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How to start a wood fire using your own fire starter

Updated on January 23, 2016

What is the best way to start a wood fire?

Everybody knows that in order to successfully start a fire in a wood burning stove or fireplace at home, you need three things: tinder and kindling to start the fire and dry firewood to keep it going. Obviously, if you have a fireplace or wood stove at home, you will have made all necessary arrangements to buy and stack your firewood. Tinder and kindling however are another matter. Most city dwellers generally use newspaper or cardboard to start a fire, but these rarely burn hot or long enough to get a fire going, unless you have the perfect, highly flammable kindling, which is not always easy to find either. Other types of tinder like sawdust or wood shavings are hard to find and store in the city and also quite messy So is drier lint which is another popular type of kindling for city people.

I have an absolutely foolproof and extremely easy method for starting a fire in any wood burning stove or fireplace, barbeque or anywhere else you want to start a wood fire, which I will share with you on this page. It is easy, with no chance of failure even with slightly damp firewood, tidy and clean and you don't even need kindling!

Here is how I do it.

Unless otherwise credited, all photos are mine.

Photo credit:

What else do you need to start a fire? - Well, certainly a good fire lighter!

A good, reliable fire lighter is essential. Refillable, disposal, or multifunctional, that's your choice.

BBQbuy Mini Jet Pencil Flame 503 Torch Butane Gas Fuel Welding Soldering Lighter
BBQbuy Mini Jet Pencil Flame 503 Torch Butane Gas Fuel Welding Soldering Lighter

High quality multifunctional refillable butane lighter. It can be used from a candle lighter to a soldering or welding lighter


Start by making your own fire starter

With this method, you have to make your own fire starter, something which you can do while...watching TV or whenever you have the time and then store away, ready to use whenever you like. This also makes it the easiest and cheapest method I know.

These are the things you will need to make your own fire starter

1. Old cotton clothes, T-shirts, sweatshirts, tracksuits, pyjamas...whatever, but make sure it is 100% cotton

2. Petrol

3. A large jar or can for storage. I use an old coffee can

Start by cutting up your old cotton clothes in large pieces, which you can then cut in strips 2-3 cm wide and 20-30 cm long, depending on the thickness of the material.

With thicker material such as sweatshirts or tracksuits, you need to cut slightly longer and narrower strips than with T-shirts for example. Use a sharp kitchen or all purpose knife, like this.

Now pick up each strip and knot it, like you would knot a piece of string. Make a second knot over the first one and keep knotting until there is no more room to make another knot.

Do this with all your strips, using up any old cotton clothes you may have. You should end up with a pile of something like this

Find a container suitable for liquids and place all of your knotted cotton strips inside, packing them tightly. As you can see, I use an empty instant coffee container to store mine in. Fill your container with petrol and store it in a cool, dry place.

Now use it to start a fire

Every time you want to start a fire, just take one of the knotted strips and place it in the grate. Place two of your smaller firelogs in the grate, leaving a gap between them, in which you will place your knot. Light the knot and when it starts burning brightly, place another small log over it, resting it on the first two logs, so as to form a small pyramid. The knotted fabric soaked in petrol is highly flammable and thick enough to burn for a long time, ensuring a roaring wood fire. That's it!! No fuss, no kindling, no mess, and success every single time!

© 2013 Aquamarine18

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