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Old 12-02-2013, 04:16 AM   #1
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Question Best Woodstove Fire-Starters?

Can't wait, but in three months, it'll be time to warm up our one-season cottage again.

Until June, I try to keep the woodstove in some state of "burn" all the time; overnight, an unsplit Hemlock log lasts and lasts. However, a new start is required sometimes. Yes, pine cones are a decent fire-starter, but those annoying "reply-postcards" that fall out of magazines seem to be the best. Run through a paper-shredder, and those ribbons create a new fire perfectly—toss in a few with color photos, and you'll get blue and green flames!



I'm saving 'em up for Spring, but maybe I'm missing something that's better at getting a woodstove started?

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Old 12-02-2013, 08:29 AM   #2
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I used to use old candles wrapped in newspaper....
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:31 AM   #3
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Default Fat Wood

We have a Heathstone Heritage soapstone woodstove that is our primary heat source, with our oil heat being our backup.

We use fat wood, which is southern pine wood harvested from the stumps of trees that have been cut down. They leave the stumps for a period of years, allowing the sap to continue to build and supersaturate the wood.

From a cold start, I take two sheets of newspaper, roll it loosely and form rings, set them in the middle of the stove fire pit, place one to two pieces of fatwood on them (pieces are about 6-7 ins long and anywhere from 1/16 to 1/4 in thick), and then put the wood around it. No need to build a kindling fire and then add logs. If I happen to have a few small pieces, I will use them, but not necessary. Light the paper, keep the door open until the fatwood catches fire, then close the door, draft wide open. It will even fire wet wood, or green wood, but I do put an extra stick of fatwood in there for that.

Re-firing the stove in the morning, I will stir the coals around with the poker, place a piece of fatwood in the middle of the firepit area, and then load in the logs. Just helps the coals to ignite the logs faster, and give us heat quicker.

I buy the 35 lb box from Problem Solvers for $40, but sometimes have a promo code or coupon to lower the cost. the box lasts us more than one season, and we burn from Oct to Apr.
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Old 12-02-2013, 08:54 AM   #4
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Take a couple of old egg cartons and either put the lint from your dryer in the holes or sawdust. Then just cover with old wax from your wife's old candles when there is no wick left. Let dry for 24 hrs and then break them off. I normal use 2 at a time. They work great and they are really cheap.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:18 AM   #5
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Default Greatest Fire Starter Ever!

I burned wood for many years, (I burn pellets now) this is what I used and it never failed me!
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:18 AM   #6
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Default Old birch bark

Cessnaair discovered that birch bark found in the woods is the absolute best, and free fire starter. I used to use the sticks of which Upthesaukee refers. They are also great, but cost money. My dad taught me the newspaper trick which I use now with the birch bark.

The sticks are much smaller to store. You can find them at Aubuchon and LL Bean.

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Old 12-02-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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Default Torch it

Just a few sticks of kindling and then use a torch as Dan suggested.

If you have seasoned firewood, a short time with your ax at the chopping block will produce a lot of kindling. You can easily split ether some knot free pieces of firewood or some short pieces of scrap building lumber.

I just can't conceive of buying some sort of starter wood.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #8
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Default Firestarter

I use about a 1/4 of this brick and it works well. 24 Brick box from Hannaford's, cost around $13, so about $.15/fire started. They also sell them in 2 or 4 packs for a few dollars. Stays lit for about 20 minutes and starts whatever dry wood you put on top of it in about 5 minutes or less.Name:  Firestarter.jpg
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #9
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Default A difference of opinion on that.

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Just a few sticks of kindling and then use a torch as Dan suggested.

If you have seasoned firewood, a short time with your ax at the chopping block will produce a lot of kindling. You can easily split ether some knot free pieces of firewood or some short pieces of scrap building lumber.

