© 2020 TheBugOutBagGuide.com This is how I make a campfire fire now. That’s how we’re gonna To point out what Victor mentioned: “When we went to cut our tree at Christmas, the local forestry department in Zürich was giving out a brochure which described exactly this. This lasts for a euphoric five minutes. Thanks so much Tim, keep up the great work. Sounds like someone’s been reading the website of Mother Earth News: The Original Guide to Living Wisely. This brightly burning fire makes it less likely that the fireplace will smoke as it heats the chimney without the interference of loads of wood resting on top of it. But I do like camping or sitting around a good campfire just about any time of year. Standard fire-building lore would have you believe a great fire starts with a tipi of wood and pile of tinder under it. May I present to you the Upside Down Fire: The Upside Down Fire Method. Clear your firebox of all leftover ash and place your biggest logs, as close together as possible, on the bottom. It’s the best fire I’ve ever made and will now be the only fire I ever make. Normally my fire dies because we often forget about it after it’s lit. No smoke or minimal smoke – this is related to the thermodynamics of the flue air being heated faster, based on explanations I’ve read. It’s less than you’d use over 1/3 the total burn time with the tipi method, but it makes it largely impractical for outdoor survival purposes. But having experienced the frustration of continuously tending a fire (I have two wood burning fireplaces), I was soon hooked by your post. We usually use all split logs, do you need the rounds for the top layers, or will this method work with all split wood too ? I Will comment on the result of my attempt to mimic the photos shown above. I noticed a mix of split logs and round logs. Love this and ensures making fires is more of a pleasure than chore babysitting the initial flames. Working on my ‘muse’ right now. I converted mine to wood-burning long ago, and will never go back! It worked quite well, however what do you do when it’s down to the bottom logs and you’re wanting to keep the fire going when you go to bed? Connect two rooms, line an entire wall, create a shared indoor / outdoor space. It did start slow, so I added a clementine box and extra kindling to get it started. The same rules apply whether you are starting a fire in a fireplace, woodstove, furnace, barbecue or even a camp fire built on the ground. ft room (rather than use my gas furnace) and I have yet to find a method that works reliably all the time without a lot of fussing. The open door creates a vacuum of air up the chimney – or in our case, woodstove – that flushes all possible smoke out that way, rather than being pushed back down into the room by cold air stuck in the flu. When I made my fire I didn’t have any fire starters (they don’t sell them in India) so i just added 4 tea-light candles just under the top layer of paper. Quick suggestion for those who live in conifer areas. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page. Mrs. Homegrown. Every still laughed at and joked at how the fire looked like a burning tenement. I had to add small pieces of wood on top in order to build up enough embers. I can get a solid hour out of a medium-large coffee can full of wood pieces no bigger than my thumb, and you’re left with a tiny bit of white ash at the end. (We were all Bronx and upper Manhattan kids). You are going to repeat the process used in step 3 here but using smaller fuel wood, preferably smaller than your thumb in thickness. The newspaper is lit, and the fire slowly burns down to the large logs below. The more stable the structure of your upside down fire, the better it will be, as the structure won’t be compromised while burning which will lead to more complete combustion for all the wood, right down to those big logs at the bottom. It has not worked well. Will fit any shape of flue – round, square, rectangular or even triangular . The best way to do something that is often counter-intuitive. Depending on what tinder you chose you may need to blow gently to get the tinder going. Or you can click on the Share Bar on the left hand of the screen, there is a button there that looks like an envelope, click on it and it will open up your mail program with a new mail that contains a link to the article. Enjoy London, I sure did enjoy their pubs. You are going to lay your base layer of logs down in the next step so you will want your pit clear of debris and as level as possible so the fire you build will not topple over as you build it up. Efficient. Anyways Tim, i found this lecture interesting and likely up your alley. The irony is, we have a small-ish wood stove at the cabin and my husband has been reluctant to try this method. Great re-frame. I agree with the first comment. Here are the highlights and some pictures from a fire I started just last weekend. Lol). Your email address will not be published. A few more great suggestions from other readers (also answering Mike’s question about use for campfires): Keep up the conversation, and thanks again. I’ll definitely have to try this new fire starting method, even though it appears counter intuitive. But I will say that it does not last all night long. Wood stove enthusiasts actually favor the upside down