As the days grow darker, thoughts turn to Netflix, new seasons of our fav TV shows, and the opportunity to have dinner parties again. Guess what? It all involves cosying up to the fireplace, the stove, the Hearth in your home…
It’s time to think about stocking up on fuel for your fireplace. Here’s a great guide for the newbies.
How to Build a Wood Fire
A good home fire requires 3 main things to get going. You’ll need to use them in this order :
Before you start, make sure all air vents in the fireplace are open to allow for optimal combustion.
How To Stack Your Fireplace Components
Place the main, larger logs on the bottom of the fireplace. Then stack smaller pieces of the logs or fuel. Ensure the wood is cleft and dry.
Stack your firewood or logs in such a way that there is room for air or vacant pockets of spaces between them. This lets the oxygen get in. Aim for 1 cm between the pieces of wood fuel. You do not want to overfill the space.
In the next layer spread out kindling and firelighters if using this as Tinder.
Then all you have to do is light it up!
It doesn’t stop there - be sure to keep feeding and poking your fire when it starts to die down and add more kindling when it starts to wane. Otherwise you’ll have to start all over again!
How To Find The Right Tinder
Tinder is what is used to start a wood burning fire. You just need to locate easily combustible material like Flamers firelighters to ignite the first flames and your kindling.
You can also use items found in nature like small wood-shavings or shreds of organic material that will burn hot quickly. You can also start a fire with something as simple as matches to a bit of newspaper.
The Bord Na Móna Quicklog is a fantastic ‘log in a bag’ option that is quick at lighting up with just one strike of the match. You can use it alone, or as tinder/kindling in one to help get natural wood logs or smokeless coal fires to start.
- It burns up to 90 min and also gives off a low ash output.
- It can be used for both outdoor and indoor fires. NB: it is NOT suitable for barbecue.
- These can be bought separately or in bags
How To Source Fireplace Kindling
Kindling is the second thing you need to start a fire.
Use it to keep the first flames of your fire going long enough to heat up the main wood logs. You’ll need it to get the logs burning once the first flames emerge.
If you start a fire with just tinder and no kindling, the flames won’t last long enough. They will disappear before your denser larger logs catch flame.
Kindling is mainly made up of small dry combustible organic material found in nature. What you want is a large ratio of dry surface material to its volume so it’ll catch fire quickly.
Pieces no longer than a foot and no thicker than a thumb are what you want. Generous armloads will suffice for every fire. Examples of kindling found in nature include small pieces of bark, dried twigs and shrubbery stems or fatwood.
Kindling Sticks should also be ordered in good quantities at the same time as your main Wood Fuel as you’ll need these not just to start the fire itself, but also to keep it going should it start to subside or when your fire needs refueling with fresh logs.
Kiln Dried Kindling are great for fast and easy combustion - applicable to both Wood AND coal fires. These can be can be sourced as
- Kindling sticks Crosscut: 1 - 4 cm, at a length of: 13.5 cm
- Available in Plastic bags or mesh bags
- Find a brand that works as a renewable resource and is FSC certified
Ways To Fuel Your Fire
We love firewood because it comes with a lot of cosy smells, sounds as it crackles, and it is a natural resource.
Those of us blessed with access and ownership of natural woodlands on our property should no doubt be harvesting and storing wood. Make sure you dry out the wood, that is, it is not “green wood” or freshly chopped wood.
But let’s face it, if you’re in an urban home or suburb that’s not an option. You can buy firewood in bulk though as long as you canstore it in a dry place.
Here’s another tip. If you have a stove or smaller fireplace make sure the logs supplied are cut to no more than 24CM. You’ll want the thickness of a fist or thicker.
It will also make stacking and storing them easier. It looks much neater stacked in the living room as well.
Why We Dry Out Firewood
If you do not dry out firewood, the fire takes longer to get started. The moisture inside will generate hissing in the fireplace and excessive smoke in your home.
Ensure your firewood is completely dried out by using kiln dried firewood, or firewood from a dead tree. Either way the storage area must be dry.
Fireplace Fuel Options
Kiln Dry Hardwood Works Best is a great fuel option because it has a higher energy content and produces more heat.
- It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor fires.
- Moisture content tends to be 20% on average.
- You can source it by the Pallet if you have a good sized shed or in 22L Mesh bags or plastic bags
- Find a brand that works as a renewable resource and is FSC certified.
100% natural Oakwood Briquettes are another sustainable option with a natural log appearance that still looks great languishing in a fire.
- Oak briquettes create a powerful flame and a long, intense glow
- They also give off that unique fragrance of oak wood.
- These can be cleaner and easier to store, as a perfect alternative to firewood.
- Find logs with a Moisture content <4%
- You can source them in packs of 5; Weight: 10 kg.
A variation of this product is the Pini Kay 100% Oak Wood Briquettes. These can give a lot of heat in one go, which gives them a higher efficiency. They have the most beautiful and largest flames of all wood briquettes.