9+ Ways To Start A Fire In A Fireplace Without Kindling

  • Use log bark/shavings from your woodpile
  • Knot newspapers and tuck the ends into the knot (like this)
  • A Redditor suggested using wax paper instead of newspaper knots because it takes less space, burns better and will even light the firewood when it’s wet
  • Use seasoned firewood– it’s extra dry so catches on fire more easily
  • Use small logs- they’ll catch on fire easier
  • Look around for household items to start a fire (these include chapstick & cotton balls)
  • One Redditor suggested using firewood with a rough split on the top- the wood splinters can act as kindling. The edges will conflagrate first- the more edgest the better
  • Another hack (watch the video below) involves using a cup of vegetable oil and a paper towel:

How to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling

Kindling is a term used with fire that means to start a fire with small pieces of wood. It is usually done by making sure the kindling does not burn out quickly and instead starts smoldering until it becomes hot enough for larger logs to catch on fire.

Most people use kindling to get their fire started quicker, but it is possible to start without any kindling. This article will explain how to start a fire in a fireplace without kindling.

Materials and Tools needed

Fireplace Kindling

  • a newspaper or other paper source (such as a book, magazine, notebook)
  • fine wood shavings from your ax or chainsaw after cutting up some firewood. The best way to gather these is with a shop vac connected to the end of the saw, a fireplace lighter, or a long match.
  • A fireplace screen to protect from embers and sparks.


Fireplace Kindling

The first thing you will want is to gather your tools and materials together. The last thing you want to do is search for your newspaper, shavings, and lighter while the flames are dying out.

Once the firewood is split into small, manageable pieces that can be stacked into a pyramid shape near the fireplace, then stack several more pieces around it so they are easily accessible to being placed inside the fireplace.

Start creating solid fuel: Lay the paper across the fireplace grate. The best way to do this is to crumple up one page completely first, then spread it out over the grate. The other pages will arrange themselves around it.

This provides a platform for additional shavings and kindling to be placed on top of while the bottom is lit.

Create a small hole in the center of all of your pages with a pencil or other sharp object. This will allow oxygen to get to the fire at the base while creating fuel for it on top. *Warning: Be very careful not to let any sparks get inside this area; it could cause a fire.

Spread your fine wood shavings in an even layer over the top of the paper, completely covering it. Light one edge, and wait for this layer to catch on fire.

Without waiting for this section to burn all the way through, add more shavings on top of it so that they are touching or overlapping each other (see picture below).

Create more layers of shavings. Continue to light one edge of each layer, and add more shavings on top of it each time.

Be sure not to let the flame spread across the entire section before putting it on the next layer. *Warning: Keep this hole open, or it could cause a fire.

As this fuel burns, it will provide more shavings and kindling with oxygen for the fire. Add your kindling when you have a nice flame burning on top of the solid fuel. This is wood split into thin pieces with one side cut to create sharp edges.

The best kindling for starting fires are small slivers of paper birch, but you can use anything that fits into the palm of your hand and is dry.

Keep adding kindling until your fire is nice and strong. At this point, I like to add a small log on top and let it burn for 30 minutes or so before putting any large logs in. I would caution against putting on too many big logs too soon, as this will cause the fire to die out quickly.

Lastly, close your damper (if you have one) and open your flue!

Physics of Fire

Fire needs three things to keep it burning: oxygen, fuel, and heat. Without any of these three essential components, the fire will not continue.

For this reason, proper ventilation is crucial when attempting to start a fireplace fire without kindling—supply air by removing the lid from the fireplace or opening a window.

Fire needs fuel to burn. Kindling is one fuel needed to start a fire in a stone fireplace without using paper kindling.

Fuel can also be found by splitting logs into small pieces that will ignite easily. Add material for burning slowly to maintain an even heat and avoid smoldering.

The heat to start a fire comes from the combustion process. There must be three elements for combustion to occur: fuel, heat source, and oxygen. Combine all three of these components simultaneously to create an instant flame.

If any of these elements is absent, it will be difficult to start a fireplace fire.

Importance Of Kindling

Kindling is a great way to start a fire. It catches the fire and allows it to grow.

Kindling is often made from small, thin pieces of wood. The pieces are usually cut to about the size of your hand.

They are then arranged in the fireplace or campfire so that they will catch on fire easier than logs or larger pieces of wood.

I use kindling to start fires because it is easy to find, inexpensive, and has a lot of potential in starting fires.

It can be anything from dry twigs, small pieces of wood, or paper. Kindling is used to help the fire get going and keep it going.

Kindling can be used in many ways. For example, you can use it to start a campfire firepit or fireplace. You can also use kindling as an easy way to start a fire when you are in a hurry and don’t have time for all the work that goes into using logs or other heavy pieces of wood.

Kindling is a material that makes starting a fire easier. It can be used to start fires in both fireplaces and campfires.


Combining all three elements to start a fire (heat source, fuel, and oxygen) will provide the most reliable way to get your fireplace started without kindling.

You might want to invest in some fire starter tools so you don’t run into a situation where you have to hunt down internet hacks to get your fireplace blazing!

Or just get a gas fireplace  (here’s how much it costs to install a gas fireplace) or an electric fireplace if a wood fireplace is too much of a hassle for you.

Remember, if you are using paper products for burning, be sure to place them down slowly so that the heat has time to catch. If there is too much heat or not enough oxygen, your pages could char or burn black in that area.

This is not necessarily dangerous, but it will smoke heavily and ruin your fire.

Now you know how to start a fire in a stone fireplace without using paper kindling. Be patient and let the solid fuel burn first before adding more wood. You can use this same technique for starting fires with natural materials such as bark and branches.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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