Tapping into the Benefits of a Log Cabin Fire

Tapping into the Benefits of a Log Cabin Fire

Benefits of Log Cabin Fires

These types of fires produce three main benefits.  First, they generate quite a bit of heat and smoke without rapidly consuming fuel.  If you want to build a bright, hot and visible fire, then using the log cabin method is one of the best options out there.

Second, these fires are ideal for drying wet wood.  Simply use the wet wood to make the logs.  They will dry evenly and quickly as the radiant heat from the fire inside promotes the evaporation of moisture without scorching the wood.   Finally, they produce a lot of very hot embers and coals that can be used for a number popular bushcraft tricks.

How To Build a Standard Fire

The basic principle behind the log cabin fire is to create a wall around where the regular tepee fire will be built.  The wall is made from at least four layers of logs or branches on each side that are built in a manner similar to a log cabin.  The most challenging part of building this fire is gathering the wood.  You not only need wood for the fire itself, but you will also need 16 or more pieces of wood for the walls.  This can translate into a lot of time spent hunting, cutting and positioning the wood for the fire.

The first step is to determine the size of the tepee fire inside of the walls.  Then you can search for larger branches or small logs that are long enough to meet these requirements.  You don’t need to cut each branch to match a uniform size.  However, each branch needs to be long enough to reach across from one side of the frame to the other.  Each branch should also have a similar diameter in order to keep the wall stable.  You can also cut large branches into smaller sections to form parts of the wall as well.

The first step is to place two branches or logs on either side of the border of the fire.  Place the next two logs on top of the existing ones and join them to the other two sides of the fire border.  Keep repeating the process until all of the wood has been stacked and a box around the tepee fire has been formed.  You can either build the tepee fire or the walls first.

The frame of the fire helps to trap heat and channel oxygen through the bottom of the fire.  It also reduces the impact that wind and precipitation can have on the fire.  Moisture is also drawn from the walls and contributes to the smokiness of the fire.  The wall also helps to trap heat and direct it towards the wood that is being burned.  This produces a hotter fire, redder embers and cleaner charcoal.  It also can help to slow the burning of the fuel depending on the type and condition of the wood being used.

While the log cabin fire isn’t the best option under all circumstances, they are worth using when fires need to be hot, wood needs to dry or you need to produce a lot of smoke.  Try it out for yourself and get a sense of what it takes to build one in order to enjoy the benefits they provide.


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