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Laying A Fire

  1. Mar 14, 2006 #1
    I grew up with a fireplace so it's second nature to me, but I once had a girlfriend who told me that, while house sitting, she tried and tried to no avail to get a fire going in the fireplace, and ended up not able to do it, losing the hoped for opportunity of curling up by the fire with a good book. Her family had never had a fireplace, she'd never seen anyone get one going, and figured you just piled some wood in and held a match under it till it started burning.

    Alot of people have particular ways of doing it, and also of keeping the fire going. Real split firewood is just too expensive here in the city, so I get a pallet now and then, (free from the right places) knock it apart with a maul, then cut the pieces to length on a mitre saw. Alot of pallets have alot of oak in them, which is great firewood, but I burn whatever comes along.

    First I stuff crumpled newspaper under the grating: several full sized sheets. For kindling I knock eight or ten half inch pieces off a short board with a hatchet. Then a few wider pieces from the same stock. Once that's all going I start adding the 2 x 4 sized pieces of pallet.

    Out on the country somewhere it can be easier to use twiggy brush and then sticks for kindling, cause it's all over the place, and then proceed to progressively larger pieces.
     
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  3. Mar 14, 2006 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    Isn't it dangerous to start a fire in a brush shelter?!
     
  4. Mar 14, 2006 #3

    Moonbear

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    Your thread title had much more dangerous and painful activities coming to mind. :eek:

    I start a fire using the latter-mentioned method...lots of crunched up paper under the grate, little twigs gathered from the yard as the first layer, some smaller sticks on that, then a couple smallish split logs...once it's really going, you can add the larger logs to it to last all night.

    Oh, and I don't really know if it helps or not, but I've always started by lighting a sizable hunk of paper and holding it up near the top where the flue is to warm that up before lighting everything beneath...I just use that paper to light the rest of the fire when it gets too close to my fingers. Supposedly, pre-warming the flue a bit gets the draft going up it so the smoke goes up instead of into the house. I never had a problem with a smokey fire doing that, but I don't know if it's really because of warming the flue or just that I've been lucky to have good dry wood that doesn't smoke a lot. (My grandfather never did that and the house would always seem to fill up with smoke when he started a fire...yep, start a cozy fire then open all the windows to let the smoke out! :rolleyes: :rofl:)
     
  5. Mar 14, 2006 #4
    Not if it's in the zoobie brush fireplace. Zoobies can do things with brush people can't do with space age engineered materials.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2006
  6. Mar 14, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    I learned about fire starting/making when I was about 5, so it has been second nature to me. My grandfather showed me how to make fire by friction - rubbing wood together. Handy knowledge in the wilderness. :biggrin:
     
  7. Mar 14, 2006 #6

    BobG

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    Those sawdust blocks for starting fires work well for starting fires in fire places (avoid those firestarting blocks that look like a hunk of burnt rubber). In a pinch, I can always find enough dried twigs in the corner of the yard (unless it's raining or snowing). I usually never haul it away - I just use some of it to keep the pile from growing.

    I was a Boy Scout, so I learned how to start a fire (although, even with five of us teaming together, we wound up eating raw eggs for breakfast on our Order of Arrow ordeal - you were dropped off at random spots in the forest in the dark and it rained all night, so you couldn't exactly make any preparations for starting the morning fire).
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2006
  8. Mar 14, 2006 #7

    Astronuc

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    I remember days like that. I never did the ordeal formerly, we just went out into the wilderness rain or shine, which was about 50/50.

    It's nice though to get a fire started on a cold rainy morning, and have bacon and eggs, and toast and coffee. :biggrin:
     
  9. Mar 14, 2006 #8

    Evo

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    1.) Buy firelog at store.

    2.) Place in fireplace.

    3.) Light with match at the "light here" marks.

    4.) Enjoy little rectangle of flames.
     
  10. Mar 14, 2006 #9

    Math Is Hard

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    Too much work. I just pop in Video-Fireplace:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mar 14, 2006 #10

    Evo

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    Oooh, I always wanted a fireplace in my bedroom. :approve:
     
  12. Mar 14, 2006 #11

    BobG

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    Those work well if you want heat - last a long time with no hassle.

    If I'm sitting by the fire, I just like the sound and smell of pine and aspen (a mix is good since the aspen doesn't light up very well, even though it burns a long time once it's going).
     
