If you own a pellet stove or another woodstove with an automatic starter, over a couple of years, you might experience failure of the heating element. While it is not difficult to purchase a replacement thermoresistor, I figured it would be a matter of time before the replacement failed again.
One solution shown here, is the result of experimenting with a variety of items which has never failed in igniting a fire. It uses a bag of charcoal briquets and scrap paper.
Step 1: Get Your Materials Together
While I suspect any type of charcoal will work, self-igniting briquets might work easier. I have found that four start packets can be made from a single briquet.
Four sheets of paper (scrap entirely appropriate!)
Good size spoon.
(After getting skilled at this, scattered charcoal dust no longer becomes a problem, but covering the counter might make clean up unnecessary!)
Step 2: Stack the Odds in Your Favor
Fold a stack of four sheets of paper in half lengthwise and into thirds. Place the briquet into the center.
Step 3: Smack, Pulverize and Otherwise Get Your Frustrations Out
Here is the therapeutic portion. Beat the briquet while flipping the folded paper. Your goal is to avoid ripping the paper. Open the paper, check to see if mostly pebble size remain.
Step 4: Divide and Conquer
Divide the shattered remains among the four sheets of paper. Remember the time wasted playing desktop football in grade school? No knowledge is ever wasted. Fold the paper into triangular packets, tucking the ends into the last fold.
Step 5: Light My Fire
When it comes time to light the fire, light the inferior edge of the packet. Extreme bravery is not required, just make sure the paper is caught before dropping the packet into the fire well. Close the door to the stove and turn on the blower. Your fire is good to go.