Oct 12 2011
If there’s one thing I enjoy about the weather getting cooler (and trust me, there’s not many) it’s the potential to get to make a fire.Â Â I remember just about 2 months ago summer was ending and I was at a friends house.Â Â It was kind of a cool night and we decided to make a fire outside.
I’ll never forget it taking about 45 minutes to light.Â Way too much effort if you ask me.Â The finished product came out pretty well but I know that going into making a new fire I will not just go at it with magazine papers, napkins, wet kindling and crappy wood.
I decided to look around and come up with five key ingredients to making an awesome fire….
1.Â Make sure there’s air flow
Oxygen is probably the single most important element to making a fire.Â Obviously you don’t want a windy room or environment but there has to be enough air flow for the fire to burn. Â Make sure that your grate has room for air flow under the grate and a small bed of ash is good, just not too much. Put some crumpled newspaper (only black and white) under or on top of the grate in tight balls. The amount depends on the size of the grate.
2.Â Set your Kindling
Set your kindling, the more the better placed in a crisscross pattern and be sure to leave some air spaces. Smaller and very dry pieces are better. This will make starting the wood much easier. You can forgo the kindling if you’re using a fire starter of some sort, but I would still use the newspaper to light the starters.
3.Â The Wood
Set larger pieces of wood on the kindling. Continue setting smaller pieces of wood crisscrossed until you have the desired height. Usually in most open fireplaces you will only have three stacks at best. An alternative method would be to set one front log length wise on the grate and set the balance of the wood upright or standing up against the back wall. This method will provide you with more heat, but wood can have a tendency to fall out of smaller fireplaces as it burns.
4.Â Â The Flue
Next open the flue and take a sheet of newspaper (again black and white) and twist an end to make a fan. Light the larger end and hold it up as close to the flue as you can and repeat as necessary until the smoke is sucked upward. This will help establish the draft and can save you from a smoky start up.Â If you’re outside you would still do this.Â There just wouldn’t be a chimney.
5.Â Â Lighting the Fire
Last light the newspaper on the floor or grate, close the screen, sit back and enjoy.Â Adding more wood before the fire burns too low will help you keep an efficient fire going, reduce creosote build up, and cut down on pollution.
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