Light My Fire


Crackling fire courtesy of


With the change in weather, and our move indoors here on the north shore, I thought it would be a good time to share with you some tips on building the perfect indoors fire. Being experts at heat treating, we take fire and heat very seriously, as for many of our processes, it’s the core of our specialty thermal processing treatments. So, for those of you who have indoor fireplaces, or wood burning stoves, here you go.

  • Be sure you have your chimney inspected and flue opened before starting your fire. Over time, soot can build up in the chimneystack and cause damage/fires. Support your local chimney sweeps and have it done right.
  • Clear away any ash buildup left over from the last fire. Using a metal shovel and brush, gently gather up the ash from inside the fireplace, and place in a metal container (never use paper bags or plastic). Take your time as to not create a lot of ash dust. Remove your log grate if necessary to get to all the ashes. Discard your ash container outside, away from the house and set on a concrete surface. Check it days later and make sure it cools completely before discarding.
  • Start by piling up a layer of kindling (small, dry pieces of wood) in the center of your wood grate. Stack in a tee-pee shape, about 6-8 inches high, depending on the size of your fireplace. Make sure pieces are of different lengths and size so air can circulate throughout the pile.
  • Next, place large logs on each side of the kindling, and also across the top. Crisscross logs again so air can circulate around the logs. Use smaller logs as you stack higher, and make sure nothing can roll out of the fireplace into the room.
  • Using a folded newspaper page, tear one-inch strips of paper and pile them up. Fluff the paper to be sure it’s in a good pile, and slide underneath the wood grate, just under the kindling. Do not crumple the paper and stuff it under the wood, as it will not burn properly.
  • Double check your flu is open and then light the paper with a safety match or hand held butane lighter. If you have a damper underneath the fire place floor, crack it open a bit to allow fresh air to enter. If you have doors on your fireplace, close the doors to create even stronger upwards draft. The paper and kindling should ignite and begin to burn nicely.
  • Allow the fire to gain momentum, spreading to the top layers and logs. As the fire burns, gently add additional logs as needed.
  • Make sure the fireplace screen is in place at all times. Enjoy.
  • YouTube Link

Steve’s tips on enjoying the warm fireplace.

  • Place a soft blanket in front of the fire, (not too close of course), get a good book and relax with a cup of hot chocolate (don’t forget the marshmallows) or warm cider (don’t forget the cinnamon stick).
  • If decorating for the holidays, make the fire first, and then add some holiday music – I’m a sucker for the old classics from the 50’s.
  • Invite some friends over and play cards. My wife and I have a great group who love Euchre – its fun and easy and a good conversation game.
  • Enjoy some “comfort food” – I recommend cake, pie, soup, chips/dip, sandwiches, leftovers… pretty much everything for me is comfort food.
  • If sending out holiday cards, sit nearby and write personal notes to friends and family – the fire and warmth will put you in the right mood.
  • Make a fire in the morning and enjoy it throughout day.

BONUS: History of the Match: Wikipedia