Jeffrey turned 7 today, and he asked if he could help start the fire.
I love his curiosity and willingness to help, and agreed to show him how to start a fire in the fireplace. I took pictures so I could share the lesson with you.
1. Find 2 triangle pieces of wood
Maximizing surface area is what we’re shooting for, so look for wood that has been split in half, and then in half again (quartered.)
2. Put the 2 triangle pieces into the fireplace
Separate them by several inches, and have the pointed (cut) ends facing each other.
3. Fill the gap with newspaper
Take a section or two of newspaper, and crumple it up one page at a time. Place it in the gap between the two triangle pieces of wood.
Remember that the fire needs oxygen, so don’t pack it too tightly!
4. Add more wood on top
I go with halves here, and throw in some bark if it’s available as well. That lights quickly and helps to ignite the wood.
5. Check your damper
The fire needs air, so open the damper to allow the air to blow through. My damper is in the front of the stove, towards the bottom.
6. Light it up!
We use a match, and I taught Jeffrey how to strike it. We have “strike anywhere” matches, as we prefer them.
You could also use a lighter, if that’s what you have.
Jeffrey used the hearth in front of the fire as his striker, and got the match lit after a try or two. Don’t give up if you don’t see flames right away!
7. Close the doors
Smoke in the house isn’t good. Shut those doors tight!
8. Remember to shut the damper down
After the fire is going, and the wood is ignited, remember to close your damper down. This will help the fire burn longer.
9. Enjoy the flames
Fires in the fireplace are beautiful. It’s relaxing to sit in front of the stove
Some additional tips:
Here are a couple of tips my husband has shown me over the years:
-The fire burns hotter when the wood is placed the long ways inside the box.
-The fire burns more slowly when the wood is placed horizontally inside the box.
-You can use the damper to control the burn as well.
Jeffrey was so excited to start the fire by himself. I’m sure he’ll be asking to do it again soon.
Do you have any additional fire tips to share?