Kindling | The key to making the perfect fire?


Kindling | What is it and why is important for fire building?

kindling sticks

Kindling, a noun that describes certain elements for lighting a fire.

Kindle, a verb which may be related to firelighting or to cause strong feelings in someone.

Further, kindled could also be used as a means of describing how an imagination may be stimulated by an action for instance.

Commonly, kindling refers to small dry sticks or other materials used to light or start a fire.

Further, medically speaking, kindling may refer to changes in brain sensitivity due to a stimulus. Such a stimulus may be described as drugs or alcohol which can sometimes be referred to as kindling.

However, we will stick with the more common meaning for the purposes of this article.

To be clear, kindling, so far as we understand, is small pieces of wood used to start a fire.

Kindling, as we know it, is fundamental to the fire lighting process. Or is it?

During the course of this article we will examine the following core subjects in relation to kindling.

  • The history of kindling in firelighting.
  • How kindling is produced today.
  • Which wood is best for kindling
  • Who sells kindling and how much it costs.

Thereafter we will draw a comparison between kindling and Hot Box ® Firestarter. Ultimately, our aim is to answer this question, can Hot Box ® Firestarter replace kindling? In other words will a product with the express intention of helping a user light a domestic fire ultimately negate the need for kindling to be produced and sold in its current form.

So form the top, let us kindle this subject matter.

The history of kindling in firelighting

Although there are no specific references to kindling we have significant understanding that. fire has been used by man for millions of years.

In fact, there is evidence to suggest that tools for firelighting were carried by men living between 3400 and 3100 BC.

During these times, tinder would have been used and ignition created by a spark or friction.

Thereafter, once the tinder had been ignited, kindling would have been added to build a fire for warmth, light or cooking.

The process, despite significant advancements in technology, remains the same today.

Importantly, we still seek out both tinder, in the form of firelighters, ignition, now a Bic lighter or box of matches and kindling, usually in the form of sticks for sale in a supermarket or petrol station.

Although the way in which we source such components may have changed, the fundamentals of the components themselves has not.

Interestingly, as is the case with may products, convenience tends to be at the forefront of design. Firelighting is no exception.

As our ancestors made fire to for warmth, to cook and to provide light, we create fire for similar reasons.

Warmth from a wood stove, heat from a BBQ for cooking, light from a fire pit in the garden. Interestingly, we still require kindling for these activities and draw comparisons to examples of early man.

Is it here to stay?

How is it produced

Historically we would have had to collect small branches or split larger ones in order to produce kindling for fire starting.

Admittedly, the process by which kindling is made is significantly easier today.

Automation has had a significant impact on how fire-kindling is produced.

Today, kindling-wood is manufactured an a huge scale using industrial machines which are capable pf splitting entire logs into bags or nets.

This Posch Autosplit Kindling machine is a superb example of how such fire kindling is produced today.

Further, although such machines are expensive you will be able to reap significant rewards from owning one by producing kindling to sell.

Moving on, we have considered the history and how kindling is made. Now let’s consider which wood is best for kindling.

Alternatively, you could adopt the good old fashioned way and use an axe or hatchet to split logs down small enough to get your fire going.

chopping kindling

Which wood is best

Arguably, softwood is best when it comes to making sticks to kindle a fire.

The resinous characteristics of a timber such as pine make it easy to light and therefore kindle a fire.

However, as important as the type of wood used is the moisture content.

Dry wood is an absolute necessity when it comes to fire starting.

When considering which fuel to use, you can refer to our handy guide on The Best wood for Woodburners. 

Along with pine or softwood, the following timber can be chopped to form kindling for a fire.

  • Ash, the best wood for burning, produces a good flame and significant heat, always make sure it is dry.
  • Beech, a close rival to ash but can spit, especially when split down for kindle.
  • Birch, perfect for splitting and burns quickly to get a fire started.
  • Thorn, little smoke but a bit of a slow burner when splitting down.
  • Cherry, a slow burner so save your logs for later in the fire.
  • Oak, dray oak gives of great heat but can produce across smoke.

In conclusion, stick with a softwood or hardwood that lights easily and burns fast.

Who sells kindling, what are the costs

As the market for wood burning at home and in the garden has grown, so has the demand for fuel and the means to kindle a fire.

As such, there is fierce competition both online and in store for kindlingwood, especially during the winter seasons.

Below we have examined the offerings from 9 of the top retailers who offer such for sale online and in store where applicable.

Further, we have taken the time to set some on fire in our wood stoves too and compare them directly with our own natural firestarter.

