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How to Light a Wood Burning Stove

Before starting to light your wood burning stove you should check that the stove firebox is not full of ash. Any excess should be removed using a suitable metal container. If the stove is a multi-fuel stove and you are burning smokeless coal, this requires air supply from beneath the stove grate so you should to ensure that the grate is clear from ash and that the ashpan is empty.

Open all the air vents of the stove and, if you have have a flue damper, open that.

You may use firelighters or newspaper.

Start with approximately 8 full sheets of newspaper to light the fire and "scrunch" them up into balls. It is possible to use much less paper, but you might as well make sure that the fire will light by using a little bit extra. Pile the balls of newspaper in the centre of the firebox.

For kindling; dry softwoods or light hardwoods are best: pine, beech, or ash are recommended. Use a hatchet to chop the wood into some small pieces roughly half inch square. Place about 6 small pieces on top of the newspaper in different directions - so that air and flames can get to each piece of wood. Now lay a few larger 1 to 2 inch square pieces on top.

Then light the newspaper in a couple of places at the bottom. Once alight you can close the stove door(s).

When the wood is burning put some larger pieces of  into the firebox. Place the wood gently on top of the fire. At this stage you can turn the air supply down a little but aim to maintain good flames whilst not letting the fire smoulder.

If you are burning wood, once the fire is established, you can begin to close the bottom vent. Do this gradually as the fire develops. Once the fire is fully established, you can part close the vent that controls air at the top of the stove - never shut this fully as your stoves 'airwash system' relies on air from above to keep the glass clean.

For any fire - the main aim is to produce flame - a fire that produces flame, produces minimal smoke, the flame is a sign of good heat, which helps keep your chimney warm allowing it to crave a constant pull of air through the stove. More flame and less smoke also protects the stove parts and liner from damage from the smoke. It is also much better for the environment.