3 Techniques to Build a Fire in Your Wood Stove

There are at least 3 techniques to build a fire in your wood stove. This includes using 2 parallel logs, top-down method or using a fire starter. These techniques are based on the 3 basic stages for starting and maintaining a wood stove fire. These stages include the boiling of water, which makes up a little less than 20 percent of the weight of a properly seasoned piece of fire wood. When the wood is heated, that's the popping sound that you hear.

As the wood heats up it produces smoke, a cloud of combustible gas and tar. When the smoke heats up and becomes hot enough, it turns to a fire. As the fire burns and consumes all of the combustible material in the wood, it turns to charcoal. The charcoal creates carbon monoxide gas, which can be poisonous if not properly vented out of a wood stove.

Materials for Building a Wood Stove Fire

When you get ready to employ any of these techniques to build a fire inside your wood stove, you need the following materials:

  • Newspaper (do not use the ad section of the Sunday paper or any glossy or treated newsprint)
  • Dry kindling
  • Seasoned Firewood

Creating 2 Parallel Logs

One technique to effectively manage the 3 stages of a wood stove fire is the creation of a 2 parallel logs to build a fire in the wood stove. Place 2 split firewood logs into the box and leave a space to place a piece of wadded newspaper between them. Place kindling around the newspaper. Light the newspaper, which will ignite the kindling and eventually burn enough to burn the wood and create a good fire. As the kindling and newspaper burn down and the logs start to burn, add more wood to keep the fire going.

Top-Down Method

This method is a little harder to get used to, but is a reliable way to start a fire in your wood stove. Take 3 to 4 pieces of firewood and place them into the wood stove. Take kindling of medium size and place on top of the wood, as well as at angles around the firewood. Put a layer of smaller kindling on top of the medium kindling. Take 3 to 4 pieces of newspaper and roll them up at the ends. Join the newspaper pieces with a knot and set them on top of the kindling. This will help you get a good burn going and the newspaper will stay in place on top of the wood.

As you can surmise from the top-down method, lighting the newspaper will ignite the kindling and burn downward to light the wood. This method will give you a good burn in your wood stove for up to 2 hours.

Using Firestarters

Firestarters, made of paraffin wax or sawdust, are commercially made and can be bought at a grocery store. These products are easy to use – simply place them among pieces of dry wood in order to get the fire started. They burn reliably, but are more expensive than the other methods for burning wood in your wood stove.