  13. Mar 14, 2006 #12
    There is nothing in the world that can replace a real fire, and it's blasphemy to suggest anything else. Now repent! :grumpy:
     
  14. Mar 14, 2006 #13
    heh, video fireplace... aye!!

    as a girl scout i learned to make fires when i was younger... though, unlike the boy scouts, we stared by using pretzels and licorice... less dangerous they said. i remember i was pissed when myy 6 year old brother got to make real fires, and i was 8 and playing with candy... ANYWAY

    i take a lot of pride in making fires without use of any paper or bark at all and only one match. i save that stuff for when i'm not around and someone less experienced has to make the fire. Plus, when we camp, you're not allowed to use paper at all. we have white birch in abundance here, so i'll use that if i want to get a fire done fast, but since at camp we're always showing the girls how to do it right, we rarely do.

    at home we buy a few cords of wood every year. our primary heating comes from our solar windows and fire place. only the bedrooms have electric heat. usually you can find some logs that are half split or with splinters sticking out. i'll just peel the small pieces off as many logs as i can for tinder, and then break off big split pieces of kindling. i usually use a lean-to style to build the fire.

    at camp, we collect fallen sticks and such for the tinder, kindling and fuel. usually we do an A frame here cause it makes a bigger fire and creates spread out coals for cooking over.
     
  15. Mar 14, 2006 #14

    Danger

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    I've found that rubbing two boyscouts together can be effective. That causes a lot of friction. Rubbing two girlscouts together, on the other hand, causes more heat.

    So what about when you want to curl up in front of the fire and watch a movie? :confused:
    If you say 'spit screen', I'll shriek.

    You have one. :devil:
     
  16. Mar 14, 2006 #15
    I know of three different ways of doing this but haven't ever actually tried one. If I were ever caught out in the wilderness I'd at least have a good idea where to start. Primitive guys can start a fire like this in a couple of minutes but, of course, they carry a tried and true firestarting kit made of the right wood already configured for maxumin effectiveness.
     
  17. Mar 14, 2006 #16

    chroot

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    I've personally never really understood the desire of some people to be able to (for example) start a fire by rubbing two pieces of wood together. If you've got the neurons, the time, and the willpower to learn such a difficult skill, you ought to be able to remember to bring a lighter in the first place.

    Learning to build a fire with kindling and brush and so on? Useful skill. Learning to rub two sticks together for an hour to get a flame? Not so much. I honestly doubt that this skill has ever really helped anyone in the last two hundred years.

    I used to volunteer as a search and rescue team member, and I still always keep a complete pack, with the following essentials:

    1. Two quarts of water
    2. Compass
    3. Storm whistle
    4. Two sources of cold light (LED headlamp and larger flashlight, plus some glow sticks)
    5. Two sources of fire (waterproof matches and lighter)
    6. Firestarter material (I use a pouch of lint from my clothes dryer)
    7. First-aid kit (basic bandages, ointments, sting kit, gloves, etc.)
    8. 6,000 kcal worth of granola bars
    9. Change of clothes (polypro)
    10. Foldable 3-inch knife.
    11. Two trash bags for improvised shelter.
    12. Prussik cord for self-belay
    13. Tubular webbing for seats, harnesses, shelter, etc.
    14. Leather work gloves
    15. Locking carabiners
    16. Waterproof paper/pen
    17. Flagging tape

    I haven't become lost in the Santa Cruz mountains or been eaten by a bear to date, so I guess I'm prepared.

    - Warren
     
  18. Mar 14, 2006 #17

    BobG

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    Are you sure about that last (at least the couple minutes part)? Yeah, there's people that know how to start a fire, carry the necessary equipment, and have done it more than once, but I think the preferred method, even among primitive guys, is to carry enough of an ember from the previous fire to start the next. It's a lot easier provided you don't accidently start a fire in your pack.

    Personally, the only way I can be pretty sure of starting a fire without a fire (lighter, matches, hot coal) is on a warm, calm, dry, sunny day with a magnifying glass - I wouldn't like my chances in conditions where I'd most need a fire.
     
  19. Mar 14, 2006 #18
    The "couple minutes" is accurate, I'm sure. I specifically heard it said of modern day aborigines.

    Carrying an ember from one place to the next is certainly the first way men did it before someone figured out how to start a fire with friction, and keeping the ember alive with the right amount of air and fuel so they could make it last days, or indefinitely, was an art that was very well developed.

    I suspect that starting a fire from scratch with friction was a better method for hunting and raiding parties who had to be able to maneuver around rapidly, and at a moments notice, and might be caught without the time or opportunity to cultivate an ember.
     
  20. Mar 14, 2006 #19

    Math Is Hard

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    I believe this is also how juggling was invented. :biggrin:
    ow ow ow ow ow ow!
     
  21. Mar 14, 2006 #20

    Moonbear

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    The grad students had an annual retreat the last place I worked, and wouldn't you know, they forgot to bring a lighter or matches for the campfire/cookout. :rolleyes: Usually there's at least one smoker in every crowd who has a lighter, but that group wound up with a former Boy Scout instead. They were all talking about him saving the day starting a fire with sticks for at least a week after the retreat. :rofl: (Once the campfire was started, they could use sticks from that to get the BBQ going...never get between grad students and free food! :rofl:)
     
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