How Do Fireplace Starter Pots Work?

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Burning Wood

Since prehistoric times, wood has been burned as a fuel. Wood fires can provide heat for comfort, cook food and signal people to your location. For a wood fire to produce a lot of heat and light, it requires big logs. The bigger the log, the more energy it contains, and the more energy, the brighter and longer it burns. Unfortunately, big logs also take a while to catch on fire. In order to light a log on fire, you need to have heat against it in the same spot for a long time. This heat is traditionally provided by a smaller fire source.


The most common way to start a fire is with kindling. Kindling is dry grasses, twigs and other small, quick-burning objects. Traditionally, kindling was stacked near the base of larger logs and then lit on fire. The heat from the kindling would light the logs. Unfortunately, kindling fires are finicky. They require constant attention or else they can go out before the bigger logs light. Fireplace starter pots provide a more modern, convenient way to light fires.

Fireplace Starter Pots

A fire starter is usually made out of metal or, sometimes, clay or another ceramic material. Inside is a metal rod, usually with a soapstone disk at the top. The fire pot is filled with a flammable liquid (usually kerosene) that the soapstone sits in. To light a fire, the wand is pulled out and the kerosene on the soapstone is lit. Then, the soapstone is placed against a log. The kerosene on the soapstone burns for about 10 minutes at a high temperature. Just like a kindling fire, it provides the initial heat to get the fire going, but it does so with far less fuss.


Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.