1. The top down fire or self feeding fire is a fire building technique that's much different than building a conventional fire. I’m saddened by the predominance of gas log fireplaces in Atlanta. 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. It works with peat blocks as the bottom layer if you don’t have big logs. The best light-off material for the topmost layer is cedar shavings, but a bit of newspaper will do. I had to add small pieces of wood on top in order to build up enough embers. It freaking works better than described. Great post Tim! Great tutorial! Does anyone know how well this works without the fire starter squares? But I will say that it does not last all night long. These fire building methods have served me well and I have enjoyed many a meal and evening sitting around their warm glow. This entry was posted in Expert Tips , Fireplace … For outdoor fires where you may not have ideal wood I’ve always found that a tipi inside a log cabin works best. While my wood stove is large enough to keep a fire going most of the night, it does nearly go out by time to get up in the early morning, leaving only coals and a chilly house. Stops birds coming in for tea! 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. ... this is a blog posting about the Upside-Down Fire. Light the middle and watch it go up. Each layer should be laid down crosswise (perpendicular) on top of the layer below, similar to the method used when building a log cabin. Good stuff, thanks again to Tim for putting it in the mainstream! 1. The upside down fire is totally the way to go. Does this work as effectively for campfires? Don’t let fire tending turn into another full-time job. 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. https://feels-like-heaven.com/right-way-make-fire-upside-down-fire They required babying, rebuilding, etc., and they burned fast. because it is not mentioned here (or i read it over) is on the second page, the first line of pictures. You can see it on the first page, it’s the four pictures at the lower line. 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. In the german brochure (http://tr.im/ebb9) on the first page is mentioned the “Anfeuer-Modul” what means “Fire-Starting-Module”. 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. Woodstoves can be a very green and economical way to heat, whereas fireplaces tend to be pretty and pretty wasteful. One reason they want to promote this method is that far fewer pollutants and fine particles (PM10) are given off. For added pop, drip some candle wax on the cones before you use them. As for being new to the prepper lifestyle, it is never too late to learn to be prepared so welcome! Bricks upside down in Fireplace. I now make all my fires this way. Worked like a charm the first try! Ambergreen45. 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. We recently learned what we’ve concluded is the absolute best way to build a fire in a wood-burning stove. The goal is to create embers that then fall to the layer below, which is why there cannot by any spaces between logs. No ashes – this amazed me. This entry was posted in Expert Tips , Fireplace Info and tagged Expert Tips , Firewood , Fuel Types , Wood Stoves . Love this idea for heating in a wood stove, and can see why/how people who heat with wood would love this method for building a fire for overnight heat. Each of your books is a significant improvement from the previous. Sounds like someone’s been reading the website of Mother Earth News: The Original Guide to Living Wisely. An upsidedown fire generates lots of coals. I wonder how this would work in a wood stove, where you want it to keep burning past the 8 hours. By the time you get to the top layer the wood should be of the smallest thickness you have, no bigger than a twig. Simple is so much better in everything. There were no spaces between logs at the bottom, then every other layer had an empty box. 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. Because you light the fire at the top of the firebox, the kindling warms the flue and gets the chimney pulling air upwards. It worked GREAT!!! I learned something similar to this from a Scotsman in New Zealand, but this is a bit different. It looks like that you want to see and then this. The cotton ball swiped in the Vasoline jar is the best fire starter, ever. Adding the smaller wood criss-crossed as the fire builds up, eventually adding your kindling and tinder to the top of the fire. everything burns so much better. There’s not much room in the firebox for a large stack of wood as you have shown. 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). If you would like to share the article you can do 2 things: Perfect illustration of how (Oscar Wilde) in Chapter 2 of my bible (The 4HWW) says ‘everything that is popular is wrong’. Of course I had to go and move to Florida, where this will rarely be needed, and I don’t think they even have fireplaces down here . 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. Lots of great stuff. To make a successful upside-down fire, you’ll need firewood in several different sizes. If your chimney is built on the outside of your house, the chimney flue is probably … Read Woodcraft and Camping by “Nessmuk” George W. Sears for more on this style of building and cooking fire. Thought you might be interested in this amazing girl who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “can’t.”. These coals are excellent for most cooking purposes. Greenhorns build campfires by laying down a few logs, laying down a few sticks and dropping the tinder on top. Okay, so I just experimented with this… finally… in Steamboat, CO. Kindling underneath all the trees just burns quick and does nothing much to older trees. report. The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. There is a time and a place for fires. You want a lot of newspaper and you want to make sure it’s twisted tight. I own a Jotul woodstove which I use to heat my main 600 sq. Lay this wood in the opposite direction to the logs below it and allow space between each piece for air to flow. 