Introduction: Wood Stove Starting WITHOUT Accelerant!
Starting a fire in a Fireplace or Wood Stove is often frustrating and most people resort to using a "starter log" or some kind of lighter fluid. By spending a little time preparing, it only takes a match (or lighter) to get your fire roaring. The ideas presented here work for a Wood Stove, Fireplace, and even a Campfire.
I made a short video (under 4 minutes) if you prefer that format, or continue reading.
Step 1: Smaller Is Better
First, think small. Small pieces of wood catch fire much easier than huge logs. In other words, a tooth pick will start on fire much easier than a 2x4. So, grab a piece of firewood, and start splitting it into pieces that range from 1 inch (25mm) wide down to pieces as narrow as a pencil. If you make the pieces more triangle shaped instead of square, they will catch fire easier. It will help if these pieces are half the length of your firewood, or the width of the wood stove instead of the length. To make your little pieces, start splitting with a splitting Maul. Then "baton a hatchet" once the pieces are too narrow to safely use the maul. If you build a lot of fires, you might want to consider getting a "Kindling Maker." It is definitely a finger saver!
Step 2: Build a Ladder
Place 2 pieces of firewood on each side of the stove, or spaced apart at least 3 inches (80mm). Then set several of the little pieces you split perpendicular to, and on top of the 2 chunks. It should look like a ladder with a lot of rungs. Then set 2 (or more) logs on top of these rungs, touching each other, and the same direction as the first two. Maybe it's best to look at the picture to clarify this!
Step 3: Add Some Tinder
If you made your pieces small enough in diameter, they might start with a match. But, adding some paper or cardboard, or leaves, or grass makes the starting even easier. Especially if there is any moisture in the wood. The tinder goes in the space between the bottom 2 logs. One benefit to this arrangement is if your tinder burns away, and the fire hasn't started, just add more and try again. Soon you'll be enjoying a nice warm fire!