Best way to make kindling

John Galt

Member
Oct 22, 2019
88
W Montana
Yeah, we have to be careful handling dry fir, if you drop a round it'll split by itself. Straight grain - it'll split wherever you hit it.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,113
Palmyra, WI
Yeah, we have to be careful handling dry fir, if you drop a round it'll split by itself. Straight grain - it'll split wherever you hit it.
Current woodwork project is out of doug fir. Truely strange stuff. Straight grained, +/- 1/8 over 10ft. Dark growth rings extremly hard, lighter very soft, chips and splinters, tough to machine, beautiful finished though. Darkens with age, like cherry does. Rift sawn exposes the grain. And the scraps are fantastic kindling.
 
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MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
310
NE Missouri
I finally split up a bunch of basswood logs into kindling. Just as a joke, I filled the stove, then a couple basswood sticks on top, and put the lighter on just the sticks - dang if they didn't light off by themselves. They make matchsticks out of basswood. This pile should last 3 yrs or more.

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Last year I found some mystery driftwood that is light yellow, extremely light in weight and I can make 1/2" splits easily, it just pops off the splitter. It makes great kindling, I wonder if it's basswood, it's native to the whole state of MO?
 

neverbilly

Burning Hunk
Dec 27, 2015
158
Arkansas, USA
This last year I didn't us any kindling. Just a good cold starting technique. I load the floor with 2 oak splits and a few criss crossed on top. A firestarter and a paper tube between the splits. Starts quickly every time.
I don't know what you mean by paper tube but otherwise, I do the same. A small firestarter cube, alone, works for me.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,201
Downeast Maine
I split a lot of wood and don’t get all of this waste you folks talk about. It all ends up as firewood. Maybe it’s our PNWwood species. If it’s too big I split it and then have two smaller splits. No waste.

I use a lot of kindling due to our warmer climate. I just grab a nice straight split of wood and split it into kindling on the splitter. You get good at it after a while and can split many slabs at a time. It’s fun and fast. Gets a little fuel used in the splitter to keep things fresh.

I fill a 4 foot diameter hoop about twice per year. It’s a work of art.
Perhaps it is the size of the trees. We are always left with a pile of "chaff" left behind after splitting Balsam Fir and Red/Black Spruce. The very limited maple and birch we have usually splits well without leaving behind stringy torn out pieces like spruce. Even on the mill I get loads of "feathers", some several inches long, when I'm cutting spruce with a really sharp chain. Seems like how people describe splitting elm, but probably not that bad. Sometimes the Fir has tearing issues around "eyes" or where old limbs fell off, but generally if you can cut between the eyes the pieces split very easily. I just bust up kindling in my house by breaking down straight pieces of fir that don't have any eyes on them with my nice carving hatchet.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,201
Downeast Maine
Last year I found some mystery driftwood that is light yellow, extremely light in weight and I can make 1/2" splits easily, it just pops off the splitter. It makes great kindling, I wonder if it's basswood, it's native to the whole state of MO?
Driftwood in MO?
 

MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
310
NE Missouri
Driftwood in MO?
We live by a Corps Of Engineers flood control lake that they left a lot of standing timber in when they built it. This lake raises and lowers a lot every year, when it's in flood stage there's a lot of timber floating around and gets left behind when the lake drops. The boat ramps have to be cleared. It's freshwater, and is dried out by the time I scrounge for anything useful.
 

NickW

Feeling the Heat
Oct 16, 2019
361
SE WI
The ash and maple I get often get small partially fractured off pieces during splitting that I rip off that are perfect kindling size - 1/4" x 1 1/2" or so. Don't like the way it stacks when I leave them on - makes the stacks less stable. Elm and stringy pieces of oak, maple and ash they don't always rip off well. Beech, cherry, birch and softwoods don't seem to get as many fractures.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,201
Downeast Maine
We live by a Corps Of Engineers flood control lake that they left a lot of standing timber in when they built it. This lake raises and lowers a lot every year, when it's in flood stage there's a lot of timber floating around and gets left behind when the lake drops. The boat ramps have to be cleared. It's freshwater, and is dried out by the time I scrounge for anything useful.
Oh, didn't think about a lake! Can't use sea drift wood due to the salt content. I bet that lake driftwood is awesome and I would really like to run some driftwood on my mill.
 
