Making A Successful Log Fire
The paper provides the original heat to get the fire really started. This one's a hard one to get wrong. I find that any old newspaper is the best, but pretty much anything from magazines to printer paper (if you're desperate) would work too.
To use the paper, you scrunch each piece into a ball and arrange them over the bottom of the fireplace, building the pile to about two balls high around the middle, where you want the established fire to end up.
Kindling is the group of small, dry twigs and sticks that is needed to transform the fast-burning fire created by the paper into more sustainable flames. Kindling can be found in your garden, at a park, along walkways, etc. (pretty much anywhere that there are trees).
- You should arrange the kindling in an irregular pattern on top of the paper, generally the sticks should all point to the centre of the paper.
- Gradually increase the size of the kindling to small branches
TIP: Before you light the fire, have all your kindling and small logs ready to go. This will make sure the fire doesn't go out due to being to slow with new fuel or simply not having any.
There are several sizes of logs that are required in order to keep the fire roaring. If you put a big one on too early, it will smother the fire and/or crush the little fire you have already.
- The first logs you'll want to put on after your kindling are roughly 2 inches (5cm) or less thick, 4 inches wide and any reasonable length (as long as it doesn't stick too far out of the fire already there). You'll want these logs to be placed leaning up against the kindling, making sure you leave holes to allow good airflow. Continue to put these size logs on until a red-hot, wide base has formed.
- Increase the log size to about twice the size of the previous ones. These logs should be placed lying across each other, building up higher and higher. Again, make sure plenty of air is able to flow through.
- When the fire has an extremely hot coal base, as well as plenty of flames, much larger logs (6-8inches thick) can be placed onto the fire. I'd recommend to only put a maximum of two, safer to go with one, of these logs on at a time, in order to maximise the chance of the large log lighting.
As you can see, while it isn't hard to build a good fire, there are a lot of factors that you need to get right. I hope this article has helped you get a better understanding as to how to build a good fire.