Old poster with a fire-making question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ~Misha, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. ~Misha

    ~Misha Live life to it's fullest

    Messages:
    209
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Eastern panhandle, WV
    :help: We are FINALLY moved into this huge doublewide. We paid the extra for the corner fireplace and are LOVIN' it!! My question is this: Can I use pinecones for kindlin? Some of the longer ones have a light "snowing" of sap on the tips. I might use about 2 dozen a day or so (ok ok my fire making abilities are slow to come!!)

    Opinions?

    Looking forward to catching up! :sing:
     
  2. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,487
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina

    It will be fine!! If you have some old candle's----you could melt them and dip the end of the cones into it---let dry----then it wouldn't take as many. Good Luck!! Randy
     

  3. ~Misha

    ~Misha Live life to it's fullest

    Messages:
    209
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Eastern panhandle, WV
    Thanks Randy!!!!!!
     
  4. Theront

    Theront Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    OK now don't laugh. We use cotton balls dipped in vaseline. It only takes a spark and they are up and burning. It takes 3 or 4 to make a fire with wood. If you have paper and such it takes less. This is how we start our camp fires when camping. Each ball will burn for a minute or two. We found this doing a fire starter research for Royal Rangers. Everyone was so impressed.

    Theront
     
  5. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    611
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    We never burn pine or pine cones but I would think if you were just using a little it may be alright. I always start the fire with crumbled newspaper egg cartons and kindling or very small wood. When we have a good bed of embers we place in the bigger stuff.

    RenieB
     
  6. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswick
    A friend of our made us pinecone firestarters the last two years for christmas. She made them by setting each pinecone into a red or green base of melted wax about 1/2" deep and maybe 2" in diameter. They look so nice you just want to set them on the mantlepiece and not burn them, so they tend to still be around when you really need them. :)

    For firestarting a little bit of wax or vegetable oil is good but it needs something to wick on, which can be a piece of newspaper. What works very well is a piece of charcoal from a previous fire soaked in a bit of wax or vegetable oil. If you have very good kindling however, you shouldn't have to waste any candlewax or vegetable oil. Also, if you have good firewood, you shouldn't have to waste much kindling.

    I am not sure about my terminology, but this is how I divide things up:
    1. Firestarter - Match or Lighter.
    2. Tinder - Birchbark, Paper&Wax, Charcoal&Oil, or a Candle.
    3. Kindling - Newspaper, Pinecones, Twigs, Dry wood Split into narrow strips.
    4. Fagotwood - Seasoned unsplit small diameter saplings and branches.
    5. Cordwood - Seasoned Cordwood in large sizes that fit maybe 3 to a fire.

    In a fireplace I start with 2 large chunks of Cordwood on the bottom, but in a woodstove there is no room for cordwood until you have had at least one good burn of the fagotwood. So in a firebox I would set some fagotwood on the bottom third, and 2/3 kindling on top of that with just enough tinder to get that going. If the stove and flue was very cold I might burn some newspaper before building the fire as described above. Newspaper is good for heating up the stove and flue but not much else unless you drip some wax or oil onto it. I find Eastern Cedar is the best wood for kindling, but in my opinion it is too valuable of a wood to cut just for that purpose, but a small amount of windfall goes a long way.

    I prefer to burn the pine with the smaller fagotwood when I am constantly tending the fire so that I know it is burning well. If any of the wood is damp it is best not to burn any pine. With good hardwood you can deal with some pine, and some damp wood, but not both. The trouble with pine is when it is at that stage that it gives off a lot of volatile gases and there is no hot fire to burn it all. Even if you have a good fire, if the pine is placed on top you can have trouble so it should always be placed under something that is burning well. This can be awkward.

    The advantage of the large cordwood is that it has less surface area exposed at once so that it will burn slowly and more or less stoke itself, but only once the stove or fireplace is already hot and there is already a bed of coals and at least one log is already burning well. Ideally all 3 would be hardwood, but if one of the three is pine that might be OK if it is on the bottom and already well charred with lots of other hot coals and one of the other logs on top is already burning well. It takes a few hours to build up a bed of coals where you can shove in 3 good sized logs and just leave them to burn on their own when you go to bed. If you try and burn too much pine, or if any of the fuel is too damp, it is very difficult to build up that bed of hot coals. When I put a fire to bed I don't close it all the way down. I leave the flue all the way open and the stove inlets open just a little. It should burn slow by being mostly coals and not not much surface area, but never by being starved of oxygen.

    p.s. If I have coals left over after a fire I set these aside in a coffee can when I clean out most of the ashes. When I clean out the ashes I only clean out the half that I know is really spent, and I use it for gardening or making soap. The coals I put on the TOP of the next fire in with the kindling, and sometime soak a few pieces with vegetable oil or wax to make tinder. The old-timers used to soak a few with kerosene. I have also seen a ball of some porous stone or metal on the end of piece of iron that gets soaked in kerosene and then set in a fire to start it. It came with a little cast iron pot that was filled with the kerosene. This was for an old franklin stove or fireplace and not a closed wood stove, though it would work with the door ajar.
     
  7. beowoulf90

    beowoulf90 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,950
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Yes the pine cones will work, I've used them to start fires in our coal stove.

    Here is another idea for firestarters;

    take a cardboard egg carton, do not use the polyfoam or styrofoam egg cartons.

    take dryer lint from you clothes dryer and put it in the egg carton

    pour melted wax into the egg carton, let it cool

    once it is cool you can cut the individual egg "cups" apart and have a dozen firestarters.