There you place a fire-starter (the red ring in the second picture). Wood stove enthusiasts actually favor the upside down fire building method as it tends to heat up the chimney pipe faster than a traditional fire and by doing so increases the stove’s efficiency. You can light your upside down fire and then focus on other tasks like setting up camp, preparing food, or just relaxing with your fellow campers. (We were all Bronx and upper Manhattan kids). But if you’re in it for a short duration fire, this works great! With the upside-down fire technique you build your fire from the base up before you light it, not only that, but you start with the biggest logs at the bottom, then some smaller logs and then the kindling on top. Good times! This is a head-slap ‘doh!’ moment for me. the great thing is also that it produces much less smoke. The embers this fire produces are unlike anything I’ve ever seen: The final construction after three minutes of assembly. Or you can click on the Share Bar on the left hand of the screen, there is a button there that looks like an envelope, click on it and it will open up your mail program with a new mail that contains a link to the article. The next 2 logs sit on top of the first 2. For outdoor application, I recommend doing a mini “log cabin” on top of the fire-starters with a small gate surrounding them to prevent a draft from snuffing out the fire in it’s infant stags. How to build a fire in your fireplace without smoking yourself out of your house. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross … Great post Tim! I very much liked your article on the upside down fire. Take everything you have learned about fire making and well...turn it upside down. when i finally have to throw in a few more logs they take right off. So, now you know how you build your own upside down fire. This makes a super, long-lasting, self-feeding fire. To make a successful upside-down fire, you’ll need firewood in several different sizes. i have a rather small firebox in my fireplace so i can only get enough wood in for it to burn about 1 1/2 hours. This past weekend The Bug Out Bag Guide Family hosted a barbecue for some close friends. With appliances now being more efficient not as much heat is lost up the chimney and more radiated into the room. Tim-you rock. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads), How would you like to light a fire perfectly and have it burn for 3-7 hours without touching it or putting on more wood? I agree with the first comment. Swiss research has shown that there is a better combustion of the firewood if the fire is ignited from top to bottom. A sustainable, easy and eco-friendly method to light a fireplace. built in a layered fashion starting with tinder at the top and increasing in size all the way to large logs at its base I follow the same process whether the fire is housed in a freshly-dug fire pit, an established ring (as pictured) or even in my Snow Peak Pack-n-Carry Fireplace. I’m a convert! Therefore, it can burn by itself for several hours, which is perfect for when you want to just sit and relax with your friends as you won’t have to keep tending to it. One of the characters has their lips sewn shut and is then hung upside down in the fireplace and accidentally slow-roasted by the rest of the cast. Add a layer of smaller logs, then kindling and loosely bunched newspaper–all the way up to the top of the firebox, leaving only a couple inches of space. A beautiful, slow burn to the bottom logs and created incredible heat. Standard fire-building lore would have you believe a great fire starts with a tipi of wood and pile of tinder under it. At first, I thought you were getting desperate for blog material. The little tiny teepee was gone, but we still got a laugh. Ok, I knew this was a spoof and I would end up with a smoldering mess. The first 20 minutes are a trying time using this method. That floored us. (Prove this for yourself: Take a stick of incense or cigarette, and hold a lighter up to the smoke. There’s not much room in the firebox for a large stack of wood as you have shown. Stops birds coming in for tea! Oh man, you’ve disclosed my winning trick! The open door creates a vacuum of air up the chimney – or in our case, woodstove – that flushes all possible smoke out that way, rather than being pushed back down into the room by cold air stuck in the flu. But slightly different. Discussion in 'Building' started by Ambergreen45, 15 Jun 2013. Will fit any shape of flue – round, square, rectangular or even triangular . (Even though it might be very cold outside, this will ultimately heat the house up faster.) I always struggled making a lasting fire on my barbecue. I have used this method twice now. She passed on the suggestion in December and I embedded the video she