How do you build the perfect fire? If, like me, you haven’t enjoying the laughable ‘summer’ we’ve just had, then follow my walkthrough to build the perfect fire. I’ll have you ready for a nice and cosy winter in no time at all!
First thing’s first, it’s a good idea to get a good stock of wood to last you through winter. I’d like to think that you would go to a sustainable source, so you know you’re doing your bit for the environment. Any wood suppliers will be clear if they are sustainable or not on their websites – check out Certainly Wood for a good example.
One thing you’ll need to do is find somewhere nice and dry to store it, or you will end up spending hours drying your wood before you even get to burn it. Cellars are the perfect environment – as long as they are moisture proof. And don’t forget to order some kindling!
Clean Your Fireplace
My next tip for building the perfect fire is often overlooked. Make sure you clean the remnants away from your previous fire. However, don’t clean it completely – always leave around a 1/2 to 1 inch of the ash and burned coals at the base.
If you are using a stove or wood burner, make sure you clean those glass doors – they will be covered in soot. A simple wipe down with a damp cloth or kitchen roll will do the trick.
Now it’s time to check your airflow for any problems. You will need to open the up the damper, which helps regulate the airflow up the chimney. It’s the removable metal plate at the front of your fire, in case you don’t know! Another top tip here: if you can feel a draft coming down from your chimney, open up a window where the wind is hitting – about an inch should do it. It will help your fire breathe properly when you light it
Build Your Fire
First, you need to lay your kindling. Don’t forget, airflow is vital to a successful fire, so you are going to need plenty of exposure to as much oxygen as possible. The best way to do this is to build your kindling in an interlaced pattern – and of course, make sure it’s nice and dry! Place your first ‘level’ of kindling all facing the same direction and build the next level facing the opposite direction – and so on.
Light It Up
If you have built all your kindling correctly, you should have a nice little gap in the centre of your construction. It’s here that you want to throw in some fire lighters. I like the kerosene-based fire lighters made by Zip, or you could just use some scrunched up newspaper. However, you may need to top these up, as they burn fast. Just put/aim your fire lighter at the centre, light it, and your fire should take.
For Safety’s Sake
A wood fire is a beautiful thing, but so are your carpets, rugs and floorboards. As the fire gets hotter, it could start popping, and spitting sparks or burning wood chips. Make sure you protect yourself and your home from any potential damage by using a good quality mesh fireguard if you have an open fire. And don’t forget to close the doors on your wood burner/stove!
And there you have it! Why not try this method out a few times before winter sets in. By that time, you should be able to get your fire burning vigorously within minutes!