It was still burning in the morning and cleanup was really easy. 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. Share this post . I’ve just tried this method in our new firebox (much to my husbands dismay ). Wow, amazing. You take four smaller pieces of wood which you stack with some space in the middle. That’s great, Tim… but as Mr. I then linked to the 5 skills you need to know when bugging out. It works great in my cast-iron chimenea. Really can’t wait to use this method the next time I want to impress in the wild! It would be nice to show off this fire building technique to “seasoned veterans” and it be a spectacular success. 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 … Clear your firebox of all leftover ash and place your biggest logs, as close together as possible, on the bottom. This is one cool way to heat up the house and save on propane. Hardly a new Goncept. Amazing how violently some people defend their conventions. I am burning red oak and I built the fire right on the floor of the fireplace, no grate. When you’re done you probably create a total of 3 or 4 levels with a lot of twisted newspaper in the middle. Instead of building a standard teepee or log cabin we decided to try building what is called an “upside down fire”. Is there another way to build this fire without the starter logs? Okay,soo,..this may be a stupid question,but idc,.how do I send this article to someone? Now, Tim, your next topic: “Quickest Route to Becoming an Expert Skiier” and bring me along. Seriously, though, thanks for posting this – very useful. Thanks Tim, good stuff! It works but I’ve found out a couple of things while experimenting (I’m an engineer and pyromaniac I can’t help it). Northern Switzerland suffers from inversion layers in the winter and the “normal” wood fire don’t help the smog situation.”, This is awesome info. The Upside Down Fire. Enjoyed the book and your blog. I have just built this fire and it works superbly. April 21, 2016. If you would like to share the article you can do 2 things: Connect two rooms, line an entire wall, create a shared indoor / outdoor space. 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. This entry was posted in Expert Tips , Fireplace … There is a time and a place for fires. NB: The size of our fire place is literally no bigger than 2ft x 2ft x 1.5ft(tall) so I had to downside the setup. I’ve used the home-made camping stove referenced above. 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. The first time, I was skeptical to the point that I gave up after the first died out. If you don’t have this slight elevation for the paper to catch, you will have trouble starting the fire and get frustrated. thank you tim! Watch the short video below for details on how to do this. … To make a successful upside-down fire, you’ll need firewood in several different sizes. 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. I’m a convert! Please let us know in the Comments Section below what you thought about this fire building method or if you have any tips or tricks to getting it to work better! Greenhorns build campfires by laying down a few logs, laying down a few sticks and dropping the tinder on top. (An agricultural experiment station did that research. everything burns so much better. A great deal of tending is required once the finer pieces ignite. The newspaper is lit, and the fire slowly burns down to the large logs below. We recently learned what we’ve concluded is the absolute best way to build a fire in a wood-burning stove. 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 … Light the middle and watch it go up. Glad to hear it worked for you! Would we just have to wait until it’s completely out and then rebuild and light the whole thing again? Required fields are marked *. Glad I could make a small contribution. I now make all my fires this way. We lit the tiny little teepee fire, snickering in anticipation for the reaction following the return of the group. I won’t get 6-7 hours, but my fireplace is small compared to your examples. Heating up the flew with burning paper does prevent the smoke from back-drafting. There’s not much room in the firebox for a large stack of wood as you have shown. 2) Put a second layer of smaller logs on top of the largest, again ensuring there are no spaces between them. hide. Curious to see if “no ashes” holds. Perfect illustration of how (Oscar Wilde) in Chapter 2 of my bible (The 4HWW) says ‘everything that is popular is wrong’. This makes the upside down fire especially good for wood stoves. Simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. 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. Because you light the fire at the top of the firebox, the kindling warms the flue and gets the chimney pulling air upwards. HA! 1) Put the largest logs at the bottom, ensuring there is no space at all between them. Kindling underneath all the trees just burns quick and does nothing much to older trees. And it’s not just the length of the fire that improves. I was taught to crumple some newspaper, cover it with kindling, then make a teepee out of logs over the kindling. In my opinion, the upside down fire would not do well in the outdoors, as it is too reliant on the enclosed element free nature of a fire place. I very much liked your article on the upside down fire. You need a critical mass of fire to make this work. 