Build a Fire Howto DIY in a Wood Stove or Fireplace

How to build a fire in either a wood stove or fireplace.

We show how we start a fire in a wood stove. This time we have a few hot coals still in the stove; but we are using the same method that we use when the stove is cold.

🔴 First: Collect the materials:

🔹Leather gloves that are clean (no old oily ones that could ignite)
...we got this nice pair at Tractor Supply (not Walmart like we thought in the video).

🔹Newspaper - 8 - 12 pages, loosely crumpled - air is important, so don't crumple them too tightly

🔹Thin sticks / Twigs - 1 - 2 handfuls

🔹Medium Sticks - 1 handful.

🔹2 slightly fatter sticks to act as a base or support for your first log, allowing air to circulate.

🔹1 smaller log that is well seasoned and dry.

🔹Matches or a lighter - longer ones work best.

🔹Andirons (the metal pieces used to hold logs in the fireplace).

🔹Poker or other metal tools used to move logs around in a wood stove or fireplace.

🔴 After gathering the supplies, make sure the damper is fully open (handle in the vertical position) on the stove pipe (on ours).

🔴 Next, make sure the stove air intake is fully open. Our stove has two controls, one for fresh air intake and another to regulate the secondary burn. On our stove (a Quadrafire 2100), pushing both controls all the way in opens them fully for maximum fresh air. Other stoves may vary.

🔴 Next, load the newspaper, then small sticks / twigs, medium sticks, and finally, the two larger sticks that will support your first log.

🔴 Once everything except the first log is in place, light the newspaper on fire in a couple different places. Rough edges burn the best. Start with the areas farthest away first; don't reach over burning paper to light another spot.

🔴 Once the flames ignite the sticks and the fire gets bright, then the sticks glow orange from burning, glove up and place the log on the two fat sticks that support it, allowing air to circulate. If the sticks are glowing and the air is flowing well, the seasoned log should ignite fairly quickly (within 90 seconds if it is seasoned and dry). We like to shut the wood stove door most of the way, leaving a 1/4" (quarter inch) gap to keep heat in the firebox and maximize the draft (airflow) until the log is burning well.

🔴 Later, after the first log is burning bright and hot, we add more logs to build up the coal bed, which keeps the fire going.

Use common sense and stay away from hot metal surfaces. Use a grate under logs in a fireplace to improve airflow, andirons in front of the logs to keep them from rolling out of the fireplace, and cover the opening with a screen designed for fireplace safety to keep sparks from flying out, etc. Always open the air intakes and dampers when refeuling the fire. Open doors slowly, so ashes and hot coals don't fly out. Never use flammable liquids like gas or lighter fluid in a wood stove or fireplace. Follow manufacturer's instructions and warnings. Don't wear clothing that dangles into the flames when tending the fire. Be careful of long hair (esp. if using hairspray, which is highly flammable). Don't wear highly flammable clothing like Chamois near open flames or the hot metal surfaces. Please, use common sense.

This is only a guide of how we do it. Others may have a better way. Be safe. Enjoy.


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