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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Inspiration Monday - Fire

 Fire, constructively destructive
Fire, destructively constructive

Fire has always had the power to hold me enthralled. Whether it's a raging out- of- control inferno or the flickering of soft candlelight, I could watch it for hours. Fire serves so many purposes: keeping us warm, safe against the night, lighting our way in the dark, creating atmosphere or serving as a reminder of spirit in troubled times. Living on the water pretty much makes it mandatory to use fire as a heat source. There are other methods but electricity can be sketchy in rough weather, propane has its own issues ( condensation, cost, dangerous explosive gases, running out in the middle of the night etc.), so having a woodstove is your hedge against the cold and damp. Today I wanted to share with you some unique fireplaces that amuse or inspire me and some knowledge about fire. ( I used to be a chimney sweep, so do have some expertise in the matter)

How to Start a Fire with Ice

Things You'll Need:

•Large piece of ice


•Tinder ( small pieces of very flammable material)

Step 1
Cut a small block of ice, and use the knife to trim the ice into a circular shape. You can also use a rough stone or a piece of cement to grind the edge of the ice. The glass should be in a lens shape, with the middle of the glass thicker than the edges.

Step 2
Use the warmth of your hands or a damp cloth to finish shaping the ice, and to melt and smooth the surface.

Step 3
Make a small pile of dry tinder where you want your fire to be located.

Step 4
Hold the ice in a perpendicular direction to the sun, and adjust it to direct a bright ray of light directly onto the tinder, but be careful not to let water drip on the tinder. The tinder will eventually begin to smoke, and then ignite. Add more tinder, if necessary, followed by small kindling.

Now that you have your fire started, lets look at some cool places to put it!

This one is just so decadently lucious, must be Cinderellas bedroom!

I like how this one evokes a sense of sitting around a bonfire

Floating fire
I like these ones, I might try to make something similar using a propane firepit
How about fire as wall art?

or a scary monster?

How to recycle that old car of yours!!
Safe fire contained in a tube
Not for me this one, kinda creeps me out but definately original if you like that industrial look

I'm liking these ones with the super clean look, just the flame on display
Serious wow factor here, fire spinning like a tornado in columns flanking the bar.
This one is so peaceful to look at
I had an idea like this that I wanted to do for my patio, a table to sit around with a firepit in the center
Nice style element
Rubbing two sticks together?? What would our ancestors think of this?
Making use of the dead space under the stairs
Liking this idea alot, good chance I will incorporate this into my main bath

I have a firepit quite similar to this one for the patio

But thinks I would rather have this one!!! I think I'd find a way to live outside if this was my patio!

How to prevent creasote buildup in your chimney

Creasote is your worst enemy if you use a chimney. As smoke travels upwards and hits a cold chimney it condenses onto the walls of the chimney and looks like black paint. It most commonly occurs when people start fires and damp them down almost immediately without heating the chimney. Over time the creasote builds up a thick layer that is extremely combustable. One day you will burn a bunch of paper or do like I did and leave the door ajar and go answer the phone and the extra heat from a hot fire will cause the creasote to catch on fire. You never want that to happen. It sounds like a jet engine taking off in your house, it burns so hot it can separate the bricks from the morter and send flames into the walls and roof of  your house. Once it starts to burn, it swells up thousands of times it size until the chimney becomes blocked with it and smoke pours into your house. These fires are very hard to put out and structural damage to your home is bound to happen if not completely being burned to the ground. So if you use a chimney, get it cleaned at least once every year(whether you used it or not, animals have a tendency to nest in them). If you use it daily as your main heat source, get it cleaned at least twice a year. Here are some tips on how to prevent creasote buildup.

Step 1
Hire a chimney cleaner to come out every year and give your chimney a good cleaning. For a few hundred dollars you save the life of your chimney and keep a good air flow through the chimney. You would be surprised at how much buildup there can be within just a year, and any creosote given off by green or wet wood will stick right to it. He will also tell you if your chimney flue is the right size for the wood stove.
Step 2
Light a fast hot fire every morning to warm up your chimney so that any moisture in the smoke does not condense on the surfaces of the chimney flue. Use plenty of paper and dry kindling so that the fire warms the chimney quickly to over 220 degrees so that any water will stay a gas in the form of steam until it gets out of the chimney.
Step 3
Burn dry wood. Even if wood has been cut for some time, it won't completely dry until it has been split, and then it takes about three months to dry. The kind of wood is not so critical as the water content of the wood. Many people claim pine is bad to burn but that is only because the sap has a high water content. Once the water is removed, it will burn hot and fast without a problem of creosote buildup.
Step 4
Keep your ash level under control. A nice bed of ash is good to insulate the coals, but too much will hinder the air flow for the firebox in your wood stove. Air flow is critical for providing oxygen for the burning process. An efficient fire should have very little smoke emanating from the chimney, so keep the ashes 2-to-3 inches deep.
Step 5
Keep your chimney flue open wide while you are burning in your wood stove. Remember, the point is to keep the chimney hot while the fire is burning. Control the air flow with the controls in the front of the fire to slow down the rate of burning. If you see yellowish tinged smoke coming out of your chimney, you know the fire is not hot enough, and a lot of nasty emissions are being dumped into the air.

Here is my post called the Woodburners Guide for information on what kind of wood burns best.
You grab the hotdogs, I'll grab the marshmallows and I'll meet you at the firepit!

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