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Top/Down or Down/Top when Lighting Your Wood Burner ... what do you do?

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1 hour ago, Rich Rule said:


Give it a go, I only light stove fired this way now.  It also works on campfires depending on the wind etc.

And smoke free fire pit.


I always taught my scouts to start top down, the wood at the bottom gets your starting fire away from the damp earth.


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Ah! Ha!

Me specialist subject.

I form a firebox of thinner section split conifer, picked from the box of sticks, around at least three sides of the stove, stuff the middle with paper, cardboard and perhaps some plastic packaging, then light and put another stick or two on top, leaving the door "on the snib" for extra draught until properly lit, this never fails, and gives a hot fire in about 10 to 15 mins.

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18 hours ago, Paul in the woods said:

Firelighters are the unnecessary spawn of the devil. Dry kindling, which last year I mostly just collected up when splitting logs, and a couple of screwed up pieces of paper is all you need.


I use both bottom up and top down methods depending of what size logs I've got.

If its dry paper then agreed,  but often that paper is damp and it smokes like billyO.   Hence I always recommend firelighters,  ideally the wood/wax ones.     Remember that many fire time stove owners have no experiance at all of a live fire,    firelighters give them immediate success.

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I used to use paper till I stopped commuting to the office and didn't pick up a daily free paper, firelighters now just for speed. I could of course split up wood kindling and no need but that gets to be a long job for a fire ever day.


I tend to go bottom up but put enough bigger pieces on top so it goes if I get distracted. Top down works just as well though and if I thought about it would probably go sort of middle-out

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It depends on the wood and whether the flue is warm.  I find all kinds of techniques work in a stove as long as you have dry seasoned wood. Mostly I use two full sized large logs with nest of newspaper and kindling in between.  Sometimes I will then add more paper on top if the flue is cold. A neighbour still reads a daily newspaper so I can use plenty.  Firelighters are unnecessary/expensive/un environmentally friendly. I also find 'riddling' a gap in the multi-fuel grate stoves is helpful to promote airflow. 


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