I just can't conceive of buying some sort of starter wood.
With very few exceptions (days), we burn wood from October to April, approximately 170-180 days. Some days restarting a fire that has died down after burning for several hours, others starting a new fire (like after cleaning out the ashes, done about every 3rd day). My one year + supply of fatwood stores in box that is about 2 cu. ft in size. Storing that amount of kindling takes far more space, and with no cellar, must be outside.

With 11 5 ft X 4 ft sliding glass windows across the front and side of the main living area of our house, when the fire burns down and temps outside are down, getting the fire burning again is pretty important, especially if I want to keep the wife happy, and we all know that a happy wife is a very happy life. And, seriously, my wife is often the one who is around when the fire needs to be restarted, and she likes the fatwood.

We all buy or use things that cost us a lot money that we don't necessarily have to buy (I would not have a gas grill on my boat, I prefer the picnic aspect of eating on the boat), but we do it because we prefer it or it is the easiest way for us to do it.

On last thought... Burning wood for heat provides heat three different times: 1. When you cut the wood. 2. When you stack the wood. 3. And when you burn the wood. (I know, carrying it in from the wood shed can be another one. )
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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Now that we're living year-round in NH, we are using the fireplace (wood) day in and day out. I bought the same fire starter online that I had years ago, and it is THE BEST! It's made of iron or steel and is about the size of a brick and has holes in the center into which you pour about 1/2 cup of charcoal fluid. I build the fire starting with small pieces of kindling and a little bit of newspaper and larger logs on top, light a match to start the charcoal fluid, and within two or three minutes we have a blazing fire! It's awesome!
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:30 AM   #11
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Default Seymour's Fireblox

We have been using Fireblox by Seymour, for a about 20 years. Each blox is about 1.5" square and one starts the woodstove fire about 95% of the time. If you order in bulk, you can get the cost to about 9 cents (including shipping) per blox.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
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Default How about these?

I've heard these are great fire starters. 4-5 minutes in a toaster and you can't put them out.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:14 AM   #13
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.....me....i use the Hannaford brand small pack becuz its the cheapest.....seems like the key to good wood stove fires is using dry wood....it needs to be dry....so's having a covered wood storage so's the wood will get all dried out and be dry is a big help...
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:32 AM   #14
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Whoever invents a "SAFE" woodstove that could burn continuously for up to twelve hours would (in my opinion) not be able to make enough of them.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:52 AM   #15
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Default Pacific Energy

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Whoever invents a "SAFE" woodstove that could burn continuously for up to twelve hours would (in my opinion) not be able to make enough of them.
Pacific Energy has one...

I had one of these stoves for years. Best stove I ever owned!! I heated a small expansion cape (24' x 36') 24 hours a day from the basement on less than 3 cords per year. And yes it would burn at a moderate temperature for 12 hours if packed with good seasoned hard wood without an issue. It had re-burn baffles at the inside top of the stove that re-burned gasses instead of allowing them to escape up the chimney. This made the stove much cleaner and way more efficient thereby saving on wood. If I hadn't moved on to pellets I would still have on of these stoves.

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Old 12-03-2013, 10:56 AM   #16
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Default Many woodstoves with a 12-14 hr burn

You highlighted the word "safe". Most woodstove fires come from 2 main causes: Either an improper installation (too close to combustable surface, improper chimney installation including wall pass throughs and chimney linings; or chimney fires from improper maintenance and cleaning.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthesaukee View Post
You highlighted the word "safe". Most woodstove fires come from 2 main causes: Either an improper installation (too close to combustable surface, improper chimney installation including wall pass throughs and chimney linings; or chimney fires from improper maintenance and cleaning.
I'm still a little leery about leaving a lit fire in my house all day with no one home. We had a Vermont Castings Vigilant stove, which I would leave on low most of the day or night and it would soot up in two months. We always burned hardwood but I would see creosote peeling off the inside of the flue by the end of the season. I grew up cutting, splitting and burning wood and love the work of it but one night in November many years ago I had to scurry up the roof to put out a roaring chimney fire. I put in a cooler-burning, safer pellet stove shortly thereafter. It was the second time I experienced one; the first time was when I was a child and I'll never forget that either.

