Outdoors your tinder tends to burn fast and hot and leave little in the way of embers to drop down into the larger wood. The counselor snickered and laughed as well telling us that the fire wouldn’t last and when it burned out, we would have to rebuild the fire again, the right way. Stops birds coming in for tea! it really created a beautiful bed of coals that usually took hours to attain with the tipi method. For some people, stacking and lighting a fire … The little tiny teepee was gone, but we still got a laugh. They burn like half a box of matches for quite awhile. This is great! i can finally throw my poker in the garbage! No waste at all as every fiber is converted into heat. (We were all Bronx and upper Manhattan kids). The idea behind this approach is that embers will drop onto the logs below, allowing the fire to burn a bit longer. Now where can I learn about the best child-raising habits . It breeds trust. In my testing an upside down fire built as I have described should burn for well over an hour and result in a large layer of coals all ready to cook your meal. How to start a Upside Down Fire in an Outdoor Fire Pit YouTube Historical fire pits were sometimes constructed in the floor, within caves, or at the middle of a hut or home. The Traditional Method of lighting a fire has been used since the dawn of wood burners but due to technologies advancing the little black box has evolved. 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. GOt to be tried though I think! By create a hotter environment the larger logs will cook hotter and burn hotter than if started cold with a starter kindling underneath. 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. Well done sir, looking forward to another year of great posts. What's the difference between them? We layered the big pieces of wood in a criss cross fashion as kind of a platform and then on the very top, we built a tiny little teepee fire. The setup process … As a kid in Summer camp, my friend Larry and I stumbled on a similar method. (obviously, dry wood is best with any technique…). Love this and ensures making fires is more of a pleasure than chore babysitting the initial flames. Upside down fires also produce more heat than traditional fire-starting methods while greatly reducing the amount of smoke caused by the fire, which can be one of the more frustrating … This makes a super, long-lasting, self-feeding fire. My favorite sequence from bottom to top is large logs (unsplit), split logs, sapling wood, cedar shingle wood, then paper and fire-starting squares. It’s the best fire I’ve ever made and will now be the only fire I ever make. The chimney is about 30′ tall and I figured the stack pipe used was too small therefore I installed gas logs designed to be used in ventless fireplaces. 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. The platform part was very similar to yours. I wonder if this will work in a fireplace in my basement that smoked my house up when I last tried to burn wood. But it’s best to separate them slightly as when they’re packed together (as they are when you buy them) they really struggle to get going. Its cold, windy and snowing like crazy here on Long Island and here I am in front of my upside down fire drinking an ice cold corona eating chips and salsa with my kids! Over many years of camping I have built hundreds of fires. I will keep you all posted once I start working on it. Same concept I suppose? Thanks for the info on the fire-I appreciate it! Starting The Upside Down Fire To light an upside down fire, you would ignite the fuel that you placed on top – the stuff that is easiest to burn. These logs are lit as the flame consumes the fuel wood and transfers heat down to this base layer. 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 it’s not just the length of the fire that improves. I’ve been using a similar method to light and maintain a long, steady burn on my BBQ smoker for 3 years, yet never thought of trying it in the fireplace. These melted into the first layer of sticks and helped get the thing hot enough to work beautifully. There are some great suggestions from readers in the comments below, which also address modifications for survival use and outdoors, plus tipi-style fires for cooking: “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 stages.” (also see JBB’s points). 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. Can this method be scaled-down to a smaller stove area? My name is Chris and I created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. And since you can use them upside down or right side up, they can go pretty much wherever you’d like. I love tips like this to get away from the hecticness of the busy day and ground me. Anyways Tim, i found this lecture interesting and likely up your alley. 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 had numerous problems lighting our stove in the past, I’m proud to say that this method worked extremely well for me. It works great in fireplaces, wood stoves and even campfires. p.s. Fred. How does one build an "Upside-Down" fire? Bricks upside down in Fireplace. A beautiful, slow burn to the bottom logs and created incredible heat. Each of your books is a significant improvement from the previous. 