Starting a fire


Feb 3, 2018
NE Missouri
I like the idea of using the sleepers to allow air circulation with the E/W. With my smaller 1.8 cf firebox even smaller sleepers will help tremendously. I noticed you also use some smaller splits N/S to fill in the end gaps, basically cramming in wood where you can for a longer burn.

The E/W applies to me, I'll try this tonight. At a later time, I'm going to experiment with a N/S start. I'll have to cut some short splits about 12 inches, but it will be interesting to see how they compare. The N/S start may work out pretty good, then do E/W reloads on a good bed of coals.

begreen, thank you for the starting a fire info, both orientations. You put effort into it with good explanations of how and why.
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Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
South Puget Sound, WA
You're welcome. Note that these examples are just one sampling of hundreds of fires. Each loading and fire takeoff is different. In the past I used always do a bottom-up burn with the "Tunnel of Love"™ method, but that leads to smokier starts so I have switched to only doing top down starts this year. Hot coal reloads are still bottom-up, but the stove firebox is hot enough to start burning cleanly much faster.


New Member
Nov 8, 2019
central pa
I do the same set up (top down with a channel in the middle) except loaded e/w. my firebox is about 1.5 cu/ft and using oak splits with a few pine branches as kindling I can get the firebox ripping in about 10 minutes. vastly superior to bottom up fire.