The seasons are changing and what follows are cooler nights, less sunshine and an earlier night but it also means more time to use those fire pits and have great FAMILY Time. Great Pit Fires don’t just happen, they take time. The kids all think it is so easy, they invite a bunch of friends over and the fire is lit and going with snacks all over, but it takes a bit of care to get a long-sustaining fire that burns bright! One of the first things you do to light the fire is use Kindling and Tinder of some sort, and the beginning of the fire sets the stage for your FIRE that evening. I like logs that will burn for a while, so when we start a fire we know our Kindling can not be short lived it has to have some sustenance to it in order to light that fatter log, often easier said than done. The fire starting can be a challenge as well and that is why a good TINDER comes in handy. Let’s take a look.
Tinder is: the item that comes before the kindling takes fire. You need to make sure that you have some form of kindling wood ready to light the larger logs, but the Tinder will be what will allow you to get a fast, equal burning flame that will help the kindling catch fire and thereby the kindling will light the larger logs! Tinder will only take a Spark to ignite, it’s that quick and that easy.
Kindling wood is the small wood that makes the actual logs catch on fire.
I spoke with Matt Skillman, Vice President of Ohio Flame, and he and I discussed, lighting a Fire Pit fire, here is what I learned from the Expert:
” To get the fire started, I use crumpled pieces of paper and set up kindling in a teepee formation. After the kindling catches, I begin to add progressively larger logs. The key is to use dried kindling and logs to be sure that the fire catches.” ~Matt Skillman
Now if that does not work for you, fear not, I have a bunch of other methods that may, see below, and if you are looking for a great fire pit, make sure to check out OHIO FLAME!
KINDLING SPARKS TO START
Kindling wood is the basis of ALL good fires and it will help you light the bigger logs you are using. While I realize there are things called Duraflame logs, the traditional PIT Fires are not using Duraflame logs as they are cost prohibitive and not really what you are going for when throwing a patio party with a pit! You need to manufacture a strong fire and this is done by the basis of kindling that you lay in the structure.
HOW TO REALLY LIGHT YOUR FIRE – What makes good material for Tinder?
If you have a dryer, you have got the best fire-starter in the world. Simply take your lint from the lint catcher, make sure to let it dry out completely, and then store it in plastic baggies. When you need to Tinder a fire, throw some of this on the kindling and you will not believe how FLAMMABLE this stuff is and how much it can give your lighting attempts a boost!
Cotton balls and Vaseline. Yes, Glopulate(my word, glopping cotton balls with vaseline=glopuate) cotton balls with Vaseline. This will burn well, long, and be hot!( I have seen a few articles written on this as well advising storage in a canister of sorts, rubbermaid snap containers will work well)
Have you got any potato chips on you? If you do you can light your fire easily! Light one of these and watch it burn, it is amazing.
If you live by Dry Moss this is a great way to start the Kindling wood aflame.
If you see a patch of Pine Cones, pick a few, let them dry, and you will have a great Tinder. Light with a match and listen to it whistle!
If you have someone who has a rather OLD BEARD, you can use the Beard cuttings to start a great kindling fire tinder as well.
If you have match heads, cotton balls and a candle, I have a great way for you to Spark up a fire. Simply take the cotton balls and jam 5-7 match heads in them, dip that into warm candle wax to seal it off. This is like a ball of fire at this point. The ONE great advantage to these is that even if they get wet, they will still work because they are seal in wax! (think canoeing trip, or white water rafting to destination or just plain old rain)
Do you live by pine trees? You have a great source of TINDER here. DRY Pine needles have an incredible Tinding ability. Gather them up but make sure they are dry, not fresh or it won’t do you much good.
Have you seen a bunch of Grapevine twigs nearby? Grab the dry ones, these will make excellent Kindling, though they will dissipate rapidly.
Did you know that cattails can be used for something beside decorating counter vases? You can use the cattail pith to start a fire? Finally a use for those things I used to think of as just weeds and now as I think back, my mom used to cut these and decorate with them. I remember a patch she would take us to in order to collect them in Chicago:)
If you would like to make your own egg carton fire starters, here is a great article I read and HOW easy it is. We have bought these at a local candle store in burlap sacks, so as I was googling for their proper name this HOW TO article came up and I think it is really FRUGAL!
****Store your tinder in a dry place, no moisture should penetrate this. It is a good idea to use a Freezer Grade Ziploc rather than a normal ziploc as it is thicker and will not allow for air/moisture to pass through, hence the tinder will not be impaired for usage:)
Now that you know how to get a good flame, let’s take a look at what items make good kindling wood!