The compete guide to the perfect fire.
Woodsman Vincent Thurkettle
How to Make a Perfect Fire
Fire lighting is really in four stages -
There are three key secrets to a perfect fire – the wood must be dry, the logs should be laid close but not touching and, thirdly, always make a fire on a bed of its own white ashes. A coal fire should be cleaned out each day – but only clean out the wood stove or hearth when the ashes are becoming a nuisance. A really good wood fire does need to sit on a bed of its own wood ash.
To get a fire to light quickly, take some care in preparing it. Lay a large log against
the fireback (the ‘backlog’) and another log to each side to form a ‘U’ shape. Make
a shallow depression in the ashes and arrange a small heap of your pre-
From then on, with an open fire, try to feed the new logs in from the side. Don’t place them directly on top of the fire and suddenly shield the room from the glowing embers. These embers are the major source of the lovely radiant heat that warms you. It is not so important how you feed fresh logs into a wood burning stove, as with these fires the radiant heat is coming from the stove itself.
A last thought on perfect fires is not to poke a wood fire too much. The burning coal fire needs to be opened up with a poker from time to time. This gets air into the embers and breaks up any clinker that is forming. But the wood fire is more of a thoroughbred and, much as it is fun to give the fire a good poke and watch the sparks fly upwards, the fire doesn’t like it!
So, to make your perfect fire -