General Question

charliecompany34's avatar

How do you build the perfect fireplace fire?

Asked by charliecompany34 (7807points) December 30th, 2009

that old boy scout mentality creeps back in every time you set up that perfect long-burning fire. no smoke in the house. you got two cords out in the backyard. ya got apple, hickory, birch, the mix. you are a fireplace fire aficionado.

what steps to take to building that long-lasting fire that pops and crackles? wood last long time? :)

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7 Answers

chyna's avatar

I cheat. I always start with “fire starter logs”. I have a really nice fire going right now. I think it’s all oak though.

charliecompany34's avatar

@chyna yeah, i got one going too! i cheat too. i start with firestarter bricks too. i do remember at my first house, i started a fire with crumpled newspaper. it was a really successful fire.

gasman's avatar

I’m assuming a normal indoor fireplace with a metal grate to hold the logs, and logs sufficiently dried or seasoned (damp wood makes it very difficult).

Step 1: Clean out the ashes from the last fire if they’ve formed a thick layer.
Step 2: Make a bottom layer of crumpled paper.
Step 3. Make a middle layer of cardboard or thin wood kindling
Step 4. Make a top layer using a few logs. Put a log or two in the back as well.
Step 5. Light the paper on fire—one match should suffice.

That’s it. It should start burning on its own. If necesary add more kindling or cardboard. Sometimes you have to stuff additional paper into spaces at the bottom.

Step 6. Wait until the first logs have burned sufficiently to turn into red glowing coals. Now you can keep adding logs forever to sustain the fire. With a good bed of glowing coals the new logs should burn immediately with no additional kindling. Make sure there’s space between the logs for flames to spread between them.

I generally put two logs parallel to each other & set another log or 2 crosswise on top of these.

The ‘firestarter’ logs tend to stink up the house with a kerosene smell & run the risk of chimney fires.

ccrow's avatar

I second @gasman‘s expert advice!! I would just like to add that one match is enough but I light the paper in several places w/it.

gailcalled's avatar

I use the same method as @gasman, but since I have a woodburning stove, I fiddle with the vents. After everything is roaring, I reduce the oxygen flow by closing most of the vents. That way, the logs burn more slowly.

faye's avatar

@gasman my mom was a boxfire person. I am of the tipifire persuasion, though irrelevant because i’ve only made firepit fires.

gailcalled's avatar

Edit: And then there are the lovely ashes for the gardens, particularly the peonies.

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