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Kindling Survey

 
Posts: 102
Location: Eastern Ontario
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It is my belief that there are 2 types of woodburners out there.  Those that light their fires with broken up branches and those that split blocks of wood into small pieces.  Which one are you and why? Do you have a third option?

Im in the twig/branch group. Cutting firewood produces so much branchwood that to me breaking up a big piece into little pieces when I have ready made kindling is counter productive.
 
pollinator
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Jeff Marchand wrote:It is my belief that there are 2 types of woodburners out there.  Those that light their fires with broken up branches and those that split blocks of wood into small pieces.  Which one are you and why? Do you have a third option?

Im in the twig/branch group. Cutting firewood produces so much branchwood that to me breaking up a big piece into little pieces when I have ready made kindling is counter productive.



Starting a rocket mass heater.




Various methods depending on who is doing it.

Fat wood.

Fire starters ( wax / cotton or dryer lint )  many to choose from.

David the Good will release a video soon where I use parts of bamboo to get mine started.

Propane torch

Solar magnifier to light.

Electric ignition via a battery.

I like to start with paper,  them move up to cardboard, then move up to dry fine sticks, then up to broken branches, then main firewood.

The other alternative I have found is a dab of vaseline, then pour a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol on that then light.   That makes for a fast light, longer burning start.




 
Posts: 499
Location: Rural Unincorporated Los Angeles County Zone 10b
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We light our wood stove with anything we can find.

All of our combustable trash goes for starting fires. We also shred all of our paper as starters. Folks in our neighborhood are always throwing out scraps so I make the rounds in the truck and pick up free wood. We heat our house every Winter all Winter for nothing. Our local tree trimmer also dumps wood in our yard for free, that he would normally have to take the time to drive to the dump and pay to get rid of it.
This is a win/win situation for both of us.
 
pollinator
Posts: 376
Location: San Diego, California
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Kindling is sticks and twigs, for me, but I'm using them to start bonfires and fireplace, not stove(just yet).

Trying to split kindling sized pieces of twisty, knotty Brazilian pepper and eucalyptus branches would be a nightmare. (If you're wondering why I burn this junk - no forests to harvest here, indoor-grade hardwood is expensive, and I only NEED heat 10 days a yr.)
 
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I collect pine cones and keep the slum gum from rendering beeswax - remelt it, pour into old egg cartons and/or dip the pine cones into the melted slum gum.
 
steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I use narrow strips of wood from my woodworking and building projects.  That, along with the little bits that come off while splitting wood, is all we need all winter for the wood stove.
 
gardener
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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While fire wooding I keep an eye open for a standing dead cedar.   As long as it is a straight grain tree I bring it home and split it down to kindling size.  Twigs and branches are still on the foest floor decomposing.  Split dry cedar in my opinion is on par with fat wood for fire starting.  I also collect all the wood chaff from inside my splitting tire, a handful in the bottom a piece of paper on that another handful of chaff add cedar!   Whoosh dragon is roaring!
 
pollinator
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What I use is pretty much nothing but lumber scraps from my woodworking.  And a little birch bark torn off my larger firewood pieces.  Birch bark burns like paper soaked in kerosene and is a great way to get the kindling started.
 
master steward
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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I tend to use small twigs for kindling, as they're easy for me to collect and store. But, I really like using split cedar, and sometimes my husband will make a bunch of cedar kindling which is nice. This winter I also discovered that the paper towels I use to clean excess oil off of my pans, make really great firestarters when stuffed with sawdust. Sometimes that alone will light 1-2 inch logs on fire. I also use lint and newspaper and old election pamphlets (that one was particularly fun during our last big election)

Basically, I use whatever I have lying around that's flammable and hopefully won't harm my woodstove.
 
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Location: Otowi NM
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Being on a (nearly) net-zero small homestead and having built fires of many kinds over my 60+ years, I hardly think about it.   My father used to always bring a few boxes of his own leftover trash wood split down into fine kindling, which was very handy.  I have plenty of brush and twigs as well, but those are going into hugelkultur and even compost now.  

During the harshest part of winter (Dec/Jan) I keep a fire going 24/7, or nearly so... banked and damped overnight, I sometimes feel the need to do more than just toss in a couple of split logs in the morning and open the damper... but if I'm impatient (or more frequently) have a buildup of paper-trash (food-packaging, toilet-paper rolls, paper towls) I toss that in and maybe even put a match to it instead of waiting 2-3 minutes for the renewed draft to brighten the coals to ignite the raw wood.  

As I move away from gathering firewood off-property and being more thorough and thoughtful how I handle my own prunings, I find I have more and more 4-8" rounds and sometimes have to make a point to split the larger ones so they will fire more easily.   Careful sorting and stacking so I always have a couple of splits handy in the morning would be fine too.

My rocket-mass stove in my sunroom hasn't gotten a lot of use yet, but as I aspire to grow more and more in there (not just keep things from freezing) I will probably build a lot more fires (daily for 3-5 months in the winter?)  But it is such a pleasure to sit over the feed-hole and hand-feed a twig at a time until it is starting to roar, I doubt I'll need anything specific for that either.
 
pioneer
Posts: 151
Location: California Coastal range
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I am in the third option, I use the little slivers of wood on the ground when the wood is split, once a year we split with a borrowed hydrolic wood splitter and I pick up all the little slivers off the ground and fill up a trash can with them.  I do not burn waste paper, I just us the minimum, one sheet of newsprint or equivalent, then a few pieces of the kindling and a couple smaller pieces of wood ( I make sure some of the wood is split small when I have splitting help as I do not have the strength to use the hatchet even to make large pieces smaller).  So one piece of paper, one match, that's all it takes.

I don't burn extra paper as that can easily clog the screen at the top of the stove pipe and that is another thing I can't do, climb up and clean it off, so instead I burn clean, hot fires and don't burn boxes or paper and work to minimize calls to chimney sweeps--most of them refuse to go on my roof so I realy need to keep that screen clear
 
master pollinator
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I have done twigs and split it. I've also used mostly dried pine cones. I'm not currently burning any wood, although I supply many people with some.

I will be putting in a wood burner and a charcoal burner when I build my place in the Philippines. Both for cooking. I hope to permanently give up the primitivism of using tinder at all. I will be putting in a biogas plant and I expect that most cooking will be done with that. But even the wood and charcoal burners will have gas run to them. So I'll just put in whatever wood is handy and turn on the gas for a couple minutes. Fires started with a good quantity of gas, get going quickly and they tend to not be a smoking mess in the beginning. That might be considered cheating, but something has to happen to all the animal poop and people poop.
 
That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I think a piece of pie wouldn't kill me. Tiny ad:
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
http://woodheat.net
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