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. ), Basically you put 2 logs at the bottom level. Linear fireplaces allow you to enjoy the ambiance and comfort of a fireplace without the design limitations of a traditional fireplace. Would it work just as well with a nice big pile of tinder on top. This entry was posted in Expert Tips , Fireplace Info and tagged Expert Tips , Firewood , Fuel Types , Wood Stoves . Using the Upside Down method, you’ll build your fire base in a log-cabin fashion. Stil, more than enough time for a romantic evening without interruptions. Have been doing this on a regular basis since i first read the post. Build an Upside Down Fire. Stops birds coming in for tea! These were mostly of the teepee and log cabin variety, with some lean-to fires mixed in as the situation required. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. I can make a raging furnace like the world has never seen, a crackling and screaming banshee of life-giving heat that springs to life. I live in Georgia (USA), where wood is by far the cheapest and most abundant heating fuel. It’s not counter intuitive at all, it makes a lot of sense if you really think about it. Here are some suggestions for kindling that have worked well for me in the past: Shelter your match and tinder from any wind (If you are lighting your fire with an EverStryke Match, you don’t need to worry about this) and get that fire started. 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. Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. From here, any veteran Boy Scout should know that you transition to a “log cabin” structure on top of the coals from the tipi. What do you think? I feel like a “Prodigy”, get it – Firestarter! The wood was even slightly damp! 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. 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. 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. Several fire-building methods exist, and all of them have their merits. Great one Timmo! Follow the written instructions and refer to the pictures if you run into any trouble. The setup process … Enjoy London, I sure did enjoy their pubs. Normally I just select everything, paste it to a document and edit out the dross. I find that when I get back to mother nature like, a fire, or by water, or out in the woods, under the stars, I become more, In a day an age when most people are telling themselves that they do, not have enough time to work-out, let alone come up with million $$$. Okay, so I just experimented with this… finally… in Steamboat, CO. A top-down burn, sometimes called an upside-down fire, allows for a cleaner burn, and makes the best use of the fireplace, producing less smoke in the process. This apparently did not affect the results. So I let them have their teepee fire. I’m saddened by the predominance of gas log fireplaces in Atlanta. My first try, yasterday, was a great success: I have a closed type fireplace (with a glass door). 67% Upvoted. The top down fire or self feeding fire is a fire building technique that's much different than building a conventional fire. The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. Wood shavings can substitute for the paper in this fire lay. I have to admit, footnote 14 on page 45 is my favorite part of 4-Hour Chef. The tinder burns in a flash and the sticks never catch fire. It’s a cleaner burn with far less smoke and better combustion, gives off more heat, needs less tending and uses the embodied energy in wood more efficiently than the tipi-esque fire … haha! Building an upside down fire, whether you’re camping or using the fire in your home fireplace, will change how you view starting fires. That is genius and exactly what I expect from you and this site. Anyway, I scored some brownie points with this upside fire technique, thanks! Hey, we were city kids. it really created a beautiful bed of coals that usually took hours to attain with the tipi method. I’ll have to give it a try. 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. In a top-down fire, the larger logs are placed on the bottom, with progressively smaller logs, kindling and then newspaper added on top. 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. Thank you for the sound advice. (obviously, dry wood is best with any technique…). This is amazing. All the flue does is provide a tube through which air is drawn upwards. 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. Being as we live in Mexico, and the local kindling is called ‘diesel,’ it took a few tries to get this to work. 1) The upside-down fire will take longer to produce large flames, and it might not look like much for about 20 minutes. Simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. You are going to use large fuel wood for this layer, larger than your thumb. We, being smart aleck kids, decided to make a joke out of it. Light the fire from the top, and enjoy fuss-free flames all night. 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. 2 comments. The “upside down” fire is intended for a long burn. Hold the Chimella by the handle, point it up your open chimney with your thumb over the open/close button. April 3, 2013. Physics. I think I will write a post on my blog (in italian language) about this, of course whith a linkback to this one. Earlier, before leaving for the trip, Larry and I we were caught jumping off the roofs of the camp cabins after being told not to. I used to use the teepee method, or some half-assed rendition of the teepee method, and I often had trouble with such fires. 