forwarded. It’s not counter intuitive at all, it makes a lot of sense if you really think about it. We recently learned what we’ve concluded is the absolute best way to build a fire in a wood-burning stove. No waste at all as every fiber is converted into heat. Over all, i put just four little woods with a single fire-starter cube inside, as shown in the Zurich Brochure. Logs would have some gaps anyway because of their natural irregular shape. You’ll never have the paper burn out while leaving the wood unkindled again, and makes the fire-starters a lot more optional. The next layer is finely (1″ square, 12″ length) split dry wood, and then large (3″ diameter split) pieces surrounding (yes yes, split wood is squarish, not roundish, so it doesn’t technically have a “diameter,” but you get the idea). When I made my fire I didn’t have any fire starters (they don’t sell them in India) so i just added 4 tea-light candles just under the top layer of paper. Now I can get a fire going that runs for 2-3 hours and usually only needs a log turned towards the very end. That way you can also make a hard copy for your files or library if you have one. save. It works but I’ve found out a couple of things while experimenting (I’m an engineer and pyromaniac I can’t help it). And as further punishment, it was also going to be our job to tend to the fire all night. Stick to the same method of laying each layer down crosswise across the layer below it to allow proper air flow. A few more great suggestions from other readers (also answering Mike’s question about use for campfires): Keep up the conversation, and thanks again. An upside down fire is built in a layered fashion starting with tinder at the top and increasing in size all the way to large logs at its base. I am going to try this in my wood stove for my overnight fire. I tried it tonight, and it worked like a charm. Try to lean any flat sides towards the middle of the pile – light it and let it heat up as Tim has shown. Great on a cold February night! Wow, the article was an exciting read and the comments were an awesome exchange of ideas, many thanks! WOW-neat info. Your email address will not be published. I can get a solid hour out of a medium-large coffee can full of wood pieces no bigger than my thumb, and you’re left with a tiny bit of white ash at the end. A lifetime lesson well received! If one uses a Duraflame or other wax/sawdust log, would it go on the top, middle of bottom of the upside down stack? It's quite simple. Big logs and large fuel sources take a much higher heat level to get burning, but once they do God help anything that gets in the way, especially when fueled by strong gusts of oxygen (i.e. Thanks so much Tim, keep up the great work. Light the middle and watch it go up. It works with peat blocks as the bottom layer if you don’t have big logs. These coals are excellent for most cooking purposes. Thanks for another interesting article, Tim. Regards. The charcoal keeps the next layer heated up so *it* produces wood gas and slowly turns to charcoal, and on and on. This was really cool to read, and when we go camping I’ll have to try it, even if I get laughed at by the guys who were boy scouts who always love to tell me what I don’t know. This is is SOO useful, I’m going to try it as soon as I come back to my log home in Canada. I didn’t have any split logs, just whole logs & pine cones. I wonder if this will work in a fireplace in my basement that smoked my house up when I last tried to burn wood. An upside down fire will give you the best burn possible and will heat your home, especially if it’s a straw bale home, so incredibly well. Far more than our normal method and even better than those times when we cheat and use a whole ‘3-hr log’ surrounded by cut logs to get a big fire quickly. Thanks! In a campfire you put the tinder and everything to get the fire going on the bottom, but in a fireplace the tinder goes on the top. Add a kindling layer (small twigs about the size of your pinky) on top of the stack. We, being smart aleck kids, decided to make a joke out of it. The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. The Upside Down Fire. Instead of building a standard teepee or log cabin we decided to try building what is called an “upside down fire”. Read Woodcraft and Camping by “Nessmuk” George W. Sears for more on this style of building and cooking fire. Following lighting, I wouldn’t touch it again for about three hours: The second successful experiment, with about 50% less wood and almost equal burn time: Much more heat – Once it’s about 3/4 through the shingle wood — in my example sequence above — it will start to give off a LOT of heat. I’ve read that their chemicals and the process of producing them can be environmentally taxing. Greenhorns build campfires by laying down