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jschadt 06-17-2009 11:54 AM

Lighting a fire
OK, I know construction, not good fire starting! I am having trouble starting a fire in the oven I made. I downloaded the instructions from this site and ended up building the oven pretty close to spec. It has an ID of 40" and is about 18-1/2" high at the center. The door opening ended up about 18-1/2" wide and 12" tall/ The reason I give this is I hope I am not choking it off of a good air supply! I lit the paper fire in it the first time and it burned quickly and drafted reasonably well. But when I go to burn wood it looks more like a barbecue fore and never really takes off! Perhaps the wood is wet? Maybe I am just too impatient and don't build a good base fire before I add the split wood? I don't know. I did see the primer on this site. Any other ideas??

DrakeRemoray 06-17-2009 01:37 PM

Re: Lighting a fire
Could be wet wood. Also, try the top down approach...

RTflorida 06-17-2009 04:19 PM

Re: Lighting a fire
Dry, dry, dry. The top down method works extremely well. Also you can't be in a rush to throw on should not have anything bigger than 1" or 1 1/4" in there for the first ten minutes or so. Once these sticks start to take off, you can progressively get bigger, 1 or two logs at a time. By twenty to twenty five minutes you should have a really big fire.....amp it up to a scary fire for 15 minutes to 1/2 hr longer and the dome goes white. With really dry hickory or citrus my dome goes white in 45-50 minutes, the current batch of oak takes about an hour.

the key is those first few minutes with good dry kindling stacked "top down".


jschadt 06-18-2009 04:39 AM

Re: Lighting a fire
Thanks, I will watch the video and give it a try. I take it no one is thinking there is a construction flaw at this point!

DrakeRemoray 06-18-2009 07:50 AM

Re: Lighting a fire
No, the door to dome and dome height proportions seem just fine.

dbhansen 06-18-2009 10:07 AM

Re: Lighting a fire
I tried the top-down approach for the 1st time last weekend and it really works! Definitely worth giving it a try.

Wiley 06-18-2009 10:14 AM

Re: Lighting a fire
I really agree using dry wood is the secret.

I light my fire differently, when I build my fire I lay small logs or splits maybe 3" in diameter in two rows one each side of the entrance and two deep (end to end) forming an alleyway. I then simply crumple several sheets of newspaper and throw between and cross stack with dry 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch splits and cross stack again and then again each time closing the the distance so it is smaller at the top than the bottom. This going maybe four layers high. I then light the front of the newspaper, place the draft door in place and in a few minutes my WFO is panting and then burning well. The alleyway ducts the flames and literally a single strike with a match and one can stand back and it takes care of itself. Time to fetch a beer and watch the show!

After twenty minutes or so I pull the door and stack on 2" logs a couple at a time and the oven is hot enough that the burst into flame very quickly.

Lots of ways to start a fire and this one works for me.

pizzaziggy 06-18-2009 02:47 PM

Re: Lighting a fire
Try this..
After your coals have died down,way down, fill the oven with the next days wood and let it kiln dry in the already hot oven

dbhansen 06-19-2009 07:12 AM

Re: Lighting a fire

Originally Posted by pizzaziggy (Post 58011)
Try this..
After your coals have died down,way down, fill the oven with the next days wood and let it kiln dry in the already hot oven

Ziggy, do you leave the door open or closed for this? Can you do it with recently cut wood?


MAVANO 06-19-2009 09:15 AM

Re: Lighting a fire
I always do this procedure even the day after , I fill the oven with wood even if its dry, yes close the door, if its fresh cut it will produce steam so crack the door a little, on the next firing I take it all out stack a pile in the oven (the rest under the oven storage to keep it dry ) (top down fire) a bunch of 1/2"-1" split 2 x4 dry of course I pick up at any construction site just cutoffs that are thrown away, on top of 1-2' oak or hickory or whatever you use to fire the oven, and place in the mists of the kindling a few fire starter purchased at Menards,a 5lb of 8"long 1/2" thick wood saturated in pine oil put a lighter or a torch (that's what I use it starts much faster )to the starter and watch it take off it works like a charm, not sure of the name of the starter its located in the fireplace section, only costs $5 you could start many fires with that one bag,

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