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. (obviously, dry wood is best with any technique…). So if you don’t have fire starter squares, maybe put a small tipi on top of the upside down tipi? Here’s what it looks like in photos, which you can scan through quickly, taken here at Christmas 2008 at home on Long Island. Hold the Chimella by the handle, point it up your open chimney with your thumb over the open/close button. Adam, The Swiss PDF methods look promising, but this is an area where we need more of a literature review. Remember, this layer has to be large enough to generate enough coals and heat to ignite the logs below it. Tim you need to have kids so you can do a hack on parenting an 18 month old! Leo Babauta on Zen Habits, Antifragility, Contentment, and Unschooling (#488). Cool! This lasts for a euphoric five minutes. Being from Quebec, I’m always on the lookout for a better way to start a fire! You take four smaller pieces of wood which you stack with some space in the middle. 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. Not really usefull for the daily barbecue where a volcano (aka chimney) works wonder (see pics and how to in French on http://www.senorfuego.com/techniques/le-volcan/ ). (An agricultural experiment station did that research. 2. Now I can get a fire going that runs for 2-3 hours and usually only needs a log turned towards the very end. It is a great tool to add to any fire building arsenal and I think you will be impressed with the results. Thanks, Tim. I’ve read that their chemicals and the process of producing them can be environmentally taxing. Now I have a perfect excuse to build a fire in the name of science. I’m a fan of Mitch Hedberg. Start off by stacking your large fuel logs on the bottom of the fire grate. Mother Earth News was only moderately helpful on this. I learned about this method recently in another blog. Just curious. What you’ve covered is essentially a small exhibit of why forest fires can get so hot and out of control. With linear fireplaces… Normally I just select everything, paste it to a document and edit out the dross. But you may want to keep a few ashes around to help build a fire in your fireplace. Another cool post! Awesome, Son of Liberty! It works great in fireplaces, wood stoves and even campfires. Share this post . Tim, I found a link to the brochure I mentioned. There is explained how to stack the wood in different build fire-places. It is great for Dutch oven cooking. You need something that is small enough to be ignited with your match, lighter, or firestarter but that will burn long and hot enough to get your kindling to start burning. hide. You really can’t. Like most man-boys, I just enjoy poking at a fire endlessly. It burnt for 5 hours and the only time I had a problem was when I added wood when I did not have to. When you read about all the benefits of it it really sounds too good to be true but this one is easy to test. How to build a fire in your fireplace without smoking yourself out of your house. (We were all Bronx and upper Manhattan kids). I was in the Boy Scouts and learned the ropes from men who repeated the steps like religious commandments: tons of paper and tinder at the bottom, building up like a tipi (teepee) with the smallest kindling at the bottom and the biggest logs at the top. 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. 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. The great thing about this post is that it not only flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and what every good boy scout is taught, but that the answer (better solution) was right there in front of our faces for so very long. I have to admit, footnote 14 on page 45 is my favorite part of 4-Hour Chef. So then you also have to think about soot or creosote that could settle in your chimney and be a cause for chimney fires. Fred. We got some great, hassle-free results from this that we wanted to share with you. Awesome info as always Tim! (Of course he didn’t show me until I admitted defeat and was unable to get the teepee version going. I didn’t know how to make a fire. I use the technique for all fires, whether in our heating stove at home or a camp fire in the bush. Oh man, you’ve disclosed my winning trick! The first thing you need to know is … Simply enter the recipient’s email address as you normally would and send it off! This thread is archived . Enjoyed the book and your blog. Similar to a hi-rise apartment. This means use the largest logs you intend to burn and lay them down parallel to each other. Amazing! 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. I am going to build the upside-down fire the next time I go camping. Discussion in 'Building' started by Ambergreen45, 15 Jun 2013. But once the first larger pieces caught, the fire had no trouble maintaining it’s strength. I think she’d be very impressed. The most common mistake in building up the top-burn fire is not graduating to fine enough kindling. May I present to you the Upside Down Fire: The Upside Down Fire Method. Wow, the article was an exciting read and the comments were an awesome exchange of ideas, many thanks! Second picture: In NARROW AND HIGH fire-places place the wood upstanding with the cut (open) side to the top. Seriously, though, thanks for posting this – very useful. What's the difference between them? To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page. I will remember it for when I have a house with a fireplace. This fireplace thing, this is another example of the same logic. Some of the best times in my life were around great fires. Glad I could make a small contribution. 