There really is no right or wrong way when it comes to building a fire. It is all about finding what works best for you. It could be a technique or a certain firestarter. It is different for each wood burner. Building a fire the right way really comes down to personal preference.
With that being said, there are always some tips or tricks that other wood burners have found to make building a fire easier. Some may work for you or some might not. But if you are struggling to find a better way it is always nice to hear some tips for experienced wood burners. I am going to share a few pointers that have made building a fire easier for me.
Burn only the Right Firewood
As with building anything, it is about the materials you are working with. In this case the quality of the firewood is the big factor of whether or not you will be successful at building a fire. Only choose wood for your fire that has been properly seasoned and has a moisture content of 15% or less.
If you are not cutting your own firewood always look at the wood you will be purchasing before having it delivered. Pay close attention to the ends of the logs. In properly seasoned firewood the ends should show small cracks in the wood called “checking”. It is from the wood drying out.
Hardwoods are best for burning and they last longer. You are able to produce more of an even heat supply when burning hardwoods. Softwoods usually have higher moisture content and they burn HOT. Softwoods will produce a good amount of heat but it is very inconsistent. You will have to continuously feed the fire to keep it at a certain heat output. The fluctuating heat output is not good for your flue because as it cools in between feeds creosote condenses on the side walls of the flue.
Fire Building Methods
- Log Cabin Method -It is pretty much like building a Log Cabin only on a much smaller scale. Stagger kindling for the bottom layer, add your choice of firestarter, then stack small pieces of split seasoned firewood in two layers going in the opposite directions. This method will create a good base for adding logs to the fire and promotes a more even burn.
- Tee Pee Method – Pile your kindling and firestarter in the middle, then lean logs against one another to create the tee pee. Light the firestarter and wait for it to take off.
- Top Down Method – This method has actually proven to be very successful. Start by layering larger logs on the firebox floor, or grate in a fireplace, then smaller logs on top of the base layer. Layer them in opposite directions to allow air flow. Now place the pieces you will use as kindling on top of that layer and then your firestarters. As this fire burns it will get hotter and hotter burning its way down to the larger logs.