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MoDoug

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2018
310
NE Missouri
Oh, didn't think about a lake! Can't use sea drift wood due to the salt content. I bet that lake driftwood is awesome and I would really like to run some driftwood on my mill.
It probably sounds better than it is, most of it is inaccessible and most of it has been floating from one spot on the lake to another for a long time and is less than ideal. With that said I still manage to score some good stuff now and then.
 

NickW

Feeling the Heat
Oct 16, 2019
361
SE WI
Selected splitter scraps for kindling. NOT saving the bark in the background! I have 2 crates and 6 boxes of bark and kindling in the garage. I too am a hoarder, but I probably have 4 or 5 years worth already... Gotta keep the splitter scraps because it's so good, but bark takes up a lot of space and is constantly falling off pieces as they season... it's always available.
 

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CatfishHunter

New Member
Dec 8, 2020
32
Minnesota
About 20% of my kindling comes from the scraps of wood splitting, but I make the remaining 80% of my kindling. It's relaxing on a nice winter day. I split firewood on a big tree stump next to my woodshed. For kindling, I put an old round on top of the stump for better height. With 5 gallon buckets next to me, I start splitting. With each piece that I split, the smaller of the two halves goes into the bucket. The bigger piece gets split again, with the smaller of those two halves going into the bucket, and so on. When my sharp little hatchet can no longer make a piece of wood any smaller, I start over with another big round.

I do make emergency fire starters out of paraffin wax and wood shavings, but mostly start fires with birch bark and tiny kindling. Then I work my way up through the bigger pieces. I enjoy it. Every once in a while I'll build a top down fire just to keep my skills sharp, but mostly enjoy building a fire from scratch.
 
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RandyBoBandy

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2015
1,149
Whitmore lake, MI
About 20% of my kindling comes from the scraps of wood splitting, but I make the remaining 80% of my kindling. It's relaxing on a nice winter day. I split firewood on a big tree stump next to my woodshed. For kindling, I put an old round on top of the stump for better height. With 5 gallon buckets next to me, I start splitting. With each piece that I split, the smaller of the two halves goes into the bucket. The bigger piece gets split again, with the smaller of those two halves going into the bucket, and so on. When my sharp little hatchet can no longer make a piece of wood any smaller, I start over with another big round.

I do make emergency fire starters out of paraffin wax and wood shavings, but mostly start fires with birch bark and tiny kindling. Then I work my way up through the bigger pieces. I enjoy it. Every once in a while I'll build a top down fire just to keep my skills sharp, but mostly enjoy building a fire from scratch.
This is very similar to my routine as well. I will often take a large marble sized ember I find in the ash and work that back to a fire by simply using the tinder produced from hand splitting kindling. I enjoy the whole process and don’t see the need to rush it with fire starters or torches.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,201
Downeast Maine
This is very similar to my routine as well. I will often take a large marble sized ember I find in the ash and work that back to a fire by simply using the tinder produced from hand splitting kindling. I enjoy the whole process and don’t see the need to rush it with fire starters or torches.
Agreed, if there are a handful of coals I don't have to use the torch. Sometime I do anyway if I am in a hurry.
 

RailProf

New Member
Dec 12, 2020
5
Missouri Ozarks
I have a kindling cracker that I really love. I'm in the Missouri Ozarks and have a lot of cedar around my property that I cut up and split for kindling. It's not great firewood but good kindling in the mornings. And I echo those who use the chips and such from splitters. Lots of good small stuff there.
 
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sweedish

Member
Feb 6, 2019
202
Michigan
Typically it’s either off cuts from woodworking projects, I also have a stack of off cut old barn wood in my garage left here by previous owner.
 

Purodude

New Member
Nov 21, 2020
5
Vancouver island
I use wood pallets. Here on Vancouver island there is very little manufacturing so skids are a plenty. in Canada well at least on the west coast skids are heat treated only so no chemicals. I make a log cabin out of kindling put a small piece of Birch bark light it and close the door.
 

stoveliker

Feeling the Heat
Nov 17, 2019
267
Eastern Long Island NY
That makes me remember I cut up the pallet on which my BK Chinook came.
@BKVP , is that pallet (when all metal is removed) ok to burn in the BK?