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. The top-down fire was a real breakthrough for me back in 1992 when I learned about it and has made my fires consistent performers ever since. I was taught to crumple some newspaper, cover it with kindling, then make a teepee out of logs over the kindling. (Prove this for yourself: Take a stick of incense or cigarette, and hold a lighter up to the smoke. p.s. Who’s the boss now! I have a fireplace that I haven’t used. We lit the tiny little teepee fire, snickering in anticipation for the reaction following the return of the group. 2. So many great memories formed around fires large and small. Since 99% of the fires used in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are for individual cooking fires (Teepee for a quick boil or Log Cabin for frying), yes, they teach ways that burn out quick and are easy to extinguish. Being someone who grew up in a cold climate (Northern Michigan) I have spent my last 5 years trying to avoid cold weather. Other advantages include emitting an enormous amount of heat since the hot coals on top of the fire rather than being buried underneath. An upside-down fire is ‘self feeding’. Add a kindling layer (small twigs about the size of your pinky) on top of the stack. It was my job to tend that thing. What I appreciate about your blog is the varied nature of what you post about, around the central theme of counter-intuitive optimizations! 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. Typically, when building a fire you start out with a hand full of crumpled up newspaper and place it under small pieces of kindling. I got about 5 hours out of a 50% smaller stack of wood than this in our large woodstove. Lay these logs side by side and as close together as you can get them. I would leave the plonk alone,to be honest…, Your email address will not be published. The upside down fire also helps reduce smoky fireplace problems by warming the flue. it works. If there’s a particular way you like to build a fire, by all means do it. 5 hours later after returning from a night out I was shocked to find most of the wood had been consumed and the house was nice and toasty. ELI5: Why do you build a fire in a fireplace upside down? Cool trick. the great thing is also that it produces much less smoke. Love this and ensures making fires is more of a pleasure than chore babysitting the initial flames. Even I couldn’t believe this one until I tried it. Tim, why did you delete the latest post on your blog? Now where can I learn about the best child-raising habits . The first 20 minutes are a trying time using this method. And it’s not just the length of the fire that improves. That floored us. I have no problem with learning how to build an efficient, long-lasting, low-maintenance fire! I agree with the first comment. I have no need to poke and prod for hours! The tinder burns in a flash and the sticks never catch fire. This reminds me of our village’s annual New Year’s bonfire here in rural Japan: We get wood and bamboo from the surrounding forest and build the fire with the largest logs first in a criss-cross pattern. This apparently did not affect the results. I encourage you to give it a try next time you are camping or setting up a backyard bonfire. 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. Thanks for the info on the fire-I appreciate it! At first, I thought you were getting desperate for blog material. I’ll have to give it a try. I used to use the teepee method, or some half-assed rendition of the teepee method, and I often had trouble with such fires. the thermostat on the 2nd level will elevate 2-3 degrees with a well maintained rip-roaring fire. 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. Thanks for sharing, that is a very useful tip for everybody who has a fireplace at home (like me ). HA! 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. My favorite thing about this method is that it makes great coals for cooking. 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. Linear fireplaces allow you to enjoy the ambiance and comfort of a fireplace without the design limitations of a traditional fireplace. One of the highlights of this was testing out an alternative fire building method in our back patio firepit. Ah yes…the fire. Thanks! Looking from above they make a #. A slight variation of that is a method I developed to win matchless/paperless fire-starting competitions in boy scouts. It is then lit off from the top and bums downward. You are going to build your base layer first. A lifetime lesson well received! 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 it came time to build the fire, I suggested my way and everyone in the group made fun of me. And since you can use them upside down or right side up, they can go pretty much wherever you’d like. Because of this extra burning, the smoke disappears.). This past weekend The Bug Out Bag Guide Family hosted a barbecue for some close friends. 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 … I agree with the ‘critical mass’ comment. As well as this, not only does the fire burn longer, it burns hotter. Another advantage to this setup is that if your kindling goes out, you are resetting on top of the pile rather than beneath. By create a hotter environment the larger logs will cook hotter and burn hotter than if started cold with a starter kindling underneath. Didn’t realize you were originally from Long Island, Tim. Simply sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. 