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. This is a might bit old, but soak those chips of cardboard in some melted wax. She passed on the suggestion in December and I embedded the video she forwarded. If there’s a particular way you like to build a fire, by all means do it. It is then lit off from the top and bums downward. Here is a step by step guide for building your own upside down fire. It worked GREAT!!! The embers this fire produces are unlike anything I’ve ever seen: The final construction after three minutes of assembly. I converted mine to wood-burning long ago, and will never go back! Perfect for indoor decorations, outdoor lamp posts, patio lights or really any light fixture of your choosing, these bulbs give that fireplace feel without the hassle of any smoke or fire hazard. To Build an Upside Down Fire: Place a layer of your largest logs at the bottom, tight against each other with no space … Awesome info as always Tim! I am burning red oak and I built the fire right on the floor of the fireplace, no grate. This alludes to one potential drawback: you must start with a substantial amount of wood. Try it both ways, grated and grate-less. Who would have ever thought we’d be getting THIS kind of great advice from Tim. It all burns down to nothing. For added pop, drip some candle wax on the cones before you use them. From the high tea estates of South India where it gets cold at night…. It’s been 1 hour and 10 minutes of continuous burn and I haven’t done anything but light the match. I learned something similar to this from a Scotsman in New Zealand, but this is a bit different. The best light-off material for the topmost layer is cedar shavings, but a bit of newspaper will do. Adam, Leo Babauta on Zen Habits, Antifragility, Contentment, and Unschooling (#488). ), Basically you put 2 logs at the bottom level. 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. Light the middle and watch it go up. We joked with, Sven, the camp counselor that we had come up with a better way to build a fire and he told us it was a fluke and that we should stick to the tried and true method in the future. built in a layered fashion starting with tinder at the top and increasing in size all the way to large logs at its base The one question I have lingering is what if you don’t have an accelerant, like the fire starting sticks or oils. An upsidedown fire generates lots of coals. We got some great, hassle-free results from this that we wanted to share with you. 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. Smoke is minimized in this formation because there’s nothing on top of the flames; that is to say, nothing is undergoing the smoky partial combustion inherent in a regular fire. Each layer should be laid down crosswise (perpendicular) on top of the layer below, similar to the method used when building a log cabin. (Prove this for yourself: Take a stick of incense or cigarette, and hold a lighter up to the smoke. But I think our hugely irregularly shaped logpile might be a challenge, to creating any kind of layers… as well as a tiny little grate. The irony is, we have a small-ish wood stove at the cabin and my husband has been reluctant to try this method. haha! 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. Thanks for another interesting article, Tim. Wow – definitely going to give this a try! save. It’s was great to see that side of you. It burnt for 5 hours and the only time I had a problem was when I added wood when I did not have to. I too fancy myself a skilled fire maker, which came in handy for some great omelets cooked over an open fire a few weeks ago after camp stove failure. Standard fire-building lore would have you believe a great fire starts with a tipi of wood and pile of tinder under it. I’d heard about the upside-down fire, but the method you describe is a pure, Platonic form I hadn’t heard described before. I didn’t have any split logs, just whole logs & pine cones. This is similar to your upside down fire except has the spaces in between. This lasts for a euphoric five minutes. What you’ve covered is essentially a small exhibit of why forest fires can get so hot and out of control. Connect two rooms, line an entire wall, create a shared indoor / outdoor space. Most of the time I am unwilling to let the fire go completely out in my airtight so I am still going to need to avoid pine and wet wood when adding fuel. My favorite thing about this method is that it makes great coals for cooking. As an upside down fire burns it creates a large supply of coals from the logs integrated into the base of the design. Packed as much wood in as it could hold. I started the cube at 15.30, closed the door and… it just burned all alone till evening! I got about 5 hours out of a 50% smaller stack of wood than this in our large woodstove. But I will say that it does not last all night long. You are going to use large fuel wood for this layer, larger than your thumb. Is there another way to build this fire without the starter logs? Still less maintenance, but some maintenance will be necessary for any fire that you need to last all day, right? I have no need to poke and prod for hours! Awesome, awesome, awesome is all i can say! Start off by stacking your large fuel logs on the bottom of the fire grate. I tried this in my fireplace yesterday. Good stuff, thanks again to Tim for putting it in the mainstream! 67% Upvoted. That’s how we’re gonna However with the right, especially of a newer designs, a closed wood stove would be even more efficient and environmentally friendly I believe(for example jotul.com). This brightly burning fire makes it less likely that the fireplace will smoke as it heats the chimney without the interference of loads of wood resting on top of it. Then you add larger pieces of wood on top of the kindling followed by even larger pieces of wood. Lay this wood in the opposite direction to the logs below it and allow space between each piece for air to flow. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross-ventilation, and there … I will remember it for when I have a house with a fireplace. Take everything you have learned about fire making and well...turn it upside down. As the fire burns each layer that you built should ignite the next one down all the way to your base layer of logs. 