What to Do If Your Firewood Doesn’t Burn Well

Build it properly

Firewood pieces wont catch on fire, or burn well for that matter if you don’t start small.

You can’t just load up the firebox, fireplace, the campfire or what have you with a whole bunch of wood and expect it to start roaring right away.

For the wood to catch on fire and stay that way, you first have to build one of smaller size with the help of tinder and kindling. There are all sorts of structures and things of that nature you can build to incorporate all three the right way; this video should give you an idea how to do it right:

Tinder and kindling gets the fire going; the wood only comes after

The wood isn’t seasoned

If you’ve tried everything what’s explained in the video up top and you still find no success in lightning the firewood, it is probably not dry enough.

Wood has to be less than 20% in moisture content to burn properly. If it is significantly higher, it won’t catch on fire, or even if it does, the fire won’t sustain for any long. The only reliable method to finding out whether that’s true or not is using a moisture meter.

Are you using the stove right?

What i mean by that is do you adjust the air intake accordingly? Not letting in enough air during the combustion process might be the reason why you can’t start a fire in there.

The damper has to be open all the way in in the beginning. Once you get everything inside going, you should only then adjust the air to a smaller level, to keep the fire burning for longer.

It’s the wood

Some species of firewood are harder to start a fire with, that’s a fact. Hardwoods in particular like oak, birch.

Try mixing in some of the softer types, like pine to get the flame going. Once there is moderate heating inside the firebox, toss in your hardwoods and keep on heating!

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  1. We bought a pallet of kiln dried wood a year ago. We waited a year to see if it would light better but it still wont hold a flame. It smells and feels very dry. Thoughts?

    1. Good day. Well that sounds interesting.

      If the wood was indeed kiln dried, it should have burnt properly the day you bought it. If it were me, I would test out the firewood with a moisture meter.

      But then again, it stood for an additional year to dry… Not sure.

    2. Having the same problem, super weird. Wood will ‘burn’ but never on its own. Been sitting out stacked for 2 years now.

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