Super Cedars, Dry Wood and Oslo Observations

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Well as you can see from previous posts, I've had some questions. We're getting there. Today was not a cold day at all (62 high, about 39 for the low overnight) but it was cold enough for me to decide to play with the Super Cedar fire starter sample I got, the 2 year seasoned wood I got from a neighbor and the compressed cedar logs I got from the fireplace store for troubleshooting and help with the 6 months seasoned wood I have for my other 3 cords.

One of the posts was about a less than tight seal on the flue to chimney connection with pictures ( Still looking to fix that. I have opted to go with the right connector from Selkirk MetalBestos. I tightened the adapter in there now a bit more but can still hear a bit of air and see a couple spots that like dollar bills.

Tonight though - A few thoughts with a question:

1.) Super Cedars? WOW. Get your sample. Buy them. They made it easier. Next time I use it, I need to be a bit more patient, give a bit more space between it and the wood and maybe consider using some kindling if I want to get the Compressed Cedar logs (with the hole in the center) going:

2.) Compressed Cedar Logs? I think they will work better with a bit more flames than the Super Cedar gives out. I think if I want to use these again to help boost temp and make the 6 month old wood go better, I need to start with the Super Cedar and smaller splits/kindling. Those compressed cedar logs take longer to go up than expected.

3.) Stove up to temp 600-650 on the stove top - NICE. Wood heat where have you been all my life? Even on a night that isn't so cold out, this heat feels great. It stays in you. Perhaps a little too hot in the room it is in even :). Really really hot on those tiles we used for the hearth (on top of cement board, all within clearances and over the thickness required) but man those tiles hold heat. Bare feet on the tiles don't last long. House isn't a very open concept house but we have ceiling fans going, cut some headers out and our living room a few rooms down went from 66 to 73.5 (and rising) in a couple hours. Our upstairs hallway (its a colonial with an open to above foyer right outside of the fireplace room) went from 68 to 72.5 in about the same amount of time. This should be a good winter :) :)

4.) Oslo Thoughts/Minor Frustrations to work out -

- I got it up to temp much better with the dryer wood. I think the draft may still be a bit off in this warmer weather, even with the straight chimney. Was thinking I need a damper in the other thread. I think now I don't (at least not on days like this).

- Once I was up to about 580/600 the secondaries (with air wide open and only a few splits in) looked amazing, but there were still primary flames.. Backed down to full off (stove shop guy does that with his) and it turned into red ember smolder on the logs.. Went to full for a bit to bring temp up and stuffed it full of the dryest hardwood from 2 years ago. Temp went down a bit while it started but once it started taking off, temp climbed towards 650 and I then backed down to about 3/4 and followed my wife's advice (LEAVE IT ALONE AND WAIT A WHILE!!!!) and the secondaries were looking great, less primary action. Temp went up to about 670. and hovered there.

- Backed to half - still looking good, temp started going down to about 630/610 but still flames/secondary burning visible, started really feeling the heat pouring into the stove room at that point.

- Backed to 1/4 and secondaries eventually stopped and just had the orange logs no flames and temp eventually dropped to 400. So here is where I got confused, no big deal on a day like today but in winter... Firebox is probably about 1/4 or a bit more full now where it was crammed full just 2 hours ago (seems quick burn? but had it open fully for longer than I should have I bet... for first 1-1.5 hours as temp got up past 500) but the stove at 400 with no flames had me worried about smoldering for the chimney and losing the heat. So I opened full, but flames never got great again, secondary never really started back. Temp did climb back to about 500.

- Now I have lever at about half with a few flames here or there, bright bright orange logs (or embers still in log shapes that would probably break down to good thick (maybe 6" +?) layer of bright orange... Should I (pretend it is colder out) crush them down and add more logs and try and lower air control, or just lower it right down and not worry about the ember only fire with no visible secondary?

Otherwise, this is still fun. Really like the Super Cedars. Definitely see the benefit of 2 years seasoning. Definitely hooked on wood heat, just hope to get more efficient with my burning and see the full firebox last for 8-9 hours that stove shop talked about.

- Backed to 1/4 and secondaries stopped
Wow. So just to see how it would work adding a couple dry logs to the 450/420 degree cooled down stove, I took the poker and reduced those log shaped embers to a pile of ash and threw a couple good size splits in there with air on full open, both logs are already completely ignited (as I'd expect, temps are high enough, even with surface at 450). Going to now just quickly lower air control to 1/2. Flames are strong and furious and really heading for that front vent where the smoke goes, draft seems stronger - chimney is hotter and it is colder out. Just need to work on that magic formula for when to dial down.


Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2008
Just South of Portland, OR
ontherise said:
Just need to work on that magic formula for when to dial down.

For me it just took time. It can vary depending on the amount of wood, what kind of wood, and how dry it is. It's mostly second nature now, but I still sometimes find myself making adjustments when I thought I'd already dialed it in.

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
It does take a little experimentation to determine how best to set the draft. Every stove and every installation has to be learned.

Super Cedars do work fine. We break them into quarters to get 4 fires from each one. I place two splits on the bottom, then the super cedar followed by some kindling. Then a couple of small splits on top of that and it works every time. Just shut the door and let it burn.

On the ceiling fans and closed house. This old dog was taught a few new tricks here on The best tricks were with moving the warm air around the house. My thoughts have always been to move the warm air but now I do the opposite and move the cool air. The ceiling fans now blow up rather than down. A small fan set in a hallway or adjoining room, set on low speed and blowing the cool air into the stove room moves the air 10 times better than trying to move the warm air into the cool rooms. We have a hallway with the bedroom at the far end. If it gets too cool back there in any of the rooms, the small fan sucks that cool air out and it is replaced by warm air. It is amazing the difference in how it works. It sounded totally backwards to me when I read about it but I had to try it anyway and glad that I did.


Dec 1, 2008
West Windsor, Vermont
Without a doubt you will see a huge difference in draft when it really gets cold. This will change everything you are figuring out about your settings right now. The Oslo definitely works better when it is colder out.


Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Random thoughts . . .

As FWwarden said . . . the Oslo really shines and works better the cooler it is outside . . . this is a work horse that likes a good temperature difference between the outside and inside temps.

As Backwoods said . . . a very cheap and easy way to help move the heat from the warmest area of the house (the room where the stove is located) to the cooler areas of the house is to use a fan on the floor in an adjoining room pointing towards the room with the stove . . . it helps set up a current of air to move the heat through the entire house. During this time of year I generally don't mess with the fan and you can feel the difference with a lot of heat being in the room with the stove and yet you walk out of that room through either one of the two open doorways and you can feel the temp difference . . . with a fan in use you do not notice the temp difference as much . . . plus it helps "cool" the room with the stove.

Loading the stove . . . I generally try to load the stove when the coals/embers have broken down into the size of baseballs or softballs . . . for me this helps a) avoid the drastic temp swings from the house being way too hot and then way too cold from waiting too long to reload, b) it helps keep the house from overheating due to over-zealous reloading and c) it is just more efficient and helps conserve wood. Usually the reload is much easier as you noted . . . open up the air . . . get things toasty and then start dialing down the air . . . a much quicker process.

Air control . . . generally I see little to no secondary action until I start to close down the air . . . and by the way . . . your wife is right . . . it often helps to bring the stove up to temp and then start closing the air in "quarter" mark increments . . . and then waiting 5 minutes or so to make sure things are working . . . if the fire doesn't suffocate after 5 minutes and you're starting to see some nice secondary action then dial it down another quarter . . . it all depends on your draft and chimney, but most folks can dial the air control to the quarter "mark" at which point you should have some beautiful secondary action.
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