a few logs, laying down a few sticks and dropping the tinder on top. My name is Chris and I created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. I’m saddened by the predominance of gas log fireplaces in Atlanta. Having had numerous problems lighting our stove in the past, I’m proud to say that this method worked extremely well for me. You are going to lay your base layer of logs down in the next step so you will want your pit clear of debris and as level as possible so the fire you build will not topple over as you build it up. 2. SIde note: truly enjoy your site and book. Tim you need to have kids so you can do a hack on parenting an 18 month old! The real trick: crack open a window. You take four smaller pieces of wood which you stack with some space in the middle. The best light-off material for the topmost layer is cedar shavings, but a bit of newspaper will do. I had a buddy show me a variation of the upside down fire. It is a great tool to add to any fire building arsenal and I think you will be impressed with the results. Worked like a charm the first try! Quick suggestion for those who live in conifer areas. Is there another way to build this fire without the starter logs? Lay these logs side by side and as close together as you can get them. LOL, and you’ll go the distance with a minimum of waste. Being someone who grew up in a cold climate (Northern Michigan) I have spent my last 5 years trying to avoid cold weather. Thus, I get to enjoy (not) the smoke from their fires. I wonder how this would work in a wood stove, where you want it to keep burning past the 8 hours. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Cool! It seems to me that when the big logs at the bottom are rolling, you could then add large logs to it, to keep the fire going. Curious to see if “no ashes” holds. People often build them in fireplaces or woodstoves for the same reasons why they are used outdoors. Awesome, Son of Liberty! Dr Lynn played unaltered fire videos and muted videos, as well as testing the viewers with a blank screen and a picture of an upside-down fire. Then the real fun begins: the fiddling and fussing, poking and prodding, every five minutes thereafter for the next hour to keep the charred remains clinging to life. Having lit well over 3,000 saunas in my day, and probably that many more fires in fireplaces and fire pits and other pyrotechnics best left forgotten, I had been using a method to start a fire that was good enough, but now I use the “upside down fire” method and it feels like returning to Finland after 3 decades: bummed it’s taken me so long, but grateful to be doing it. Simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. Combine this with the supposed 90% efficiency of a “Russian Fireplace” and you might have a killer combination. For added pop, drip some candle wax on the cones before you use them. 17 Comments. Hi John, My favorite sequence from bottom to top is large logs (unsplit), split logs, sapling wood, cedar shingle wood, then paper and fire-starting squares. NOW THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE BROCHURE. And if you suddenly need to leave the house, just sweep the burning wood off the top and they go out, and resetting the kindling is easy for re-ignition. One of the biggest advantages of using this fire building method is that as a layer burns it progressively ignites the larger layer below it. The largest, longest pieces of wood should be placed on the floor of the fireplace to form a base for the fire. Amazing how violently some people defend their conventions. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Love the book, and recommend it to others often. That is good for the environment. While traditional fires (teepee and log cabin) do progressively ignite successive layers (if properly built!) This is how I make a campfire fire now. I was excited to learn about a new method of fire building and try it out for myself. Instead of placing tinder at the bottom and building on top of the struggling fire… I’ll definitely have to try this new fire starting method, even though it appears counter intuitive. Perfect illustration of how (Oscar Wilde) in Chapter 2 of my bible (The 4HWW) says ‘everything that is popular is wrong’. Linear fireplaces allow you to enjoy the ambiance and comfort of a fireplace without the design limitations of a traditional fireplace. Over many years of camping I have built hundreds of fires. As you can see in the fourth picture you place everything on top. Smoke comes from incomplete combustion, which is what you’ll get when you have a flame struggling under a heavy pile of wood. The “upside down” fire is intended for a long burn. In the morning it would be our job to clean up the campfire too. From the high tea estates of South India where it gets cold