How to use Hogs Back Logs Kindling Wood and Firelighters
DO NOT use paper – it has almost no calorific value, burns far too quickly and will release sooty wisps of paper to waft up your chimney and out onto anything in the neighbourhood… windows, skylights, cars etc. You will not be popular!
DO USE firelighters – you only need one Twizler. Our kindling wood and firewood is perfectly dry and will light very easily. You might even get away with one cube broken in half. We recommend washing your hands after handling firelighters.
DON’T completely clean out the ash from a previous fire. A good fire likes to have a bed of ash.. not too much.. and not too little.
DO rake your fire so air will flow. Successful fire lighting needs oxygen and dry fuel. A nice flow of air will get things going nicely.
Lighting your fire
The key to getting fire going is BE GENTLE! Slamming around logs and doors will put the fire out. Place your firelighters in the old ash and loosely place a few pieces of kindling over the top (making sure you can still light the firelighters). If you have a log burner or multi-fuel stove, then be ready to gently pull the door closed slightly leaving a small gap for air flow. If you don’t close the door, the initial smoke from the fire will puff out into the room. This is because the fire isn’t drawing up the chimney or flu just yet. Make sure you have all air vents fully open on your stove. Light the firelighters (gently pull the door in a bit to increase the air ‘suction’ up the chimney/flu). When the first pieces of wood have started to catch, gently place some more kindling on top and one medium sized log. Once the new wood has started to catch, then add a couple of slightly larger logs. Gently close the stove door (if using a stove/log burner) and let the fire build naturally. Don’t keep opening the door. The fire needs to generate enough heat to draw hot air up the chimney/flu and use it’s purpose built in vents. Opening the door will hinder this.
When the fire is nicely burning, don’t overload anything. GENTLY open the door to your stove/log burner and add one or two logs at a time. Don’t open the door quickly or you’ll get a very smokey room. Let the fuel burn down significantly until you add more fuel.
Other stuff to consider…
If the fire looks to have been left too long, then don’t worry. Place some more kindling or a small log on the embers and open the door again to increase air flow. If things start smoking, then you are in luck. There is enough residual fire/heat to ignite those logs. Just keep an eye on the fire and within a few minutes it’ll flame up again.
If you notice your fire getting sluggish, then give it a bit of a rake (with a poker if an open fire) or use the raker mechanism for your stove. The ash may be clogging the air flow a little. You will notice things really pick up again after that. Note that for modern log burners, then are very well designed to run with the vents on the lowest setting with dry logs. Unless you want a roaring fire, we recommend having a gentle flowing flame which is very attractive. Otherwise you will be sitting in our lounge/kitchen in a t-shirt in winter because it’s gotten way too hot! You will also get through a lot of fuel unnecessarily.
Most log burners/stoves have very strong glass. We have THREE tips to keep that glass in top condition. ONE: Don’t ever be tempted to burn wood with nails or tacks in it (e.g. an old pallet). If that wood splits when burning, it can shoot that red hot nail into the glass and crack it. That’s an expensive mistake. TWO: Don’t burn DIY remnants of wood that have been treated. Those contaminants can wreck both your glass and your chimney not to mention the environment! THREE: Get ready to get a bit dirty… Before lighting your fire, scrunch up some old newspaper and grab some ash with it, then rub the glass hard with the ash/newspaper (a bit like natural sandpaper). The glass will end up lovely and clean again. This doesn’t damage the glass. It’s the perfect solution to cleaning residue off the glass.
If you would like to read more about the science behind burning logs and fires, then please see our science popup at the bottom of the home page. For more information on sustainable forestry in the UK, then visit the Woodland Trust.