easily start fires, than for my own purposes. Several seasoned burners here state that SC's are the only way they can get their wife to start a fire, and with one who's apprehensive about doing it at all, I figured I'd make it as easy as possible for her.

    Not entirely. While I really enjoy saving money, I'd burn wood even if it cost more than oil. I like the look, smell, and feel of a wood fire in the house. I also enjoy the work of felling, bucking, and splitting.

    We're still in the, "light it every evening, and let it go out in the morning," mode. Seeing 20's and 30's overnight, but still low 50's during the day, with lots of solar gain.
    NWfuel likes this.
  5. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    When my wife starts a fire she puts a small split on the bottom (on top of the ash layer), the super cedar chunk on top of that , then splits around and on top. Leaves a tunnel to light the SC and it is off and burning...

    I usually re-start from hot coals with just small splits. If I start from a cold stove I might use a cardboard egg carton. If the wood is properly seasoned,and I am not in a hurry, just a match could start the narrow ends of the splits...

    KaptJaq
    NWfuel and pen like this.
  6. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    I do a topdown approach. Medium splits on bottom, small splits above that, with the SC resting on exposed wood of the middle small split (not barkside, in other words), big kindling on either side of the SC, and smaller kindling crossways on top of the big kindling so that the SC flame goes thru the smaller kindling. Works like a charm. I don't mess with it once I light the SC, just let stove get up to temp and engage cat. No fussing with adding more splits, just light, close door, watch, engage cat and go.
    NWfuel likes this.
  7. sblat

    sblat Member

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    I had the same problem a couple times with the SC falling into the ash. Now, I put a couple of good size splits on the bottom from, then add the SC on them. Then fill in the stove around it leaving a small opening to get the lighter in to light the SC. Never had a problem getting the fire going quickly.
    NWfuel likes this.
  8. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I make my own, but also sometimes use newspaper. Two splits N/S, a couple pieces of kindling between those, then a couple more splits E/W on top.
    Firestarter or newspaper in the tunnel, and off it goes in under a minute....usually.
    Dry wood helps.;)
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    That pretty much describes my method other than that I put the SC near the top of the stack, generally no more than one split above it. If I am using kindling I pile it on top of the splits then just set the SC on the top edge of the kindling pile and let it go top down.

    I used to spend a lot of time building my fires, now I just put the wood in where it lands for the most part and then put the SC wherever there is a good gap if not using kindling - the kindling will fill gaps thus the 'put it on top' approach. Pure top down just doesn't work with full size splits and a SC for me - guess my wood isn't THAT dry yet, ha!
    NWfuel likes this.
  10. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I started off using paper/cardboard as well, however I just don't care for the bits of paper ash and sometimes flaming embers that fly off the top. I used egg cartons for a while and they worked well enough (ripped into strips) as they don't fly off as easily. Once I tried the SC the convenience made it well worth the few cents per fire. Most of the burning season I start from coals anyway so my annual cost of SCs really is rather low.
    NWfuel likes this.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Top down fire . . . sometimes with a Super Cedar and some kindling . . . sometimes with some newspaper and some kindling . . . depends on my mood.
    NWfuel likes this.
  12. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    If I am having to start a fire in a cold stove that is full of ash, I take that opportunity to remove some ash.. I often will do a newspaper knot, and set my SC quarter on top of that, tucked in down in the middle. Light and go.

    The Mansfield holds coals so well, I probably won't use but 1 or 2 more SC's this year. (if the weather dude is right.. LOWS near 50 for 3-4 days coming up..)
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    We put 2 splits on the bottom and try to form a slight vee. Lay 1/4 of a super cedar and light it. Then kindling if you want. Sometimes we use kindling and sometimes not. One or two small splits on top and all is well.

    My wife has had problems for years getting a fire started but since we started using the super cedars she does really well most of the time. Occasionally she goofs but it is because she has not followed directions....

    Speaking of the super cedars, we were just delivered a new carton this afternoon. That will last a long time.
    NWfuel and pen like this.
  14. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    Nothing wrong with your method, but I would rather spend a little on a SC than mess with paper and kindling, just my preference. I have used SC for a year now. I bought the 30 pack, and evidently used 10 of them last year, at least 3 in the smoker. That would mean I had to light my stove only 28 times last heating season. I do not need paper or kindling to start my stove, just a 1/4 of a SC and a load of wood in the stove.

