Wood burning stoves are fairly simply devices to use and once you get started you will quickly get used to starting and maintaining a fire in them. You will find that you develop your own technique for lighting your stove that works best for you and your stove. Start with the bottom air vent on your stove in the open position and and ensure that it is fairly clear of ash or burning debris, to allow for a good air flow. You can also ensure that the grate in your wood burning stoves is relatively clear, although this doesn’t need to be spotless, a bit of a covering of ash helps reatin heat and your fire to burn for longer. Your grate just needs to be clear enough to allow air flow.
The lightly screw up some newspaper or other paperand place on top of you wood burning stoves grate. On top of this you will need to place some kindling wood. Kindling is just small peices of softwood which is very dry. Kindling will not burn for long but it is easy to set alight and so helps to start the fire. You can make your own kindling by chopping down larger peices of softwood into smaller peices. Place enough peices of kindling on the bed of your stove to allow a reasonable fire to start but leave enough room to allow the air to flow around them.
On top of your kindling place a few larger peices of wood and begin to light the paper at the bottom in a few places – it is better to start at the back of the stove to avoid buring yourself. Once the fire has begun you can close the door of the stove. It should not be long before you kindling is set alight and at this point you can carefully place a few larger peices of wood on top of the fire and they should begin to catch, it is these larger peices of wood that will burn for a long time and provide the heat you need. Do not overfill your wood burning stove with wood, about 3-4 logs in plenty and less in smaller stoves.
Once the fire in your wood burning stove is going you can begin to turn down the air vent at the bottom of your stove to control the fire and get a nice even burn rate and temperature as you desire. You should now have a roaring fire going in your wood burning stove, replace logs as they burn and control the vents to keep the level of heat that you require. If you have a multifuel stove with a grate clear you can use this to clear ash from the grate and even put coal onto your fire to keep that smouldering heat going.
Wood Burning Stoves and Flues