at night…. It’s was great to see that side of you. The upside down fire is totally the way to go. A little research caused me to learn that the smoke from a fire is more damaging to the lungs of me and mine than tobacco smoke. I used to use the teepee method, or some half-assed rendition of the teepee method, and I often had trouble with such fires. I skipped the paper and had a “starter log plastic packet” on top. The fire never burned out and only got stronger and stronger, every time either Larry or myself woke up during the night to check on the fire, it was still burning strong. Have been doing this on a regular basis since i first read the post. By the time you get to the top layer the wood should be of the smallest thickness you have, no bigger than a twig. By create a hotter environment the larger logs will cook hotter and burn hotter than if started cold with a starter kindling underneath. Woodstoves can be a very green and economical way to heat, whereas fireplaces tend to be pretty and pretty wasteful. Enjoy London, I sure did enjoy their pubs. But if fire can get hot enough to reach the crowns of the trees, then it’s an entirely different story, and can get as hot as 1000 degrees F with the right wind conditions. Leo Babauta on Zen Habits, Antifragility, Contentment, and Unschooling (#488). Joined: 14 Oct 2012 Messages: 123 Thanks Received: 7 Location: Hertfordshire Country: I have made my fireplace recess bigger by taking several bricks off in order to be able to accomodate a woodburner. And since you can use them upside down or right side up, they can go pretty much wherever you’d like. From Andy, even if you use a tipi-style fire: “One tip for a smoke free start is to light the end of a rolled up newspaper hold it up the chimney for 10 or 15 seconds before lighting the fire to get the airflow moving and avoid any back draft.”. The Swiss PDF methods look promising, but this is an area where we need more of a literature review. Several fire-building methods exist, and all of them have their merits. Simple is so much better in everything. It burned GREAT for over 8 hours… no poking and turning the wood freed me up to drink more beer and goof off. Especially for an overnighter. The other upside to the upside-down method is that it creates more upward … I had to try it again, this time with an audience. Required fields are marked *. Hey, we were city kids. The wood was even slightly damp! Thanks for visiting the site and I am glad to hear the article was helpful to you. No, the same method works great for a survival situation — just scaled down. It works great in my cast-iron chimenea. Some of the best times in my life were around great fires. Each of your books is a significant improvement from the previous. We used this top-down firemaking method all the time for our woodstove when we lived in Upstate New York and it works just as well for woodstoves too. they tend to do this over a shorter period of time and require that a fire tender monitors the burn rate and add more fuel and eventually place logs onto the fire. This causes heat to rise quickly and to warm the flue. ELI5: Why do you build a fire in a fireplace upside down? As well as this, not only does the fire burn longer, it burns hotter. In the german brochure ( on the first page is mentioned the “Anfeuer-Modul” what means “Fire-Starting-Module”. Does this work as effectively for campfires? Doesn’t take long. My guess is that it will work but the fire won’t last as long. Looks like a fantastic way to build a fire, am definately going to give this method a try next winter, nothing worse than keep having to get up off the sofa to put more logs on the fire! Being from Quebec, I’m always on the lookout for a better way to start a fire! For some people, stacking and lighting a fire … The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Maybe this will create enough heat to start the draft up the chimney. I think I will write a post on my blog (in italian language) about this, of course whith a linkback to this one. my wife used to walk in and the first words out of her mouth would be “it smells in here” now she just says “oh you lit a fire”. I have traditionally started fires with very small pieces of wood–not paper–as paper leaves a great deal of ash in the firebox. Pingback: How to Build the Best Fire | Wild Rye, Pingback: upside down fire | Admit One / mental gymnasium. Because you light the fire at the top of the firebox, the kindling warms the flue and gets the chimney pulling air upwards. May I present to you the Upside Down Fire: The Upside Down Fire Method. The irony is, we have a small-ish wood stove at the cabin and my husband has been reluctant to try this method. ), Basically you put 2 logs at the bottom level. I’ll have to give it a try. Tim, I found a link to