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. The cotton ball swiped in the Vasoline jar is the best fire starter, ever. There you place a fire-starter (the red ring in the second picture). LOL, and you’ll go the distance with a minimum of waste. 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 love her to death but shes got me chasing her everywhere! This causes heat to rise quickly and to warm the flue. This is how I make a campfire fire now. This is great! . I’m amazed it cuts down on smoke, whilst still being more energy efficient, which is key. Remember, this layer has to be large enough to generate enough coals and heat to ignite the logs below it. I learned something similar to this from a Scotsman in New Zealand, but this is a bit different. I will have to use this technique and see if I can get the same results. No, the same method works great for a survival situation — just scaled down. 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. Just curious. I needed a fire-building method that worked every time with all types of wood, whether dried like an octogenarian in Palm Springs, or bordering on waterlogged, like most of the wood we had at home, which had been rained on due to a punctured tarp. 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 ? An upsidedown fire generates lots of coals. And since I live in MN, I can put it to good use. It can be done, every time, but it requires forgetting everything you’ve learned about starting fires…. Thanks Ron, let me know how the lesson goes! What you’ve covered is essentially a small exhibit of why forest fires can get so hot and out of control. Evidence of ancient, man-made fires is present on all five inhabited continents. Combine this with the supposed 90% efficiency of a “Russian Fireplace” and you might have a killer combination. 1. I have the same gripe that everyone else has about the teepee fire–you are tending it constantly after a great 20 minute burn. I have no problem with learning how to build an efficient, long-lasting, low-maintenance fire! I put the bottom logs perpendicular to the opening right on the floor of the fireplace, it worked very well, no burning logs rolling out and I ended up with a bed of coals that I could toss anything on and it would burn. This will make a sideways ‘V’ shape which is what you place your pots on – big pots/fry pans on the wide side and small pots on the narrow side. 18min worth watching all the way through. I have — as most boys and men do — fancied myself quite a fire-maker. A fireplace fire operates differently than your typical campfire, so it makes sense that building one should require a few tweaks to your standard procedure. I have been looking into publishing an Ebook that encompasses many of the subjects I have written on including the survival skills you mention. Another advantage to this setup is that if your kindling goes out, you are resetting on top of the pile rather than beneath. be — cool. 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. It looks like that you want to see and then this. Thanks for another interesting article, Tim. Didn’t expect to be reading about fire-starting in the reader this morning . 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. When we went to cut our tree at Christmas, the local forestry department in Zürich was giving out a brochure which described exactly this. Try the top down fire building technique in your stove, fireplace or next campfire. It was my job to tend that thing. The upside-down fire produces and projects much more heat than a standard tipi fire. 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. It burned for about 15 minutes and then went out. 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! Along with good wood, you can help reduce smoke by using an upside down fire-building technique. Stack smaller logs on top. I think I may try this on my next date. No backdraft smoke into the house. This year’s one is on Sunday if anyone wants to come…. 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. The real trick: crack open a window. I learned about this method recently in another blog. She was looking for the best method of starting fires for her mountain-side cabin, and the final result was as odd as it is effective. Second picture: In NARROW AND HIGH fire-places place the wood upstanding with the cut (open) side to the top. Add 3-5 layers of this if you have enough to do so. Now where can I learn about the best child-raising habits . 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. fire" because, starting with the biggest logs on the bottom. These melted into the first layer of sticks and helped get the thing hot enough to work beautifully. Upside Down or Top Down Method of Lighting a Fire. 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 aspects of fireplaces. Every still laughed at and joked at how the fire looked like a burning tenement. Place your paper on top, and light (a sprinkle of extra kindling on top is a good idea). 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