How crazy is it that it has taken this stubborn mule decades to learn the best way to start a fire?
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.
The upside down fire is totally the way to go.
What I used to do:
2 pieces of crumpled newspaper on the bottom, then a bunch of kindling on top, then 2-3 pieces of firewood on top of that. Light newspaper.
What I do now:
3-4 pieces of firewood on the bottom, then only 1 piece of crumpled newspaper, then just a small bunch of kindling on top of that. Light newspaper.
Is there a difference?
- Flames ignite the kindling fast.
- The immediate fire creates a faster draw (air flow) up the chimney.
- The stove pipe heats up quicker.
- More air flow, fans the fire, igniting the wood faster, quicker.
- Coals from ignited kindling drop down and ignite the logs.
- All this action produces a fire faster and with MILES less smoke.
The upside down fire means way less smoke against the glass. I haven’t needed to clean the window in my sauna stove in a long time. Because the firebox heats quicker, with a kick ass stove like the Kuuma, gasification happens quicker. This means a faster fire, a hotter fire, and that much less wood needed because all the smoke is turning to gas that much quicker.
Sauna prep time is reduced 18%.
The upside down fire. Them are good.