Cast iron wood-burning stoves are among the oldest sources of heat and fire that are still in use today. A cast iron pot belly stove can turn logs of wood into enough energy to heat several rooms or even a whole small house. Successfully creating a fire in your stove requires you to arrange appropriate combustible materials in a manner suitable for the type of fire that you wish to burn.
Purchase a cast iron stove that is appropriate for the size of the area it will be heating. Stoves are rated for BTU (British Thermal Unit) output and in terms of the amount of cubic feet that they are capable of heating. Purchasing a stove that is too large for the heating area will result in less-efficient heating and more residue.
Purchase firewood that is suitable for heat burning. Apple, beech, birch, and ash trees make particularly good heating wood. Wood that is still somewhat moist is optimal because it burns at a more controlled temperature. Very dry wood burns hotter, burns more quickly and produces more smoke.
Acquire equipment for getting the fire started. Dry kindling, old newspaper, and paraffin wax fire starters are perfect for starting the fire in your stove.
Place two large logs of wood parallel in the stove. For smaller stoves, one log of wood will suffice. The more compactly the logs are stacked, the longer and slower-burning the fire will be.
Put newspaper in between the logs and put kindling on top of the logs.
Light the fire starters and place them in between the parallel logs. The newspaper and kindling will begin burning and will get the main fire started.
Open the air inlet on your stove to intensify the fire once it has begun burning steadily. Add more logs as required, maintaining the integrity and air supply of the active fire.