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Advise me on how to build a good fire please?

(64 Posts)
stormnigel Sat 21-Oct-17 18:38:32

I have made a stew. It is windy and autumnal outside. I’ve got some wine. I decree that this is the evening to light my first fire in my new house... for maximum seasonal battening down of the hatches....
I have logs, firelighters, kindling and some
Old newspaper...And no idea how to do it.
What goes on first? Are you meant to put the logs in a pyramid shape?

Cokeis Sat 21-Oct-17 18:40:42

Roll the paper from corner to corner into a sausage and wind around your fingers to make a paper nugget with a tail sticking up.


The logs and a little coal.

Light paper nugget and as if magic fire

LonginesPrime Sat 21-Oct-17 18:47:06

I’m no expert and I’m sure someone who is will be along shortly.

But in the meantime, what I’d do is put the logs down at different angles with gaps in between them, pop the firefighter in the middle and build a little pyre out of the kindling around the firefighter. I would also arrange some of the bigger bits of kindling so they touch the pyre and run under some of the logs (so the fire will burn under the logs and eventually catch).

Maybe put screwed up newspaper in the gaps once the pyre is burning?

IJustLostTheGame Sat 21-Oct-17 18:48:26

Make some spillers put of newspaper. You concertina fold them until they are long and thin and a bit stick like. I make a bunch at a time.
Roll newspaper diagonally and make croissant shapes out of them and bung a bunch into the grate.
Bung on a teepee shape of kindling and some bigger pieces, maybe one log depending how big your grate is.
Light the spiller and with the lit end light as many bits of newspaper as you can and watch it take.

Unless you have a burner they are easier. Bung in firelighters, Bung on kindling, Bung on a log. Open the vents.
Light lighters and once the kindling has caught completely shut the door. Once the log has caught shut vent 1. Then just wait an hour or so and bung another one or two in depending how big your stove is.
I lit our fire today. I love fires.

stormnigel Sat 21-Oct-17 18:52:58

Thankyou...good tips...I’m paper rolling...

Be3Al2Si6O18 Sat 21-Oct-17 18:57:49

This is how I have always done it.

It is important to get the heat up evenly over the base. Spread the kindling out in a rough flat lattice, not a pyramid. That is inefficient. You will have gaps in the lattice and at two mid points - like a double single-dot domino - lay two square firelighters. Light them and put some extra kindling over those points, like you are tucking them up for the night.

Then immediately add the thinnest shortest logs you can. As they burn down gradually add new logs.

Remember that you want maximum heat early, so maximum area per kindling or log is best. As the night goes on you have critical mass in heat and you can add large logs without fear of them not catching.

Fire fact: A children's sparkler is momentarily hotter than the hottest region of the sun. But it has no measurable mass so in a millisecond the heat is dissipated away.

Tomorrow I am having a large bonfire outside and we will cook crevettes and scallops in large metal pans in the embers. We do it every Autumn.

Scentofwater Sat 21-Oct-17 19:06:28

Don't forget that fire needs air to burn just as we do to breathe, and the best way to get it burning well is for the air to be drawn up from underneath. So keep the structure of your kindling/wood fairly open to begin with and don't overwhelm it. Make sure vents are fully open if you have them, once the fire is burning well you can close them to slow the burn down a bit.

If you're not used to fires please look up some basic fire safety, lots of things burn very very fast, and it only takes a tiny spark to catch. Don't leave the fire open and unattended, especially when you do go to bed. Check your fire alarms and CO monitors. /lectureover

stormnigel Sat 21-Oct-17 19:08:10

Not bad for a first attempt! Pup not sure-first time she has seen a fire i think

EnidButton Sat 21-Oct-17 19:08:41

envy Envious of your real fire.

LoafEater Sat 21-Oct-17 19:10:42

Scrunch up sheets of newspaper to lay on the bottom. Throw a couple of firefighters on top. Bit of kindling and coal. Log on top. Light. Add more coal and kindling when things catch to get it really going.

stormnigel Sat 21-Oct-17 19:12:11

I was wondering about coal...what’s the advantages of it vs logs then?