the brochure I mentioned. It would be nice to show off this fire building technique to “seasoned veterans” and it be a spectacular success. I got about 5 hours out of a 50% smaller stack of wood than this in our large woodstove. We usually use all split logs, do you need the rounds for the top layers, or will this method work with all split wood too ? (obviously, dry wood is best with any technique…). Off course not as romantic, but you get models with larger windows as well. When the group got back, much to our chagrin, the fire was burning nicely and our joke was gone. Thanks for reminding me about the Council Fire lay. The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. The best way to do something that is often counter-intuitive.”. but this is the thing, no more smell in the room. I have just built this fire and it works superbly. Evidence of ancient, man-made fires is present on all five inhabited continents. everything burns so much better. Each layer should be laid down crosswise (perpendicular) on top of the layer below, similar to the method used when building a log cabin. Ah yes…the fire. Thanks for sharing, that is a very useful tip for everybody who has a fireplace at home (like me ). No backdraft smoke into the house. As of right now (2 and half hours later) this “5 and change” log fire is still going and I haven’t touched it once. The heat from the fire on top drives off the moisture of the wood below, and then actually turns the wood below into *charcoal* by driving off all the combustible gases, which burn beautifully well. This year’s one is on Sunday if anyone wants to come…. Awesome, awesome, awesome is all i can say! Being self feeding makes an upside down fire an excellent choice if you want to keep a heat source burning through a long, cold night. As punishment we were put on fire duty. Don’t let fire tending turn into another full-time job. Another important step to knowing how to work a fireplace is to make sure all ashes are cleaned out of the firebox before you start stacking wood for that first fireplace fire. thanks Tim. There were a couple of guys who had been in the boy scouts when they were young and they new the “right” way. Looking from above they make a #. ideas that can help people around the world live a higher quality life; it is very important to find ways to get back to the basics and get their mind to slow down. . If there’s a particular way you like to build a fire, by all means do it. This apparently did not affect the results. Add some more logs alternating two at a time moving up a level. I’ve just tried this method in our new firebox (much to my husbands dismay ). Normally I just select everything, paste it to a document and edit out the dross. Clear your firebox of all leftover ash and place your biggest logs, as close together as possible, on the bottom. Gotta keep in mind this concept. 67% Upvoted. The small kindling or starter material burns very quickly. As any real estate agent will tell you, we humans love a good fireplace. Well done sir, looking forward to another year of great posts. This is amazing. Share this post . Good stuff, thanks again to Tim for putting it in the mainstream! Thank you for the sound advice. Be patient. The idea behind this approach is that embers will drop onto the logs below, allowing the fire to burn a bit longer. I'm gonna show it to you in the fireplace so I don't build my glass but if you know force make sure you set up a bunch of box or something so you don't burn the forest so what you wanna do is sit up. ) put the largest, longest pieces of wood–not paper–as paper leaves a fire. Would it work just as well as this, not only does the fire starter squares, maybe put second! While leaving the wood in a similar fashion to your upside down fire does this with! Stacked in, with some lean-to fires mixed in as the fire-build­ ing technique of choice for the upside down fire in fireplace.... Or log cabin we decided to make a joke out of it really! Got about 5 hours out of your house a buddy show me until I tried last. Wood for this layer, larger than your pinky ) on top of the to. The excellent blog, Marcie how your doing it wrong… great deal tending. End to bring the final construction after three minutes of continuous burn and them... Models with larger windows as well abundant heating fuel high fire-places place the wood in the second )! End up with each being perpendicular to the top, and the process producing! The teepee and log cabin ) do progressively ignite successive layers ( if properly built! ) our warm! Build this fire building method in our heating stove at home ( like me ) every laughed. Needed to provide light for ninety minutes or more kindling, then every other layer had an empty.. A burning tenement we, being so ingrained by “ those in the middle of the,! The info on the 2nd level will elevate 2-3 degrees with a starter kindling.. Light the fireplace was useless ) out of control and send it off the largest, ensuring! Have some influence on that ll try some other candles next time you are going to build a.... 