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. Some of the best times in my life were around great fires. Does it get any more enjoyable? Remove a section from a newspaper and twist each page and place it in the middle of the #. Stick to the same method of laying each layer down crosswise across the layer below it to allow proper air flow. Share this post . I started with 2 decent sized large pieces of wood then 3 split smaller sized and toped it off with some broken (as flat as I could find) pieces. The upside down fire also helps reduce smoky fireplace problems by warming the flue. Which brings me to my question. Follow these simple tips to light a fire in a woodstove, fireplace, furnace or fire pit, and you can be sure of success every time. It’s one of those ‘journey is more important than the destination’ things. It did start slow, so I added a clementine box and extra kindling to get it started. But you may want to keep a few ashes around to help build a fire in your fireplace. It is just too darn cold up there. (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.). But if you’re in it for a short duration fire, this works great! Set it up, go get your food ready and then come back to a nice bed of cooking coals! I was also amazed at how well this method works when I first tried it, hopefully it keeps you and your family warm all winter! LOL, and you’ll go the distance with a minimum of waste. The goal is to create embers that then fall to the layer below, which is why there cannot by any spaces between logs. Wow, amazing. Didn’t expect to be reading about fire-starting in the reader this morning . Mrs. Homegrown. Simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. Follow the written instructions and refer to the pictures if you run into any trouble. At first, I thought you were getting desperate for blog material. 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. Similar to a hi-rise apartment. I’ll give it a try this afternoon. I love her to death but shes got me chasing her everywhere! At the end of this article you will know how to build an upside down fire on your own! Question: In the video, the fire builder guy says don’t use a grate, build the fire on the floor of the fp. Mother Earth News says Russian Fireplaces are the best performers thanks to 2 characteristics: “They contain enough masonry to provide a massive heat sink, and the interior flue path of each unit is arranged in a serpentine pattern so that hot waste gas has plenty of time to transfer its thermal energy into the walls of the stove.”. Okay,soo,..this may be a stupid question,but idc,.how do I send this article to someone? Best chimney blocking device on the market. The wood was even slightly damp! Feel free to build 1-3 layers of this sized wood if you have enough and if you have organized your wood build each layer upwards out of slightly smaller thickness pieces. You need a critical mass of fire to make this work. Thanks Ron, let me know how the lesson goes! It is a great tool to add to any fire building arsenal and I think you will be impressed with the results. 2) Put a second layer of smaller logs on top of the largest, again ensuring there are no spaces between them. I learned about this method recently in another blog. But it would be nice to have as a pdf. I had a buddy show me a variation of the upside down fire. The largest, longest pieces of wood should be placed on the floor of the fireplace to form a base for the fire. These very small wood pieces are typically 1/4″ x 6″ lengths stacked vertically at the base of the teepee (chipped with a hatchet, broken further with an 8oz claw hammer). Personally, I use simplicity for making money and investing. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. ft room (rather than use my gas furnace) and I have yet to find a method that works reliably all the time without a lot of fussing. 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. Would it work just as well with a nice big pile of tinder on top. The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross-ventilation, and there is little warmth wasted. WOW-neat info. Another advantage to this setup is that if your kindling goes out, you are resetting on top of the pile rather than beneath. Glad I could make a small contribution. But it seems to me that having put the presentation together for us it shouldn’t be to hard to save it as a pdf. That every fiber is converted into heat might be deceptive with upside down fires I think, I agree that this type of fire would make it burn more of it, but that this ash might as well be carried of and up with the hot air. Efficiency, what would be nicer would a bulletproof method for starting a top-down fire in a 70-80% efficient (at turning wood into room heat) woodstove as opposed to a wasteful, 5-10% efficient open fireplace! NOW THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE BROCHURE. One of the highlights of this was testing out an alternative fire building method in our back patio firepit. Have the logs all touching each other so there are no gaps between them and it is best if the tops of them are relatively level with each other so you will have a nice sturdy base to build the rest of your fire upon. So many great memories formed around fires large and small. Looks like it makes sense. Obviously, they’re waterproof as well. I have a buckstove that, when run for several hours, will elevate the temperature of my entire house (it has a cold outside air intake close to the firebox). I over thought it, of course, stressed about it, of course but it worked and actually gave me more manly-man satisfaction than the usuall hours of fire tending and stoking. https://www.thebugoutbagguide.com/upside-down-fire/. 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. Add 3-5 layers of this if you have enough to do so. Let a bit of the colder, ground level air sneak in around the bottom of the fireplace, and then light your fire… The air at the top of the chimney outside that is causeing that downdraft is going to be warmer than the air at window level… and the heat from the fire will have no trouble heading up the chimney like it is supposed to. Thank you again! 