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How to make the perfect log fire
Making the perfect log fire comes with practice.
There's no one way to create perfect log fires as all fireplaces, fuels, wood burning appliances and stoves are so different and subject to Murphy's Law!
Lighting a fire has three steps ....
1. Remove the remnants of a previous fire
2. Prepare the fire bed
3. Fuel and light
Things you will need:
A soft brush
A metallic container for removing ash and cinder
Lighter or matches
Old paper or newspaper to use as Tinder
Kindling and firewood
Logs - Choose from Kiln Dried Logs , Seasoned Logs , Hardwood Logs , Softwood Logs or Fire Logs
Before you begin, we assume you have kept your fire appliance in good order and have had it maintained too. Your chimney should be cleaned bi-annually by a qualified chimney sweep and the place where you wish to light your fire must have suitable and adequate ventilation.
If you have children or animals, please make arrangements to keep them away from the fire lighting area. Once you have lit the fire, do not leave the fire alone until it is safe to do so and a fireguard is in place.
If you have an open fire and you have used it before you will need to clear out the remains of a previous fire. For an open fire, assume that the previous fire remains can contain hot ashes and cinder. It's always advisable to wait or take extra precautions to deal with hot ashes and cinder.
Rake the grate
Rake the grate using your poker and get rid of all old ash so that it falls into the ash pan underneath. Using the brush, sweep away any remaining ash too so that your fireplace and hearth is clean. Don't clear out the grate completely (just get rid of the ash and small cinders)as you may have some part-burnt pieces of logs, firewood or solid fuel left and these are ideal to help get your new fire off to a good start.
Empty the Ash Pan
Next, is the job of emptying the ash pan. Cinders that have fallen through the grate can remain hot for many hours, so be careful and do not empty hot ash and cinders into combustible containers - metal containers placed onto the hearth is ideal - keep away from carpets as the heat will transfer and burn your carpet! Remove any decorative parts of the fire bed to gain access to the ash pan. Have your container close to hand and slowly (the slower the better) tip the ash into your container. Be careful how quickly you tip it as you may end up covered in a cloud of ash if you do it too fast.
Remove the ash from the room and replace the component parts of the fire bed so that you are in a position to lay your fire.
Lay the Fire Bed
Lighting the fire first time is easy to achieve, providing you don't try and take short cuts.
Firstly lay some tinder in the firebed. A wide range of materials can be used for this purpose. Most people use scrunched up newspaper. On top of this place 2 or 3 firelighters and then on top of this 10 - 12 pieces of firewood kindling.
Some people don't bother with the newspapers or use other tinder materials entirely but over time you will get an idea of which works best for you given your access to resources and materials.
TOP TIP! - It's a good idea to bring kindling, firewood , tinder into the home a couple of days before you intend to use it - it helps them dry out that little bit more.
Light the Fire
Light the newspaper or firelighters with a taper, match or lighter.
Once the flames are established add some small logs (Choose from Kiln Dried Logs , Seasoned Logs , Hardwood Logs , Softwood Logs or Fire Logs ) to the fire and once these are burning well add some larger logs, always looking to place logs where it can help the fire spread to fill the grate. Most fires go out because people are too impatient and load the fire with fuel before the base of the fire has established itself.
It's best to remember that the route to successful first time lighting is A - get the fire started B - help the fire grow - slowly!
Then sit back and enjoy! The above applies equally well to starting a coal fire, but in this instance you need to be especially aware of not putting too much fuel on too soon.
Top Tip: Use both solid fuel and logs to make the perfect fire. The solid fuel helps the fire generate more heat and will last longer too, whilst the logs will give a lovely aroma and more flames.