Lighting a Top Down Fire

Lighting a Top Down Fire

Jul 16th 2019

In a top-down fire, the larger logs are placed on the bottom, with progressively smaller logs, kindling and then newspaper added on top. The newspaper is lit, and the fire slowly burns down to the large logs below. It can take a little practice to get a top-down fire right, and you do need to use seasoned firewood, but the end result is cleaner, easier to use, and by far the best way to start a fire in a wood stove.

1. Place the largest pieces on the bottom of your wood stove firebox

When you start to build a fire, it is important to start with a good base. These should be the largest pieces in the load, 2” to 4” in diameter.

2. Place a second layer of smaller pieces (Kindling) crossing on top of the main logs.

These pieces are smaller than the large logs, 1" to 2" in Diameter

3. Place a third layer of smaller pieces (Kindling) crossing on top of the second layer.

These pieces should be small, no more than 1” to 2” in diameter.

4. Newspaper, Chips or Fire Starting Gel.

Rip off long sheets of news paper, roll loosely, into a rope, and tie into a quick knot. Stuff four or five knots on top of the kindling, spread out across the width of the fire box or spread Fire Starting Chips or Gel across the top of the Kindling

5. Light the newspaper of Firestarter

Make sure your stove damper is open or your combustion fan is on high. Then light the newspaper. We like to use a stick lighter to quickly light several pieces of the newspaper and then quickly shut the door.

6. Enjoy your fire

As the newspaper or firestarter burns, it will ignite the kindling, and begin the slow downward climb through the logs. Depending on how many logs you loaded and how thick the logs are, you can count on a one to three hours of beautiful flames. You’ll soon see why this is the best way to start a fire in a wood stove.