Be3Al2Si6O18 Sat 21-Oct-17 19:16:00

Coal gives much greater heat, but is more pollution.

Logs have their own issues - were the trees cut down unnecessarily, for example.

nightshade Sat 21-Oct-17 19:16:04

Forget the paper...unless you need to draw front about 6 inches...decent lump of firelighter...light..put in middle....two bits of kindling either side then add about 4 to six good sticks along the other way....let it catch...add another few bits of kindling...let them catbh them add coal on top...about 12 good pieces...Until it catches....

theoldtrout01876 Sat 21-Oct-17 23:45:00

You need greasy balls grin
Put a few cotton wool balls in a plastic bag with a decent sized dab of Vaseline. Smoosh it around till the balls have a ligt coating of grease. Tease them out a bit then light those on your kindling.
I use them all the time for camping, woodstove and firepit. Ive never had a fire not light first time.

PhDPepper Sun 22-Oct-17 00:38:04

Lots of coal

1-2 firefighters

Kindling to get the coal going

Some logs if you wish

Put the coal in the bottom of the fire, place the firelighters into the coal, (covering up the firelighters)

Put the kindling on top of the coal and firelighters,

Light the firelighters

Wait until the kindling catches fire

Place logs on top of fire


PhDPepper Sun 22-Oct-17 00:39:31

Speaking from personal experience, coal gives off more heat. I can tell when we’re just using logs as it gives off next to no heat!

IvorHughJarrs Sun 22-Oct-17 00:47:34

I was always taught to roll newspaper along its long each and tie into a rough knot, Place a few of those in the grate, arrange kindling over, tucking in a couple of firelighters, arrange coal on top, light paper and firelighters

VeryFoolishFay Sun 22-Oct-17 00:56:08

Log burner lit for the first time this season!

GhostlySteamTrains Sun 22-Oct-17 08:17:09

OP nice paneling grin late 1600s to early 1700s by any chance?. I bet there's an inglenook behind there somewhere.

Ifailed Sun 22-Oct-17 08:23:51

A children's sparkler is momentarily hotter than the hottest region of the sun

The core of the sun is at 15 million degrees, a sparkler gets to 1600 degrees.

Bluntness100 Sun 22-Oct-17 08:23:54

God, I’ve been lighting ours for about a month now.

I do it as the installers said, I put a bed of coal (smokeless) down, put a little chunk of firelighter on top, add some kindling on top of that, light it, and then a short period later add the shortest slimmest logs I have, then build it from there.

clickyourthumbs Sun 22-Oct-17 08:25:06

Have you got any dry fir cones?
I collect them and scrunch newspaper round 2 or 3, then make a wigwam out of kindling.
Then gradually increase the log size once it gets going.

stormnigel Sun 22-Oct-17 08:51:39

Around that ghostly-maybe a bit earlier-this bit of the house was built in 1480 something we place panelling is newer but the other walls have panelling that is older-Lovely and rough and probably off an old shop wreck I think. Lots of wood worm holes but no actual active wood worms at least.
No inglenook but potentially a secret passage opening! (I’m a bit in love with my house just now) smile
I’m getting some coal then.It got really warm with the logs but had to keep chucking kindling on...will forage some more sticks and pine cones later when I take the dogs out and dry them out in the cellar.
Thanks all-was very happy with my fire in the end. I’m hoping for a cold snap at Christmas so I can have it going as it looked so jolly.

thelikelylass Sun 22-Oct-17 09:25:18

Lovely fireplace and sweet little do, I am looking forward to drawing curtains late afternoon when all is done and everyone gone, and then lighting my stove, few candles, cuddle up with dog and some indie music on in the background. Little piece of paradise, enjoy your fires everyone!

AnarchyKitty Sun 22-Oct-17 09:56:02

We use a mix of two different coals and wood.
We get doubles coal (high heat, low ash) and A grade coal (long burning, high heat) delivered every fortnight and use wood from whiskey barrels which gives off the most incredible smell.
I love my fires.

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