How to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling – Detailed Guide

No questions asked; kindling is essential to open the fireplace but you should know as well ‘how to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling‘. It aides the transfer of flames from the fire starter in a way much more effective. But what if one cannot really kindle the fire?

If you are thinking that the fireplace cannot be started without kindling, then you are wrong. Let us tell you how one can start a fireplace without kindling.

Alert: you would require the smallest kiln-dried log available.

How to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling

One needs to find other material required in order to substitute for Kindling. The other material can include pinecones, barks, newspapers which have tied knots or even other fire starters. Now, let us delve into the details.

Smaller logs

Why does one need to kindle the fire? In order to transfer the fire to all the logs from the fire starter more effectively and efficiently. Naked flames may not be very helpful in lighting up the logs. The bigger the log, the more difficult it becomes to light it up.  If you want to free yourself from kindling, then you need to choose the logs with the right size, which do not require much kindling and can light up by themselves.

It, in general, would maximize the chances of all logs catching fire. If you want to set up the fire while you are camping, this can actually be worthwhile.

How to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling - Wood

The top-down method

The top-down method has been widely used and is helpful too. (Well, that is why it is widely used)

Known as the reverse way, you stack up the material in the fireplace in the opposite way. You do not place the fire starter first. You place the logs in the fireplace flowed by the material used to help to kindle the fire. The logs go first, followed by the newspapers or pinecones etc. it is usually seen that the fire that is being lit without kindling often dampens soon and is not of much use since it doesn’t serve the purpose. In order to reduce this, do the following:

  • The layer of small-sized logs should be placed on the base
  • Lay the second layer of logs; the catch here is to lay it with a 90-degree angle from the ones beneath
  • Stuff the fire starter
  • Lit the fire
  • Ta-da

Kiln-dried logs… To the rescue

Use logs that are a bit too dry. Freshly cut wood is a bit too high on moisture content, and we do not require that kind of high moisture. It would smother the flames or, on the other instance, may not lit the fire at all. Greenwood has at least 20%; however, dependent on the time of the year, the moisture percentage can go up to 60%.

For wood to burn effectively, it shouldn’t have more than 15% of moisture content. There is a thing known as seasoning the wood. In order to dry the wood, one has to season it.

Leave the wood outside an overhand and leave it open on one side in order to allow the sun to dry it. Drying takes as long as 2 years to make the wood usable as firewood; thus, you need to be cautious.

Even after being seasoned, the wood retains a lot of moisture content. Thus, be wary.

(Season the wood for 5 years, and it will still end up retaining 10% of moisture, so you should know that you should opt for dried logs in the first place)

how to start a fire in a fireplace

Tie the newspaper

In order to kick-start the fire, crunch the newspaper or tie knots so that they catch fire faster. Had you been kindling the fire, crunching the newspapers lightly would have been enough; however, when you are not going to kindle the fire, it is advisable that you tie knots.

Use 4 to 6 sheets to make the knots work. This is the typical count, but it depends on how many sheets work the best for you.

(When building a fire via the top-down method, it is advisable that you start by lighting up the newspaper first)

Pack your utensils and cookware if you’re going to apply this during camping. It surely works.

Use the barks as a substitute

In place of the logs, one should use the barks to build a fire. Smaller and leaner, they help in building a fire easily. The barks can be obtained by peeling off the bark with minimal efforts.

Use alternative fire starters

If you want to save more time, then you should opt to buy alternative fire starters. One can even buy nuggets or disks to serve the purpose.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

While trying to start a fire without rekindling, you may want the following questions to be answered:

Can one use normal papers to set up the fire?

Not just any paper, one has to light the fire in the fireplace with newspapers. They are thin and thus, help in lighting up the fire easily.

What is the suitable moisture level of firewood?

The suitable moisture level is as low as 10%; however, the moisture level as high as 20% can also work. Pieces of wood with more than 20% moisture are hard to light up and would need seasoning. That being said, seasoning can take up to 2 years to dry the wood; thus, always do for wood that has been dried already.

How can one tell that the firewood is dry enough?

It should be the following:

  • Only brown and no greens
  • Cracking towards its end
  • Makes a hollow sound when the logs hit each other
  • One should be able to peel off the bark

Bottom Line

When trying to light up your fireplace without kindling, you need to be sure that the wood and the material you use is worthwhile and you have an idea about how to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling. The catch is to get firewood as dry as possible. If you are planning to use other material to rekindle the fire, even that can work.


Read also;
How to protect glass top stove from cast iron – Step by Step Guide
Cooking with Ceramic Titanium: Is it safe?

Hafsa Rafi

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