The biggest online retailers of fire sticks

  1. The biggest retailer, acting as a middle man for smaller players with monthly visits volume of 50,159 is of course Amazon. 
  2. Secondly, and bot surprisingly, this site provides an outlet for smaller players and is a trusted online retailer for such items, ebay has 26,730 monthly visits for kindling. 
  3. Everyones go to DIY brand is also a major supplier, B&Q are a distributor of the Homefire Brand. 
  4. Tesco also gets a mention, although at this time of year we could not find this item online.
  5. Logs Direct are a surprising player with a around 7,738 visitors each month looking for kindlingwood.
  6. Big K products are an old favourite when it comes to BBQ and firelighting. Their kiln dried offerings are decent.
  7. Wickes, another DIY type take advantage of some retail space for a fast moving good such as wood fuel. Again they offer the Homefire Brand.
  8. Chopsticks, a great charitable entity who cater for adults with learning disabilities,. Making kindling is part of what they do. The bag size is superb and the quality great. Plus, there is the added benefit of this being a charitable organisation which is an important part of the local community.
  9. Let’s not gorget petrol stations. Major players in convenient and fast moving consumer goods. Kindling and such winter fuel is usually presented in outside display units for sale whilst you are filling up your car.

So, now we have outlined who peddles such, lets take a look at the costs.

In order of appearance.

  1. Amazon prices range from £10.00 to £25.00 for your average bag of wood sticks, delivery is often included but be aware costs for this can be hefty on larger quantities.
  2. E bay has a similar range and also some bulk offerings which do get cheaper the more you buy. Again, watch out for delivery charges.
  3. B&Q’s operation is set up for in store collection with aisle ends and foyers providing a home for pallets of fast moving wood sticks, logs and briquettes.Expect to pay £2.45 for 900grams of kindling wood, this won’t get you many fires at all. IN fact depending on your appliance you may only get tow or three,
  4. Again, large retailers such as Tesco use their in store experience to promote this type of product seasonally. Expect to pay over £5.00 for a small bag.
  5. Logs direct do offer a small box of kindling. However, they will slap a £40.00 delivery charge on this at point of checkout so you will need to buy something else too to make it worthwhile.
  6. Big K keep things simple, they offer a large bag and a small bag for £4 and £3 respectively. The quality is good but delivery can get costly although this is not clear at checkout.
  7. Wickes are offering Homefire kindling for £4.00 and aim for it to be taken away whilst you are buying in store. Again, they use their retail space to offer seasonal wood fuel in the entrances.
  8. Chopsticks, a large bag of around 9kg will set you back £7, a small bag, around 2kg £2.60 and a net of around 3kg £3.50. Their fire starting sticks offer great value for money.

Costs of kindling

In short therefore, a small bag of kindling will set you back a few quid depending on what you buy. Further, you will pay more if you want it delivered.

Kindling is viewed as a convenience item and as such its price is often premium and packaging is designed so that it becomes a frequently bought item.

On average, we have found that a regular bag from a supermarket or petrol station will allow you to make around 8 fires in the depths of winter, depending on the application.

The average price of a bag is around £5.00

In addition, remember to stock up on firelighters too and get a local Boy Scout over every evening to actually build your fire.

The size of the industry

Let’s be clear, the online search volume for kindling is significant and the sale of such is an entire market sector, especially when considered in conjunction with firelighters.

Sales figures on this subject specifically are limited,  we can draw some conclusions from our years spent in the wood burning industry. however.

Do some maths..

  • 165k monthly online searches for kindling.
  • 2.5 million wood burners in the UK, SIA source.
  • Average of 80 fires per user per annum

The above is without summertime uses such as fire pits, BBQ’s, wood fired pizza ovens, garden fireplaces and other pyro applications.

Costs of kindling and firelighters

firelighters and kindling

Therefore, if a bag of kindling lights 8 fires, each user will need ten bags per annum.

As such, on average £50.00 per annum may be spent per user on kindling.

2.5 million x £50.00 = £125 million. This may arguably be the size of the kindling market in the UK.

Remember, a user will also need additional firelighters when using kindling at an additional cost. This generates further revenue for retailers in its own category.

It would be reasonable to suggest that firelighters, of varying sorts, will cost a similar amount to kindling.

As a result, expect to pay around £100.00 per annum for the tools to light your fire or wood burner at home.

Therefore, the size of the market for place two crucial ignition products could be estimated at £250 million per annum.

How kindling compares to Hot Box ® Firestarter

natural firelighter and kindling

When setting out to create Hot box ® Firestarter we looked closely at the size of our potential market and cut our cloth accordingly.

Our pricing reflects the nature of our product and the fact that it fulfils the same job as both firelighters and kindling for the average user.

