Lighting a smokeless coal fire with two kindling pieces and one firelighter

Quite often I see people using a lot of kindling and multiple firelighters to light a smokeless coal fire. Sure that’s one way to burn that awkward to light coal, but the cost easily adds up to the equivalent cost of a bag or two of coal each month.

Most smokeless coal in Ireland is manufactured in an ovoid shape that resembles charcoal, making it easier to handle and does not require a stove riddler. Despite the charcoal shape, this coal is not wood based and not suitable for barbecuing on, a question people often ask me that have never seen ovoid shaped coal.

This video shows my preferred method using just a single firelighter and two pieces of kindling, in this case two sticks from last year’s pruned bushes.

You can make your own kindling by buying a hatchet and a bag of logs. You’ll end up with kindling for about a third the price of bagged kindling.

For a faster fire, I recommend stacking the coal up like a pyramid using tongs. To keep this video short, I used a shovel and poured the coal around the lit area to avoid dislodging the kindling.

The following is my review of this Stanley Erin stove:

Music credits (in played order):
1. “Carefree” Kevin MacLeod (
2. “Easy Lemon” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


BB ki Vine says:

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skeets says:

Amazing what we can do with the coal dust and scrap we clean up,,mix it with a binder of wheat flour and exclude it in any shape we want

David Meyer says:

I have never seen coal in such uniform lumps before. What kind are you burning? The ease at which it ignited and yellow flames lead me to believe that it is some type of clean bituminous coal perhaps…?

Irene Konik says:

nice video,, is the coal you use anthracite coal ?

Angies Hill says:

It is coal i use it and it works if u do it right dont wstch it if u nna moan

Mersey Blues says:

I live in a smokeless area. I’ve bought smokeless coal. I’m I ok to use kindling. Some say yes others say no. Surely I’m ok using it; you need to get the fire started somehow!

james morgan says:

I’ve never seen coal like that before. they look like charcoal briquets for the bbq.

cwli1 says:

How easy is it to cut smokeless-coal lumps into smaller pieces? How? I found some place selling ‘smokeless ovals’ so wondered about cutting them up.

Hallic0Hicks says:

I usually put a mix of reg coal and smokeless on when starting the fire. Have tried starting a fire using just smokeless but I find it just takes too long to get going.

Paul Malone says:

Is this smoke less coal all you burn? how does it work out expense wise? I was going to a buy in bulk wood and turf. Only just had the stove fitted this week. Reason we got it is we are lpg gas and the bills are so high.

MediaWatchDawg says:

Using that amount of fuel, how long will the fire last?

Kevin John Pope says:


Bob Marley says:

thank you Sean . I watched this before and it helped me a lot . I recently moved house and between this and my own figuring things out this is my method and it works great even in times of low air pressure  I use this  in a Stanley Comeragh / super 90 Range .  first of all the cooker has to be  kept clean pulling off all the covers and give it a good intensive clean with the tools that come with the cooker  even  down the side of and under the oven . coal is bad stuff for clogging up everything with soot so I wont be buying it any more anyway its way  too dusty and messy and small little bits its just a pain    .   I  use a mixture of smokeless nuggets just like Sean and seasoned  blocks of timber and well seasoned turf . ok hear is what I do every morning when I get up . clean out the fire box  . empty the ash tray . stuff a couple of sheets of news paper scrunched up x2 up the elbow on the  flue pipe to warm the flue up . I then place a piece of fire lighter dead centre in the fire box and place a block of timber in front and another  behind it then I place smaller blocks of kindling of about 1 inch to 1 1/2 in square that I chop myself from the bags of blocks I buy .  I dry  them out in the storage box directly underneath the fire box . I leave a gap between them usually 4 pieces with another 4 placed parallel with the  big blocks  then 2 more blocks on top then 3  common sized shovels of nuggets placed in carefully with the tongs .   then I sit down and watch the clock all day until its time to light her up ok an attempt at humour  :  )    . depending on the weather at light up time I pull the litter door with the  circular  damper   off again light the news paper put back on the door and take a 1 inch square of fire lighter in the tongs  light it hold it up directly under the fire lighter in the fire box to set it alight then place the other bit in to the fire box and close the door . I leave both dampers fully open to start with for 20 or 30  minutes   until its taken off well then close the bottom damper to 1/3 open and the top cracked about half an inch . its good for 3 or 4 hours then another shovel of nuggets then after another couple of hours 5 or 6 sods of turf and that’s it . house is still warm in the morning  .  I only need to  clean the cooker every couple of weeks since I got rid of the coal .

Angies Hill says:

I love my stove i wunt be with out it £6 for big bag coal

jethro69tull says:

Really helpful Video with a really nice soundtrack. Also a relaxing video just to watch. Whats track 2? Nice Tune!

Robert Fallon says:

That’s not coal – might as well light some plastic logs and call it wood.

Ashley King says:

look wot damaged the coal done to the glass

Aidy Wellock says:

Very nice video indeed. I’ve just ordered my stove. Very excited about burning coal, will bring back memories as a kid. How long do you find this fire burns for when you do this method?

Maggie Blyth says:

you must have used about half a bag for one fire

Jia Rizvi says:

kevin john pope I agree

rottencactus28 says:

awesome video, thank you for this !

heavenlywingsmd says:

Excellent video, thanks!

The Yorkshire Digger says:

I am about to move into a flat that has this glass fronted type of fire, am I right in assuming I can’t burn logs on it?

Mack Wood says:

That’s not coal. It’s CHARcoal. Huge difference between the two.

Andrew McCarthy says:

This is NOT a coal fire.  It is a CHARCOAL fire.  You wasted our time with a stupid video that anyone that has a charcoal grill knows how to do.

Zac Craven says:

Will this method work with regular coal? Last year I used smokeless coal and found it hard to get it to burn so switched this year to coal. I have been making a wood fire then after about 45 mins and the larger logs burning well and start to add the coal and this works but it makes the room too hot. However a benefit is the furnace is so hot it cleans the soot from the glass. I am really surprised your method does not cover the glass in soot straight away, I will try it tonight.

Ashley King says:

just easier to burn logs

Cool Man says:

You are Number 1 mate, thanxxx

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