Experienced fire builders will no doubt tell you that preparing before you light your fire makes for an enjoyable winter’s worth out of your fire pit and backyard fireplace. Some people purchase their firewood a year ahead to properly season the firewood. Seasoned firewood, sometimes also called green wood, does not burn as well, so it is saved until the following season. It is wonderful to be able to build your fire with seasoned firewood, and to have it readily available when the weather is cold and the fire is burning.
The first thing you need to do is build a small pile next to or behind your fire. You will need about two pieces of wood and some medium dirt. The small pile will be used to catch any drips and scraps. If your fire is large enough (bigger than your pot), you can add one more piece of wood to that pile.
Do you have a favorite kind of wood to burn? You can use any variety of wood that burns well. Some popular choices include pine, cedar, and hemlock. If you have a natural gas or propane burner, you can also use those kinds of fuels. But if you are going with a wood stove or fire, then you can use any kind of fuel that will burn well in your region.
You will now have to prepare the fire pit for what is to follow. After you have built your small pile of firewood, you will want to set up your fire pit. You should have plenty of wood kindling on hand because you will want a lot of dead leaves or other debris on the ground that will catch fire when it is time to start burning. The easiest way to do this is to have a few sheets of newspaper laid out over the fire pit and create an easy floor for people to walk on. If you don’t have a lot of firewood for this, you can always have some on hand in the winter.
For safety reasons, you will want to gather any hardwoods that you are going to use. You can either have a pile ready or have chopped wood lying around in your yard. Hardwoods such as oak, maple, birch, and ash wood are considered okay to burn in a fire because they release more heat than soft woods like pine. Other types of wood like pine need to be checked on a regular basis to make sure there are no holes or cracks in them.
Once you have gathered your wood kindling and place two pieces of wood on either side of your fire, you will want to start building your log cabin. If you have time, you may want to start making structures out of it. This will give your fire a nice rustic look. If you are simply storing items, you can place one log next to another. If you want to add a fire, simply move the logs. If you are keeping items like meals or utensils in the cabin, you will need extra firewood to get through those situations.
The first step in building a log cabin is to start with long logs cut in smaller pieces. These pieces will become the flooring of your cabin. Long pieces of wood work best, because they will be easier to move around. Use larger pieces of wood if you want more of a challenge. Also remember that you should keep all of your firewood chopped down to least 2 inches thick.
The last step in building your log cabin is to use your smaller, cut firewood pieces to build up your tinder. To start, place two pieces of wood on the ground next to each other and then put a small log on top of the first piece. Make sure the log on top of the smaller log is facing away from you. When the smaller log becomes full, grab your larger tinder and start chopping away!