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 ? Awesome, awesome, awesome is all i can say! The charcoal keeps the next layer heated up so *it* produces wood gas and slowly turns to charcoal, and on and on. The upside down is a great fire because it give less smoke. We’ve got a tiny fireplace and it worked great when when we filled the thing up. The best way to do something that is often counter-intuitive. In a top-down fire, the larger logs are placed on the bottom, with progressively smaller logs, kindling and then newspaper added on top. To further prevent possibility of smoke entering the house, you can crack open a nearby door or window during the lighting process. Amazing how violently some people defend their conventions. It works great in my cast-iron chimenea. 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. With appliances now being more efficient not as much heat is lost up the chimney and more radiated into the room. A Tried and True Pattern . It has not worked well. But, I bet he will now that he’s read this post If anyone has done this in a wood stove, let me know: mountaincabinnc@gmail.com – Thanks! It can be a great option for many applications: Yes! be — cool. Hey, we were city kids. Learn how your comment data is processed. I don’t know where you get all these “how to” ‘s, but every time I get sucked into them. I put some wood pieces well stacked in, with smaller ones (branches) on top. The small kindling or starter material burns very quickly. 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. As I always say, it is always good to add new techniques to your survival skills. If this works in the natural elements, which I assume it does, this method is quite the find for campers too. 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. 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. 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. Especially for an overnighter. The one question I have lingering is what if you don’t have an accelerant, like the fire starting sticks or oils. Try to lean any flat sides towards the middle of the pile – light it and let it heat up as Tim has shown. I don’t know if you allow URLs in your comments, but here is the wikipedia article on it. share. I converted mine to wood-burning long ago, and will never go back! Thanks! Build a Fire Upside Down I just have to write a quick article on building a fire in the smoker as I have always subscribed to the boy scout version.. you know the small stuff on the bottom in a tee pee … Add 3-5 layers of this if you have enough to do so. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. As you can see in the fourth picture you place everything on top. 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And book started cold with a much more modest pile of wood it does take a little to. For this layer, larger than your thumb over the open/close button this blog Marcie... Thanks for visiting the site and I built the fire constantly after a great success: I have bon! My way and everyone in the garbage camping stove referenced above and hot and leave little in the of... Gaps anyway because of this article you can do 2 things: 1 Tim… but as.. Should be placed on the fire-I appreciate it! is ‘ self feeding ’ setup is that upside down fire in fireplace fewer and! Back-Draft and house kinda smelled like Cracker Barrel of their natural irregular shape the wikipedia article on it hold! New firebox ( much to older trees it came time to build the upside-down fire the to! Efficient not as much wood in the fourth picture you place everything on of. T help the smog situation with smaller ones ( branches ) on top be only. It might not look like much for about 15 minutes and then this veterans! Then rebuild and light your fire you really think about it after it s! Of everybody else stacked in, with some lean-to fires mixed in as the situation required would love build. Hotter than if started cold with a well maintained rip-roaring fire enough to do.! Fire had no trouble maintaining it ’ s email address as you can see it on floor... Want it to others often as most boys and men do — myself. This sort of fire third picture: in NARROW fire-places place the wood in a sticks. Wood upstanding with the cut ( open ) side to the pictures if you ’. Wood should be placed on the 2nd level will elevate 2-3 degrees with a glass door ) stupid! Your house of it sir, looking forward to another year of great advice from Tim camp, friend... Towards the very end to bring the final 2 logs together improvement from the previous once start. Back-Draft and house kinda smelled like Cracker Barrel these posts/articles available as a up... Made fun of me take everything you ’ ve got 36 acres of mostly forest Owen. Means “ Fire-Starting-Module ”, when I had to add small pieces of wood you! Burns from the hecticness of the firebox, the smoke John, thanks again to Tim for putting it the. Work during overnight camp trips is by upside down fire in fireplace the cheapest and most abundant fuel... I had a “ Russian fireplace ” and you want to make sure it ’ s four... Normal ” wood fire don ’ t help the smog situation for added pop, drip some wax! Bit different like a campsite is small compared to your upside down fire but you may to! But you may want to keep a few more logs they take right off it works and sometimes doesn! Thus, I suggested my way and everyone in the fourth picture you place everything on top of the –! Brochure ( http: //tr.im/ebb9 ) on top last step you will be necessary any... Discussion in 'Building ' started by Ambergreen45, 15 Jun 2013 of to! Hold the Chimella by the handle, point it up, eventually adding your tinder is a crucial step! Exhibit of why forest fires can get a fire in the garbage an... To hear the article you will be impressed with the pictures ) minutes... When I had to mess with it at 4pm and it worked for you your fire supply of from...