I was once told that VC made good stoves, but in both cases there was a VC stove burning. The Vigilant had a 8" pipe. I always thought that was strange.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:25 PM   #18
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I have a Jotul Firelight woodstove that we use when we are at the house over the propane furnace. That thing has a massive burnbox and can put out lots of heat.

The problem I find with most people is they put the wood in and damper it down too quickly, causing the temperature of the fire to burn lower than it should. This is what leads to creosote buildup.

What I can't seem to figure out is how some people get the long burn times they report...let alone there definition. Some people stop the timer at the last flame, other when there are enough coals in the box to start the fire again.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:01 PM   #19
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Laconia Daily Sun or the Weirs Times, and some kindling. Both are plentiful and free.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #20
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Default ....... wood stove fire safety?

....as long as we are talking wood stoves...this seems appropriate....for just $3.94 each, both the Gilford and Plymouth Wal-Marts carry a real nice looking smoke alarm that includes a 9v-battery....made in China...sold by Kidde Alarm...measures about 4" diameter x 1 1/4" deep...comes packaged in a light cardboard box as opposed to a blister-pak....


....so for twenty-dollars....you could get five alarms with batteries and install them all throughout the residence....and then maybe six months from now when the dying battery starts to beep....go get a quality 9v like a Duracell or something....just a thought?



....even at this low price of 3.94, battery included, it looks and sounds like a reliable quality product and is designed to be functional for ten years from the date printed on the back....an ionization design smoke alarm...
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthesaukee View Post
You highlighted the word "safe". Most woodstove fires come from 2 main causes: Either an improper installation (too close to combustable surface, improper chimney installation including wall pass throughs and chimney linings; or chimney fires from improper maintenance and cleaning.
Improper disposal of ashes
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:13 PM   #22
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Default Best woodstove out there is a Woodstock Fireview

I researched wood stoves extensively before I purchased my Woodstock Fireview. It is without a doubt the most highly rated woodstove out there. The best thing is that it is made right here in Lebanon NH. I started using it November 5th and I haven't had to restart it since. It burns 10 to 12 hours at a time with no problem. It is soapstone so it really holds the heat and is great to burn 24/7. You see the fire thru the glass and the glass stays nice and clean. It takes longer to heat up than a steel or cast iron stove but once it's warmed up it lasts much longer. I load it up before I go to bed (around 11:00 PM) and in the morning (9 or 10 AM) I just load regular sized splits and it starts up again. No need for kindling since the ashes are still so hot. It heats my 1600 sq ft house with no problem and no oil. You can't buy these in a store, you must go directly to the manufacturer. It seems to use about a third less wood than my previous woodstove. Can you tell I really like it?
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:05 AM   #23
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I researched wood stoves extensively before I purchased my Woodstock Fireview. It is without a doubt the most highly rated woodstove out there. The best thing is that it is made right here in Lebanon NH. I started using it November 5th and I haven't had to restart it since. It burns 10 to 12 hours at a time with no problem. It is soapstone so it really holds the heat and is great to burn 24/7. You see the fire thru the glass and the glass stays nice and clean. It takes longer to heat up than a steel or cast iron stove but once it's warmed up it lasts much longer. I load it up before I go to bed (around 11:00 PM) and in the morning (9 or 10 AM) I just load regular sized splits and it starts up again. No need for kindling since the ashes are still so hot. It heats my 1600 sq ft house with no problem and no oil. You can't buy these in a store, you must go directly to the manufacturer. It seems to use about a third less wood than my previous woodstove. Can you tell I really like it?
Looks like a nice stove but it's tiny and would not be enough to heat my house. Please report back in March once you've had all winter to try it. We really haven't had extended cold yet.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HellRaZoR004 View Post
Looks like a nice stove but it's tiny and would not be enough to heat my house. Please report back in March once you've had all winter to try it. We really haven't had extended cold yet.
Well it looks like it is a good fit for the size space to be heated and it looks like a nice stove:
http://www.woodstove.com/fireview