    Edit (forgot to answer OP's question)
    I use mine by loading the firebox with wood, then strategically placing the lighted quarter of SC in a crevice between the wood splits and under one of the splits, and with dry wood, in a few minutes the fire is going good with the door cracked open. When the wood is burning fairly well in a few minutes, I will close the door.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    I start with a cold stove out in my shop where I spend my time playing with my car. I open the woodstove door and hold the SC on edge while lighting the rough edge(designed for faster starting). As it continues to ignite the rough edge I place it directly in 2-3 inches of ash. I then go and get two large splits (sometimes wet, rains in Seattle) and place them on two sides of burning SC north south and lay a half split across the top to contain the flame from SC. This rolls the flame off the 3 wood surfaces. Leave the door cracked 1" for 10 minutes. After about 1/2 hour I open the 12" roll up because its to warm. Hope this helps. It is important to light the rough edge first on the SC.
    Thomas
  16. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    This is basically what we do also, except we usually put three splits on the bottom, leaving two vee's and put 1/8 of a SC in each with splits on top. Worked every time. If the wood is dry, small kindling usually isn't even necessary, although I'm sure it would go faster.
    NWfuel and Backwoods Savage like this.
  17. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I do pseudo cold starts regularly as I'm only a weekend and evening burner. When I'm limbing a tree, I cut them up for kindling (short enough for north south in the firebox, so pretty small to fit in my flush insert). I put these on top of the ash bed with some slight spacing along with the small scraps from splitting (or woodchips from chipping) and a small piece of newspaper (used more as a fuse than anything). East west, I put two fatwoods and two medium splits propped to create a cavity. Light fuse, go sit on the couch for a couple of minutes and then add some slightly larger splits...wait a few, close door. So far, this creates a nice hot fire the fastest for me. Creates nice lanes for air to get into the fire and spread both north south on the limbs and east west from the fat wood sticks. If I don't have the fat wood sticks, I simply just put in a little bit more newspaper. Entire process takes all of about 20 minutes from start to door close.

    Hindsight being 20/20, I don't plan on using this approach exactly once I use up all the limbs I currently have. I'll just split up some kindling with a hatchet now that I have a lot of softwood (pine, willow) stock piled....also bust up some of the odd sized wood that comes from processing as kindling. Maybe if I had a limbing chainsaw I'd reconsider, but that's not in the cards for now.
  18. argali66

    argali66 New Member

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    I just started using the Supercedars and have been able to start a raging fire every time with them with no problem. You need to put in 2 splits NS or EW and put (2) 1/4 Supercedars in between the bottom splits. The put 2 splits on top of the bottom splits in the opposite direction so thay are burning right underneath the splits. The fire will start right up. Seriously I have always had a hard time starting a fire the traditional way (kindling and newspaper). Now it's a breeze. You gotta have them under the splits you are starting and enough room in between the splits for O2 to get to them and the splits.
    NWfuel likes this.
  19. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

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    Joful
    Seems to me like the only thing you need to do is break off a piece of bark from one of your splits. Instead of placing the super cedar in the ash, place it on top of the piece of bark and put that on top of the ash. It floats on top, catches well, and works great for me.
    Keep doing what you are doing, just float the super cedar on a piece of bark.
    NWfuel likes this.
  20. mesuno

    mesuno Member

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    top down is the way to go

    Two splits in the bottom
    Kindling next, running the other way.
    Firelighter on top
    A couple of smaller bits of kindling on top again.

    Light and walk away.
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, guys. I tried last night setting the SC on top of a small split, and then building the kindling around that, and it worked well. I like Blue Vomit's idea of setting it on bark, as well! I was doing top-down for a short time, but was talked out of it before I got any good at it. Maybe worth trying again, down the road.

    Thanks!
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Thomas, are you using one entire super cedar when you light the stove like this?
  23. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    Dennis,
    Yes I use a whole one. I might start 2-3 fires a week if I am lucky, mostly one per week.
    Take care
    Thomas
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That's what I thought Thomas. For sure that would get the fire going fast. btw, we received our case of super cedars yesterday. Thank you.
  25. etiger2007

    etiger2007 Minister of Fire

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    " if the wood is dry" what do you mean by this Sprinter? You had a fan stuck in your wood pile for cyring out loud! Lol

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