1) The upside-down fire will take longer to produce large flames, and it might not look like much for about 20 minutes. Have you thought about making these posts/articles available as a pdf download. This is my first winter with a fireplace, after some early failures to get the logs ignited with newspaper below the fireplace grill I ran across this method. Curious to see if “no ashes” holds. When you read about all the benefits of it it really sounds too good to be true but this one is easy to test. I’m a convert! Does anyone know how well this works without the fire starter squares? Apparently this new method has been around for a long time, it’s just that it needs to be made popular again. Thanks! No smoke or minimal smoke – this is related to the thermodynamics of the flue air being heated faster, based on explanations I’ve read. Linear fireplaces allow you to enjoy the ambiance and comfort of a fireplace without the design limitations of a traditional fireplace. I had to try it again, this time with an audience. As a grown up, my wife and I went on a camping trip with a big group of friends. 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. This is SUCH a good piece of interesting information,that I’d loove to share it! The most common mistake in building up the top-burn fire is not graduating to fine enough kindling. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. Here’s the problem: sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. The genius of an upside down fire is that it frees you from this chore! If there’s a particular way you like to build a fire, by all means do it. Lay these logs side by side and as close together as you can get them. This thread is archived . You’ll never have the paper burn out while leaving the wood unkindled again, and makes the fire-starters a lot more optional. It’s great to pass on useful stuff, but at least try to give your sources. I put some wood pieces well stacked in, with smaller ones (branches) on top. Being as we live in Mexico, and the local kindling is called ‘diesel,’ it took a few tries to get this to work. Pingback: How to Build an Upside-Down Fire | A Better Man Bloomed? 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. I followed directions line by line, in my home fireplace (which is a good size) and the results were astounding. There is a time and a place for fires. Certainly when we build fires we want to try to be as environmentally sound as possible since timber is not the most efficient heat source. we'll let check this out. Especially for an overnighter. So, now you know how you build your own upside down fire. I have a very finicky fireplace in my house, and I could not get the smoke to go UP the chimney for 2 years. No paper at all. Build an Upside Down Fire. Maybe I was just lucky, but for evening programs held after dark, we always used a Council Fire for lighting. Simple is so much better in everything. the thermostat on the 2nd level will elevate 2-3 degrees with a well maintained rip-roaring fire. How to build a fire in your fireplace without smoking yourself out of your house. Even though it took a few attempts, the good news is I was able to accomplish it while simultaneously achieving my goals of becoming conversationally fluent in Urdu in under 30 minutes while achieving a perfect 1,000-meter head shot with a .50 caliber sniper rifle from the back of a rutting cape buffalo! The fire from the top warms the air in the flue and creates a more efficient current of air for cross … I have used this method twice now. The largest, longest pieces of wood should be placed on the floor of the fireplace to … It is very disappointing. Thanks Tim, good stuff! Working on my ‘muse’ right now. Light the fire from the top, and enjoy fuss-free flames all night. 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. Pingback: How to Build the Best Fire | Wild Rye, Pingback: upside down fire | Admit One / mental gymnasium. Tim-you rock. (Of course he didn’t show me until I admitted defeat and was unable to get the teepee version going. Swiss research has shown that there is a better combustion of the firewood if the fire is ignited from top to bottom. When the group got back, much to our chagrin, the fire was burning nicely and our joke was gone. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. April 3, 2013. It’s less than you’d use over 1/3 the total burn time with the tipi method, but it makes it largely impractical for outdoor survival purposes. Smaller logs and twigs are placed on top as well as a few thick lengths of bamboo in the middle – these explode loudly when they get hot enough. You are going to repeat the process used in step 3 here but using smaller fuel wood, preferably smaller than your thumb in thickness. 2 comments. It was my job to tend that thing. But, Tim, you used a grate, right? Ambergreen45. ... this is a blog posting about the Upside-Down Fire. But you may want to keep a few ashes around to help build a fire in your fireplace. OK, I admit it. It would be nice to show off this fire building technique to “seasoned veterans” and it be a spectacular success. As a boy scouts, I sometime made large fire making a small ‘tipi’ on top of a large “upside-down’ fire… then there is even no need for fire-starter other then some newspapers. I am going to build the upside-down fire the next time I go camping. No smoke or minimal smoke – this is related to the thermodynamics of the flue air being heated faster, based on explanations I’ve read. Perfect illustration of counter intuitiveness and challenging commonly held beliefs. Now, if you want to cook on this fire, don’t crosshatch the logs the way it is shown in the picture – lay the logs all parallel to each other but still tight together. I have noticed that some bricks are laid upside down without mortar inside … It burned for about 15 minutes and then went out. 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