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Making fires

(15 Posts)
Unprune Tue 30-Nov-10 15:43:28

I like a good fire thread.

Who makes fires and what are your top tips?

I was completely well trained by living in a house with minimal central heating and a great coal fire, and we cleaned, set and lit fires from about age 10 onwards. I feel like I can do it blindfold.

I watch dh fannying around with three sticks and a blob of newspaper, not cleaning out the grate, saying 'I don't like coal, it's not the right kind of burn' (you need a mixture, you dolt!) and I sort of want to cry. He is out and I've just made a roaring fire, no messing. [warm preening]

ANTagony Tue 30-Nov-10 15:45:57

Dry matches - absolutely essential. Always keep a box in a sealed plastic box for emergencies.

Especially if you're economising and the house starts to get damp.

soapydishcloth Tue 30-Nov-10 15:54:10

Three sheets of newspaper rolled up and tied in a knot, laid in a cleaned out grate. Two fire lighters broken into smaller pieces, a handfull of sticks laid on top in a criss-cross pattern then coal on top. Light the paper with a cheapie lighter and it's done.

I can do it in four minutes including cleaning out the grate (timed it to settle an argument with DS1).

Unprune Tue 30-Nov-10 15:58:55

Yes that's how I do it too. DH refuses to do it my way, I think it's a man thing. grin

I love the sound of a fire, ahhhhhh. When I was a child, the best treat was to be allowed to sleep in the sitting room on the sofa, dog at my feet, fire burning down - I loved it.

Indith Tue 30-Nov-10 16:05:03

We have solid fuel heating here so our stove does the water and radiators and is on every day apart from the hottest days of summer where we boi a kettle for water. We have been here a littl eover a year now. I grew up with fires, dh did not and it still makes me want to go in and shove him out of the way and take over when he lights the fire! He is just so bad at it! Maybe it is like languages, if you don't learn young you'll never quite get there. To be fair to him I am a SAHM so do most of the firelighting just because I'm at home more but still he is just so rubbish!

Deux Tue 30-Nov-10 16:13:11

I grew up with fires and do as above but usually without firelighters <hard core>.

Are you Scottish by any chance? I was attending to the fire from about a similar age too. Fire lighters were a luxury smile.

My DH thinks he can outdo me on the fire front and always fails. He thinks one piece of scrunched up newspaper and a couple of sticks will work. I usually have to undo what he's done and start again. I do this whilst having a mutter about his gilded childhood life with central heating. grin

Unprune Tue 30-Nov-10 17:31:00

Why yes I am Scottish grin
We did use firelighters, though.
I have offered to teach dh my failproof method but he sort of seizes up, like it's a challenge to his manhood or something. Then he does his three-stick nonsense and I have to leave the room in horror.
Why does it run so deep? I don't get this agitated when he doesn't stir white sauce enough (for example).

BlackandGold Tue 30-Nov-10 21:51:18

Same as soapy but no firelighters.

I grew up in a suburban London terrace and we had an Ideal stove so I'm used to putting the damper in and out!

DH also lays an excellent fire but neither of us like cleaning out the grate.

KatyMac Tue 30-Nov-10 21:53:09

Loo roll insides & egg boxes burn well in lieu of lots of kindling

So do butter wrappers

nocake Wed 01-Dec-10 08:59:58

Firelighters are cheating grin

I don't bother cleaning the grate every time as we use wood, rather than coal. Some nice softwood works a treat as kindling. I'm burning through some old pine shelves at the moment.

oldenoughtowearpurple Wed 01-Dec-10 09:16:13

My Devonshire central-heating-free upbringing taught me sound basics and then ownership of a solid fuel Rayburn honed my skills. Firelighters for special occasions only.

However, for emergencies and barbeques we bought a Grenadier which you can shove into a pile of neat wet coal and get a roaring fire from in minutes. Brilliant - the real fire version of an M&S Ready meal.

Unprune Wed 01-Dec-10 16:00:38

Oh I'm not ashamed of using firelighters at all grin
I bought two new boxes today, in fact.
Eucalyptus kindling today - lots of bark, goes like a rocket shock

ragged Wed 01-Dec-10 16:03:19

I am ace with getting our woodburner going now. Much better than DH. No firelighters needed if you understand the vents.

Am still pants with open fires, though!

SuePurblybiltByElves Wed 01-Dec-10 16:08:16

I use firelighters cos I am lazy. Small cube lit in my hand and put on top of yesterday's raked coals. Three of my lovely woodshaving pellets thingys on t'top instead of kindling. Big log on top of that, fling a shovel of coal on after 10 mins. Never fails and gets really hot, really quickly.

I saw Pedlars-style firelighters this week - six pinecones dipped in paraffin wax at the bottom. Ten English Pounds.shock

Unprune Wed 01-Dec-10 16:19:26

Holy hell. [speechless]

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