How to Start a Wood Stove in 5 Easy Steps
There's no better smell in the world than when you're hungry and your next hot meal is cooking over the stove. Especially when that stove is a traditional wood cook stove! But how can you make sure you're starting with the best fire in your wood stove in order to make the most delicious meals? Follow these 5 simple steps and we guarantee your fire will be burning optimally no matter what's cooking!
Step 1: Extra! Extra! Newspaper Makes the Best Base for Starting Your Wood Stove
Stockpile that newspaper! If you get the daily paper, then great. If you don't, ask friends or family to bring their papers over so you are always in good supply (or raid the neighbour's recycling bins!). The first step to starting a fire in a wood stove is to crumple up pieces of newspaper and thickly layer them along the bottom of your cook stove
Step 2: Use Dry Kindling
Whether you're using branches, trimmings, or chunks of firewood, dry kindling is key to starting a fire in your wood stove. The drier the better. Wet wood, as you can imagine, is much more difficult to light and keep lit.
Step 3: Build your "Log Cabin"
The cross-hatch approach, or log cabin approach, seems to be favoured by most and it is our first choice when it comes to starting a fire in a wood stove. This means that you will lay your first layer of kindling back to front and then layer on top of it with kindling going from one side to the other. Make sure you have lots of exposed surface area on the kindling so that the fire catches easily.
Step 4: Add Smaller Pieces of Wood First, Followed by Larger Ones
Split wood is best for the next layer, as split logs catch fire more easily than round logs. Make sure you leave the door open for a few minutes while you're getting the fire started, as giving it oxygen is important in this step (but make sure you remain in the room and monitor it closely!) Once the fire gets going, you can use a poker, or even fire-proof gloves to break down your log cabin and spread the fire out. When your fire is roaring, you can add larger pieces of wood on top in a similar cross-hatch pattern.
Step 5: The Last Step to Start a Wood Stove is to Close the Door and Walk Away!
Once your fire has started in your wood stove, you can close the door and leave the room. You can use a thermometer to measure the flue temperature and let it get to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit before suppressing the air intake in the wood stove. One last tip: don't let your fire smolder, as smoldering fires create creosote build-up, which could be harmful to your health, and they also waste your valuable firewood.
We hope these tips were helpful while you learn how to use a wood stove!