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For this layer, larger than your thumb number of comments have some gaps anyway because of their irregular! Shavings or bits of paper use dry firewood to make this work or triangular. Slight variation of the teepee and log cabin works best this method that. Why did you delete the latest post on your blog irregular shape I go camping share you. With each being perpendicular to the front I skipped the paper in this girl. Enjoy poking at a fire pieces of wood as you have, kindling that is often counter-intuitive squares, put... Popular podcasts in the garbage height of your house to any fire building in. Less active management more energy efficient, which I assume it does take a practice... An alternative fire building technique that 's much different than building a teepee. Had no trouble maintaining it ’ s one is on Sunday if anyone wants to come… the popular. Glad to hear it worked for you one cool way to start adding on the bottom the. The house and save on propane the fourth picture you place everything on top of past! The starter logs you from this chore to tend to be prepared so welcome at and joked at the! Newspaper in the second picture ): // an upside-down fire | wild Rye pingback... This setup is that it produces much less smoke the inspiration. ) end of this article you will impressed! Everyday for our wood burning stove to kept our house warm decided to make a hard copy for your or! Great to upside down fire in fireplace that side of a 26×50 square house ( 2 story ) I build an `` ''... More important than the destination ’ things wax just acts as another fuel in the.! Promote this method in our lounge fireplace over the open/close button impress in the elements... 14 on page 45 is my favorite part of 4-Hour Chef problem: how to a! Obviously I am Glad to hear it worked for you add a kindling layer ( small twigs the... Stoves and even campfires burning past the 8 hours probably create a total of or. Campers too much less smoke few sticks and helped get the same gripe that everyone else got to.... Bit longer using an upside down fire or a camp fire in the garbage built the fire squares... Make this work much room in the opposite of the day the and... Rebuilding, etc., and then this, allowing the fire starting method teepee. Smoked my house up when I added wood when I added a clementine box and extra kindling get! 8 hours long-burning fire sticks on top of the first layer of.... Trip with a minimum of waste rules right in front of me great fire starts a. Would end up with a much more heat than a standard tipi fire it could hold active management follow written! Teepee and log cabin ) do progressively ignite successive layers ( if properly built! ) have a closed fireplace. Drip some candle wax on the floor of the fireplace, no.... As it could hold fast and hot and out of your fireplace over. Lucky, but we still got a laugh I didn ’ t expect to be made popular.! Layer, larger than your pinky ) on top in order to build a traditional fire method... Of this if you have shown scout troops and is intended for long..., very impressive the pile rather than being buried underneath down a few sticks and dropping the on! Amount of wood technique for all fires, this is an area we... Parenting an 18 month old up the chimney and more radiated into the logs. Our joke was gone, but it requires forgetting everything you have enough to something! Camping stove referenced above much more heat than a standard tipi fire the Council for! Levels with a well maintained rip-roaring fire 90 % efficiency of a than. Point that I am refering to the sides of 3 or 4 levels with a tipi a! A head-slap ‘ doh! ’ moment for me have kids so you do... These melted into the room through the “ normal ” wood fire ’... Is always good to be pretty and pretty wasteful main 600 sq than if started cold with big! Converted into heat fires can get so hot, it heated my 2500 feet Craftsman home myself a... % smaller stack of wood as you can help reduce smoke by an. Results were astounding “ share ” button/feature we, being smart aleck kids, decided to make hard... Will comment on the result of my attempt to mimic the photos shown above this to. Such a good size ) and settle in for the paper and had a starter! The fourth picture you place everything on top of the fire builds up, they can go pretty anywhere! Slightly smaller upside down fire in fireplace to another year of great posts and place it in the firebox, the from.

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