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Your preferred method for building a fire

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jeremyjudd, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. jeremyjudd

    jeremyjudd New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Lexington, NC
    I was watching my wife build a fire in our wood stove yesterday, and it was remarkable how much different her method was then mine. She is a strong believer in the teepee method. I lay two splits down parallel to each other, stuff newspaper in between, and then basically build a log cabin of kindling on top. (One match fire, hasn't failed yet this season!)

    What's your method?

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  2. Cudos

    Cudos Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    Central Alberta
    I use the top down method, works great for me on our Super 27. I like it because on those really cold days when the chimney is stone cold it helps having the tightly twisted newspaper right at the very top of the pile helping warm that chimney and getting that draft going. The key is having enough kindling and newspaper on top of your splits.
  3. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    215
    Loc:
    Wash. Pa
    Not only enough kindling, but DRY enough kindling. I ran out of kindling and went up in the yard and started picking up twigs that mother natured had dropped for me. Needless to say, it wasnt the driest of kindling. I had to do a bottom up fire to get it going.
  4. Cudos

    Cudos Member

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    Aug 11, 2009
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    104
    Loc:
    Central Alberta

    Yes good point!, must be dry dry dry, that is the real key.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,343
    Loc:
    NW Ontario
    Front-to-back for me. Bigger splits in back graduating kin'lin in front. Takes advantage of the doghouse "zipper" air. If I want a big fire fast, criss-cross a few smaller splits on top as well.
  6. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,215
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    I use 10 peaces of kindling and three small spits and two fat wood fire starters.

    1. Place my fire starters.
    2. Make log cabin with my kindling.
    3. Place two spits N/S one on top E/W.

    Light fire.
  7. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,825
    Kindling with firestarters then once they get going add some smaller splits then some bigger smaller splits and it's off to the races.


    zap

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  8. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,343
    Loc:
    Central Kentucky
    4-6 full size splits, 1/4 Super Cedar in the middle, light, close door, have a shot of Eagle Rare, neat of course, adjust air, done. I figure the 100 SC's I bought this year should last several years before I need to contemplate a different method. Or a second order.
  9. ddug

    ddug New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Messages:
    55
    Loc:
    SW New Mexico
    Dried juniper branch tips (with foliage), a hand full of juniper twigs, and a few small splits on top. Go away for 20 minutes and then add wood, works for me!
  10. Freeheat

    Freeheat Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    565
    Loc:
    West of Cleveland
    I use two small 1/4 pieces E/W on top of that two pieces ( very small) pine withe some bark and very thin scraps and some Fat wood. lights very quick
  11. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    Messages:
    718
    Loc:
    Bluewater Area, Great Lakes
    COLD Start

    1 Clean out ashes.

    2 Clean glass

    3 BIG stuff on the bottom.

    4 Next layer smaller stuff.

    5 Wood chips / saw dust/ dry bark on top.

    6 Top with as much cardboard as will slide in.

    7 Close fount door

    8 Open side door stuff folded cardboard or balled news print in opening fill the space

    9 Light with wood kitchen match the side loaded paper/cardboard.

    10Leave side door open but close to its opening.

    11 Close side door when fire storm is filling the box. Primary air full on.

    Cold soapstone box room temp to 350 in 60 minutes


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  12. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,506
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    For a cold start I usually start a quick hot fire with kindling, then load on the bigger stuff.

    Here's what I do:
    On a 1-2 inch bed of ash build a pile of construction debris, twigs, and bark with a super cedar in middle. Light super cedar with long match. With in 5-10 min everything is cooking. Close the door. Close the draft down a bit. Let it burn out usually about 45 min. Stove top temps usually around 300-350 with a hot bed of coals. Then carve out a valley in the coals from front to back. Two big EW splits. Let them catch. 3 or 4 NS splits on top. Let them catch. Jam in whatever else I can (usually 2 or 3 skinny EW on top). Let it catch. With in 15 minutes close the door. Adjust the draft accordingly. Turn the fan on when it passes 350. Let it go for 6 hours or so.
  13. jeremyjudd

    jeremyjudd New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Lexington, NC
    This one hadn't occurred to me, but makes sense. Very logical - most of the air is moving toward the front of the stove by design. Smart. I'm going to give that a shot tomorrow morning.

    I like the idea of bigger splits in the back, then I'm not trying to shove a split on top of a kindling coal bed after it's burned down, the bigger splits are already in the back.

    Thanks for sharing.
  14. MikeP

    MikeP Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    Northern NY
    I use kind of a combined top down, log cabin approach.

    2 regular splits n/s, spaced apart, fill in the middle with smaller splits and some kindling.
    3 pieces of kindling e/w front, middle, back
    4-5 smaller splits, 2"x2" or so n/s
    e/w kindling again
    more small splits and kindling on top n/s

    2 small pieces of "starter logg" shoved in between the 2nd layer of small stuff
    Light, close door, not latched, once fire is well established latch door. Adjust air setting as desired.

    This will usually burn 4hrs. with no other tending. Well other than to sit there and stare at the fire. ;-)

    To make the smaller splits, I have my electric splitter in the basement and just split down a couple regular splits into 2x2 or about pieces
  15. santacruzbluz

    santacruzbluz New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Messages:
    31
    Loc:
    Santa Cruz Mountains
    I'm still working with this stove to find the best way to use it, but per the directions and my own experience, I start with a small ball of newspaper and 8 or 10 pieces of kindling, tepee style. My kindling is 1 x 4 and 2 x 4s, doug fir, that I've split into small pieces. I have the damper open and the air wide open. I light that, and let it burn.
    Five minutes or so later, I open the top and drop a few bigger pieces of the same kindling in. A few more minutes after that, I open the top and load some big stuff in. I really like the top loading feature, as I can do this and not worry about anything falling out. After I have all the wood I want in, and it is burning good, I watch the thermometer on the stove top until it gets to about 500 degress. That's when I close the damper, routing the smoke through the cat, and bring the air down to the spot where I know the stove will burn at about 450 degrees, and then I can sit down and relax.

    Anyone who uses this stove see anything I'm doing wrong, or have any suggestions? I really like my stove. It is pretty easy to use, and easily heats up my small, well-insulated cabin.
  16. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    887
    Loc:
    WA state
    • (4) Medium or Medium/Large splits
    • Bottom two N/S
    • Top two E/W
    • I need to try 1/4 SC since 1/2 seems like overkill
    • Bypass open
    • Boost air with door cracked for about 15 minutes before I close door
    • At 30 minutes I close my bypass
  17. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,506
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    EDIT: I wrote I light a super cedar, but I really only use like 1/4 or sometimes even like 1/6 of a super cedar. Those things are great.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,917
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Modified top down . . . with a liberal use of kindling.

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