I'd hope so, given who shipped it...
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
That makes me remember I cut up the pallet on which my BK Chinook came.
@BKVP , is that pallet (when all metal is removed) ok to burn in the BK?

I'd hope so, given who shipped it...
Good to go!
 
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Wood1Dennis

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2016
134
Eastern Wisconsin
I always have some white cedar down in the woods. Always. I don't heat with it, better to saw it into boards, but I always bring in one UTV load of cedar. I split it into small pieces, maybe 1 1/2 inch max. and stack it up in the wood room. I can hand split the straight grained pieces into nice small kindling pieces in no time. Works great! I posted in another string about Super Cedars. Never tried them, I have all the cedar I need!
 

Cluttermagnet

Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2008
934
Mid Atlantic
Just something wacky that I've been doing for years. My daughter was "into" candle making for like 2 weeks so I bought a electric fryer and 40 pounds of candle wax. Then she got "into" perfumes & lotions so now I had a fryer that I wouldn't have a use for and 35 lbs. of wax. I was sick of the egg carton start and splitting little kindling up so this is what I came up with. Chainsaw a log down to a nub and bag the shavings. Going with the grain you can get big peels that are perfect. Throw a block of wax in the fryer (how much takes a little practice). When it's melted turn the fryer off and add shavings. How much depends on the next step. Which is use a baking dish (I have some nonstick dishes that I stole from my wife) lined with saran wrap. Scoop the shavings out of the fryer, be sure to get some wax with them. Dump them in the dish and smush them smooth with the spoon. You want 1/2-3/4 inch thick. It shouldn't be so waxy that you can see it on the top, but not so little wax that it can't be smoothed out. Looser is better as long as it doesn't crumble in your hand. Too much wax and it's hard to light off. Get a nice layer then put more wrap on top and do another one. When it's completely cooled you can lift the layers off one by one, I score them with a bread knife and break into 3" squares. They burn hot and slow, I can light a couple 2x4s with one. Sound familiar? Yes it's the cheap way to make the ridiculously expensive starter bricks. I can do a 2 year supply in a couple hours (with 3 baking dishes). That takes a big bag of shavings and maybe 20 lbs. of wax. I've been using my planer lately and saved the shavings, gonna have a go at that soon. I'm out of bricks from 2 years ago :)
I got a few good ideas from your post- even though I have experimented in the past
with candle wax, old vegetable oil, shavings, sawdust, and such. I have a box of fatwood
here but rarely need it- mainly for faster restarts if the fire burns down too much.

I have an older stove. Every session is a relight, pretty much. So I use a fair amount of
tinder and kindling. Splitter scraps are one good source. I always save them. Also use a
lot of branches and break them down or saw them. A little wadded newsprint helps,
and I like to use pine cones soaked in kerosene to touch the match to. That gets all
the other stuff going fast and reliably.
 

Orerockon

New Member
Oct 30, 2020
54
Oregon
I got a few good ideas from your post- even though I have experimented in the past
with candle wax, old vegetable oil, shavings, sawdust, and such. I have a box of fatwood
here but rarely need it- mainly for faster restarts if the fire burns down too much.

I have an older stove. Every session is a relight, pretty much. So I use a fair amount of
tinder and kindling. Splitter scraps are one good source. I always save them. Also use a
lot of branches and break them down or saw them. A little wadded newsprint helps,
and I like to use pine cones soaked in kerosene to touch the match to. That gets all
the other stuff going fast and reliably.
I'm typically chasing down free or you cut firewood on Craigslist (haven't paid for wood in quite a few years now) so if I'm getting less than a truck load I try to get free lumber if it's nearby to top it off. Then I cut them to 1 foot lengths and split them twice on the splitter. I have a hay feed box in my barn (but no cows) so I pile it up to the top with them. The hayloft is now for lumber storage. Simple dimple :D
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
I don’t have one yet or have any idea where to buy one but one of these will be in the garage before next winter. Every fire is a cold start for me so a bucket full of inch pine splits makes life easier.
When you do locate the source, please share! I'm going to guess, based upon design and cleverness, Sweden, Finland, Norway manufacturer as source.