Intro: Easy Fire Starter
I have tried everything and this is the best I've found by far.
Step 1: Find Your Cedar Patch
If you live in an area with cedar trees, ask the land owner if you could pick up some fall down cedar branches. My experience is land owners don't mind you picking up branches that have fallen.
ALWAYS ask before you trespass on someone's land.
Step 2: Shave Your Branches
I cut the branches I find into smaller more manageable pieces. Too big and they are difficult to shave, too small and you may shave your fingers instead of the branch.
Now using a sharp hatchet ( I use a Fiskars), shave the branch by cutting small thin pieces off.
Repeat until you have enough shavings. Remember to wear safety glasses.
Step 3: The Fire
I start by placing a base of larger dry wood in the firebox.
Then 1 sheet of newspaper balled loosely.
Followed by a handful of my cedar shavings.
Finally, I add additional medium or small dry wood pieces on top.
Light to paper/cedar shavings. I usually just drop a lit match on them and close it up.