Wood stove efficiency is best when not over-sized. They need to burn reasonable hot and if over-sized users will burn them well under optimum temp.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
Well it looks like it is a good fit for the size space to be heated and it looks like a nice stove:
http://www.woodstove.com/fireview

Wood stove efficiency is best when not over-sized. They need to burn reasonable hot and if over-sized users will burn them well under optimum temp.
I don't disagree with anything you said. I like the looks of it a lot but what I'm trying to say (kindly) is that we haven't had any cold stretches yet to really put the stove through its paces.

What kind of wood do you burn, playinghooky?
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:32 AM   #26
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Default Firewood

I use a mix of different hardwoods. Some red oak, maple, beech, ash etc. I get it delivered in 14 ft lengths and cut and split it myself.
Woodstock Stove Co also makes a larger size, the Progress Hybred which heats up to 2200 sq ft and probably a lot more. I researched wood stoves on hearth.com as well as other sites. The Fireview had 94 ratings from consumers. 89 rated it 5 out of 5 and the the other 5 rated it 4 out of five. No other stove came close. Their customer service it truly amazing. You can take a tour of the factory and see how the stoves are made.
It's true, we haven't had the long stretch of cold yet but on the one night that the temp got done to around 10 degrees, my house was 71 degrees in the morning after an all night burn just using the woodstove.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:06 PM   #27
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Great info here! We are very new to the lake. (And first day on this site). Who would you recommend for a stove inspection in the Tuftonboro area? Thanks.
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Old 11-01-2015, 03:23 AM   #28
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Smile Gratifying Responses...

Yes, this is an "old" thread, but so is starting a woodstove fire—"old".

I neglected to mention that the "semi-cardboard" paper run through a paper-shredder is readily flammable either inside or outside of the firebox. Placed on "dying" embers, they will readily ignite and possibly escape the firebox. So, store shredded paper well away from the fire door, shred only what you need—or as I do—store it in a metal tackle box.

Birch bark is truly the most reliable fire-starter, but is difficult to store. Shredded paper can include financial documents you don't want around, and burning them is a really thorough way of disposal, as well as providing a "free" fire-starter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnisquamguy View Post
Take a couple of old egg cartons and either put the lint from your dryer in the holes or sawdust. Then just cover with old wax from your wife's old candles when there is no wick left. Let dry for 24 hrs and then break them off. I normal use 2 at a time. They work great and they are really cheap.
Old wax candles may not always be handy for the egg cartons; however, disposing of bacon fat seemed to be an issue here a few years ago. At the risk of making the neighbors suddenly hungry for breakfast, why not dispose of bacon fat in the same way?



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Old 11-01-2015, 05:58 AM   #29
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We've got a nice soapstone stove in our upstairs living room that sees nothing but wood, so no bacon fat there. In our basement steel stove, however, burn away!

That being said, Super Cedars are unquestionably the best fire starter for both home and camp fires. Everything else is too expensive or complicated. No kindling needed, just good seasoned wood and 1/4 of a brick--about $.25/fire.

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Old 11-01-2015, 08:28 AM   #30
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Nothing better than birchbark. It lights with a match and burns long enough to start your logs with no paper needed. Every spring we just walk along our road and cut the bark off fallen trees and fill up our kindling box.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:12 AM   #31
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So here's a good suggestion for you and it works great too. Go buy a bag of lump charcoal for one of those big green egg BBQ grills. No lighter fluid is necessary. A few scoops is all you need and once lit it creates a very good fire base without the need to put things in your wood stove such as candle wax or soft wood that is really not the best to do even if in small amounts. Plus it doesn't burn up quick like paper does.
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Old 11-03-2015, 11:39 AM   #32
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Your tax bill should also do the trick.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:45 PM   #33
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Default Fire starters - color

ApS, aren't you burning chemicals with color photos, etc. Don't think that's a good for you.

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