Ward House

Fire bug

The kitchen is very cold in the morning; like 56 degrees cold.  This morning I padded through the house, let the dog out and set the fire in the cook stove.  It would appear that without a little helper a.k.a. lighter fluid, the fire does not start without much smoke.

I have not yet googled homemade fire starters – I’ve seen these used to start camp fires, something with cotton, wax and something else.  Do you have a recipe or method for laying kindling and such that will give a better chance of success?  I’d like to be able to lay a fire without using liquid assistance, will still have matches though!  =)

Mother Earth News has an article entitled The Art of the Wood Cookstove.  In this article the author speaks on the importance of learning how to use the oven bypass damper.  Now that is a tricky little lever!

When open, the bypass damper allows the exhaust to pass directly from the firebox into the flue when starting and loading the stove. When closed, it forces the hot exhaust across the top of the oven, down the far side and then under the oven into the flue. Smoke-free operation and successful baking both depend on the correct use of the damper.

I believe this explains some of my early morning challenges.  This is how I currently lay a fire:  one nice large dry piece of wood on the very bottom with lightly crinkled newspaper on the top and on each side of the bottom ‘log’, a few kindling pieces on top then two more larger pieces of wood on top of that.  A quick squirt of lighter fluid then a lighter and voila!  We have fire.  A quick note: we do not use pine in this stove, only seasoned hardwood.


And now for my fav topic from the above site (becoming one of my fav as well); Homestead chickens!


March 4, 2009 - Posted by | Chickens, Cooking | ,


  1. I’ve been lurking on your blog and have been following the wood cookstove saga…..very exciting. We, with great success, have made our own fire-starters this year. They work like a charm. Take an empty toilet paper roll and fill with dryer lint. I then take bits of left over candle wax, melt and pour into the tube on top of the lint. Let dry…voila. Lay in a fire-starter and lay a few pieces of small kindling over. When the kindling is going well I will then lay on a bigger split piece and it will catch right off. Also another trick is to position the fire-starter and kindling pile so that the air will draft over it….probably involves that damper lever you were speaking about. Hope this helps….Kelli

    Comment by Kelli | March 4, 2009 | Reply

    • Lurking *giggles* That is such a funny word. =) Welcome to my life and thank you for posting! This information is exactly what I needed! Though I do not have much dryer lint anymore since we do not use the dryer. =/ I have saved some though and will put this to use right away!

      Comment by Annette | March 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. Works fantastic to warm up our bathroom. Still working after a year. It is rather loud on high speed, on low speed its ok, but if you place it on high then get in the shower you wont hear it over the water running.

    Comment by Muralli Sinnadurai | January 14, 2010 | Reply

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