fire building method as it tends to heat up the chimney pipe faster than a traditional fire and by doing so increases the stove’s efficiency. Great on a cold February night! Remember, this layer has to be large enough to generate enough coals and heat to ignite the logs below it. So, now you know how you build your own upside down fire. Dr Lynn played unaltered fire videos and muted videos, as well as testing the viewers with a blank screen and a picture of an upside-down fire. Not really usefull for the daily barbecue where a volcano (aka chimney) works wonder (see pics and how to in French on http://www.senorfuego.com/techniques/le-volcan/ ). There is explained how to stack the wood in different build fire-places. But if you’re looking to build a clean-burning fire that lasts for hours, you might consider using the “upside down” fire lay. Also, there was almost no smoke back-draft and house kinda smelled like Cracker Barrel. (obviously, dry wood is best with any technique…). Maybe I was just lucky, but for evening programs held after dark, we always used a Council Fire for lighting. Certainly when we build fires we want to try to be as environmentally sound as possible since timber is not the most efficient heat source. Heya Tim, was wondering if this could work during overnight camp trips? At first, I thought you were getting desperate for blog material. This entry was posted in Expert Tips , Fireplace Info and tagged Expert Tips , Firewood , Fuel Types , Wood Stoves . My understanding was that the tipi method was used to get the fire started (thus the high allowance for airflow). 1) Put the largest logs at the bottom, ensuring there is no space at all between them. OK, I admit it. Same applies to woodstoves. Follow these simple tips to light a fire in a woodstove, fireplace, furnace or fire pit, and you can be sure of success every time. 5 hours later after returning from a night out I was shocked to find most of the wood had been consumed and the house was nice and toasty. This was really cool to read, and when we go camping I’ll have to try it, even if I get laughed at by the guys who were boy scouts who always love to tell me what I don’t know. Get … Same concept I suppose? Stick to the same method of laying each layer down crosswise across the layer below it to allow proper air flow. 2. When we went to cut our tree at Christmas, the local forestry department in Zürich was giving out a brochure which described exactly this. The “upside down” fire is intended for a long burn. Upside down fires also produce more heat than traditional fire-starting methods while greatly reducing the amount of smoke caused by the fire, which can be one of the more frustrating … I don’t know if you allow URLs in your comments, but here is the wikipedia article on it. Tim – thanks for the great tips on building an upside-down fire. It burned for about 15 minutes and then went out. If your chimney is built on the outside of your house, the chimney flue is probably … No ashes – this amazed me. The idea behind this approach is that embers will drop onto the logs below, allowing the fire to burn a bit longer. The great thing about this post is that it not only flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and what every good boy scout is taught, but that the answer (better solution) was right there in front of our faces for so very long. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross-ventilation, and there is little warmth wasted. I now make all my fires this way. Unfortunately, my neighbors light fires and the smoke is drawn in through the “fresh air intake” of MYregular home furnace. It is then lit off from the top and bums downward. With the upside-down fire technique you build your fire from the base up before you light it, not only that, but you start with the biggest logs at the bottom, then some smaller logs and then the … It’s how fires are built, right? I started with 2 decent sized large pieces of wood then 3 split smaller sized and toped it off with some broken (as flat as I could find) pieces. This apparently did not affect the results. Who would have ever thought we’d be getting THIS kind of great advice from Tim. I put the bottom logs perpendicular to the opening right on the floor of the fireplace, it worked very well, no burning logs rolling out and I ended up with a bed of coals that I could toss anything on and it would burn. It works but I’ve found out a couple of things while experimenting (I’m an engineer and pyromaniac I can’t help it). Thanks Another important step to knowing how to work a fireplace is to make sure all ashes are cleaned out of the firebox before you start stacking wood for that first fireplace fire. A Tried and True Pattern . I appreciate the comment, but I did pass on my source: one of the readers of this blog, Marcie. Thanks for reminding me about the Council Fire lay. wind). Although the top down fire seems completely backwards at first, once you try one it will quickly become your favorite choice. Another cool thing to heat homes: Aluminum Can Solar http://youtube.com/watch?v=bRZvAAqzXIw&feature=related, Just a heads up, your “fire starter oil sticks” are actually just pieces of fatwood. As of right now (2 and half hours later) this “5 and change” log fire is still going and I haven’t touched it once. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross-ventilation, and there … During the heating season, a Council Fire is fine for open fireplaces or to start an airtight stove. We recently learned what we’ve concluded is the absolute best way to build a fire in a wood-burning stove. And since I live in MN, I can put it to good use. I then linked to the 5 skills you need to know when bugging out. It freaking works better than described. Off course not as romantic, but you get models with larger windows as well. They required babying, rebuilding, etc., and they burned fast. Third picture: In WIDE BUT NOT DEEP fire-places place the wood lengthwise with the cut (open) side to the sides. My name is Chris and I created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. Having lit well over 3,000 saunas in my day, and probably that many more fires in fireplaces and fire pits and other pyrotechnics best left forgotten, I had been using a method to start a fire that was good enough, but now I use the “upside down fire” method and it feels like returning to Finland after 3 decades: bummed it’s taken me so long, but grateful to be doing it. built in a layered fashion starting with tinder at the top and increasing in size all the way to large logs at its base NB: The size of our fire place is literally no bigger than 2ft x 2ft x 1.5ft(tall) so I had to downside the setup. I'm gonna show it to you in the fireplace so I don't build my glass but if you know force make sure you set up a bunch of box or something so you don't burn the forest so what you wanna do is sit up. The Upside-Down Fire We like to build our fires upside down, meaning lightest (on top) to heaviest (on bottom) – think of a pyramid – as opposed to the more traditional method of stuffing paper under the logs and letting the fire … With indoor fires, it’s especially important to start with well-seasoned wood that won’t smoke you out of your living room. We joked with, Sven, the camp counselor that we had come up with a better way to build a fire and he told us it was a fluke and that we should stick to the tried and true method in the future. While traditional fires (teepee and log cabin) do progressively ignite successive layers (if properly built!) So then you also have to think about soot or creosote that could settle in your chimney and be a cause for chimney fires. it works. i can finally throw my poker in the garbage! I’d heard about the upside-down fire, but the method you describe is a pure, Platonic form I hadn’t heard described before. my wife used to walk in and the first words out of her mouth would be “it smells in here” now she just says “oh you lit a fire”. Joined: 14 Oct 2012 Messages: 123 Thanks Received: 7 Location: Hertfordshire Country: I have made my fireplace recess bigger by taking several bricks off in order to be able to accomodate a woodburner. the thermostat on the 2nd level will elevate 2-3 degrees with a well maintained rip-roaring fire. Now you are going to start adding on the smaller wood that you have, kindling that is thinner than your pinky. Over all, i put just four little woods with a single fire-starter cube inside, as shown in the Zurich Brochure. A top-down burn, sometimes called an upside-down fire, allows for a cleaner burn, and makes the best use of the fireplace, producing less smoke in the process. Packed as much wood in as it could hold. An upsidedown fire generates lots of coals. It makes me wonder though… I haven’t read through all of the comments… but has anyone thought about the chemicals in those fire starter logs? It would be nice to show off this fire building technique to “seasoned veterans” and it be a spectacular success. Simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. An upside down fire will give you the best burn possible and will heat your home, especially if it’s a straw bale home, so incredibly well. Tried it last evening – produced a great fireplace fire. I’ve been building fires since before my Scout days, I was taught to build them exactly as you described, this looks so much better, cannot wait to build it and see for myself….B Jim. (Prove this for yourself: Take a stick of incense or cigarette, and hold a lighter up to the smoke. As well as this, not only does the fire burn longer, it burns hotter. Thanks! Add 3-5 layers of this if you have enough to do so. HA! There were a couple of guys who had been in the boy scouts when they were young and they new the “right” way. That is genius and exactly what I expect from you and this site. And as further punishment, it was also going to be our job to tend to the fire all night. Did the number of comments have some influence on that? There were no spaces between logs at the bottom, then every other layer had an empty box. Great tutorial! Pine cones work very well for firestarters. The heat from the fire on top drives off the moisture of the wood below, and then actually turns the wood below into *charcoal* by driving off all the combustible gases, which burn beautifully well. The upside down is a great fire because it give less smoke. Thank you for the sound advice. The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. I am going to try this in my wood stove for my overnight fire. It’s the unfortunate way of the world. 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