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Hints and Tips on Lighting a Stove

Whats the best way to light a wood burning stove?

This depends upon which stove you have, different shapes and builds can have their own favourite way of getting going. For most standard size stoves we have always found the reverse fire method is quick and nearly foolproof. Quite simply you build the fire and kindling in the reverse order that feels natural. If you take two or three pieces of good dry wood, with nice flat even faces, and minimal bark. Lay these cut side up. You can add two or three pieces if desired up the sides and back to create a full chamber, but try it flat first to see how you go. Build a kindling Jenga tower on top and nestle in a firelighter or two at the top of the tower. Now light the firelighter, open up you primary and secondary air fully, shut the door and let it get going until the kindling is glowing red and the wood base are well underway, normally 5-10 mins. Close your primary air off fully and leave until the base logs are starting to glow when you can close down the secondary air, on smoke control stoves you can shut the secondary off fully, but on all stoves try a few different settings to see what’s best for you. Now leave and reload when the embers are calm and glowing, never reload when flames are still present.
So you may ask, what is the benefit of this reverse method?. We have found in our experience that when lighting a fire with a kindling base and logs on top, as the kindling burns quickly the heavy logs disperse the hot embers around the combustion chamber, often wasting heat into the ash pan and through the grate, where as the reverse method is stable, and the wood acts as a nice combustible base catching all the heat generated. This gets the stove up to temperature faster. Lighting the kindling at the top, this starts to warm the flue, whilst the blaze grow at a steady rate.
 
Example of a large reverse fire with additional wood built up on the sides to maximise power in first load.

Reverse fire lighting