To buy the equivalent number of Firestarter’s you will need to spend more.

Further, depending on how you value your time you may consider not having to build your fire every time you light it as a significant saving.

Further, if you find fire lighting frustrating then our Firestarter is certainly the product for you.

let’s consider a similar exercise as above but replace kindling and firelighters with Hot Box ® Firestarter.

The cost of replacing kindling | Hot Box ® Firestarter

cost of kindling

Our 27 Pack os the most cost effective way of buying. Further, it forms a handy 300mm cube so will take up less storage space than buying the same amount of firelighters and kindling in one hit.

3 x 27 packs will provide 81 firelighters, enough for a years burning on average.

27, which is designed for a month of firelighting costs £36.00. Delivery to the UK will cost £3.00.

As such, our product will set you back £117.00 per annum based on the average user.

Ok, so we accept that it is more expensive than buying kindling and firelighters separately but so is an individual ready meal versus buying the ingredients and making it yourself.

The convenience and ease of use presented by Hot Box ® Firestarter is what sets it apart from the rest.

Further, there is no other product that produces the perfect fire, every time, without fail in a whole range of appliances and without the fire being built by the user.

Choose our subscription offer to have your kindling delivered regularly.

How do you light a fire using kindling

Lighting your fire using kindling an firelighters as most of us do can be a time consuming task.

First, you need to establish a base in your fire, a bed of ash is a good place to start.

Then, you should stack the kindling in a formation that allows air to move around each piece of fuel.

Then, you need to consider placing your firelighter, some place it at the top, other place it below the fuel sticks.

Thereafter, you are ready to light, if your stack is right, your wood dry, the fire should get going easily.

However, we estimate that this process, when using shop bought kindling will take around 5 minutes.

There are various schools of thought when it comes to lighting a fire using kindling.

One of the most considered methods, from the web, can be seen below.

Known as the top down method, and courtesy of EcofiresStoves it offers insight into using kindling to start a fire in a woodburner.

Kindling | the top down method by Jotul

Further learning on how to light a fire can be gained from other industry leaders.

Jotul, one of the worlds authorities on wood burning offer a concise guide as to best practice.

Their web page depicts a further method, again a version of ‘the top down method, depicting how to start a fire. 

This method suggests that a user lights their fire by following a few simple steps.

Further, their method suggests that using the top down method with kindling and small logs produces less soot and ashes and makes the first wood load last longer.

Their description suggests that getting your fire going on the first attempt you will need:

  • Two or more larger wood logs, ensure these are dry, a moisture content less than 20% is preferred.
  • 8-12 pieces of kindling or smaller sections of wood. If you have an axe or hatchet these can be split from larger logs.
  • Firelighters or news paper to ignite the kindling. This will act as the accelerant.
  • Matches or a lighter to ignite the accelerant.

Building your fire using the top down method and kindling

Thereafter, the description outlines stacking larger logs on the fire bed. Usually, this is on top of a bed of ash from a previous fire.

Then add smaller logs on top of this to form a second layer.

A further layer or layers of kindling can then be stacked on top of this.

Above the kindling, place your firelighters or newspaper to ensure the kindling ignites.

Then, simply light the firelighter or other accelerant with a match or lighter.

Moreover, in a wood stove you should ensure that the air vents are open.

Remember, free air movement is fundamental to the combustion process.

If you revert to the basics of the ‘Fire triangle’ you cannot go far wrong.

Further, Jotul suggest that it is important to build a new fire each time for maximum efficiency.

Trying to light a fire from existing embers is inefficient and may result in frustration and failure.

If all of this seems like too much work, then keep reading to find out about Hot Box ® Firestarter.

How do you light a fire using Hot Box ® Firestarter

Simply put, using our product saves a whole load of time.

Simply pop out the chimney and one of the ignition holes at the base which are clearly marked.

Light the entire box at the base and that’s out. #firedone 🔥✅

In a few minutes your firestarter will be engulfed and you will have the perfect base to add logs.

Alternatively save yourself adding logs by stacking them around the firelighter whilst you get on with something else.

The short videos below show both options…

Lighting a fire without kindling.

Lighting a fire with no kindling

Lighting a fire without kindling | Top down method

How to light a pizza oven without kindling

Do you need kindling to light a fire?

In conclusion, you do not need kindling to light a fire.

Hot Box ® Firestarter offers a complete solution to starting a fire without kindling.

Further, our product can be used in wood stoves, pizza ovens, fire pits and for most firelighting applications.

Hot Box ® Firestarter is the only fire lighter you will ever need.

Furthermore, you will never need to buy kindling or build a fire using kindling again.

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