The Swedish Fire Log, also known as a Canadian Candle and the Swedish Torch, is a simple and efficient way to make a beautiful fire using just a single log.
Soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) relied heavily on using the Swedish Fire Log for heating and cooking. This small and compact fire burns long and provides excellent warmth and a stable platform for cooking. Since the main fuel source is off the ground, this decorative and useful fire is great to use in wet or snowy conditions.
Due to the simple design of the Swedish Fire Log, once you light it, you can basically forget it. The special cuts that you make in the log provide natural airflow that will keep your fire ventilated all on its own. The log will burn slowly from the inside out. After half an hour of burning (or less), the top is ideally shaped and suited for a kettle or skillet. Cook your favorite stew or dish on the Swedish Fire Log. After about 3 hours of burning, the log is hot enough that you can slow cook meat for a delicious meal.
Creating a Swedish Fire Log is simple. All you need is a good length of seasoned wood, a hand saw or chainsaw, and some sort of lighter fluid (kerosene), to get it going. Let’s get started!
If you intend to use the Swedish Fire Log for decorative or lighting purposes, then a soft wood works just fine as it will burn quickly and kick out plenty of light. Choose pine, fir, or birch.
If you are going to use your Swedish Fire Log for cooking, choose from hardwoods such as beech, oak, apple, hornbeam, and cherry for the best results. Ash is a good bet as it has a lower moisture content (takes less time to season) and burns better than the other hardwoods.
No matter how you are going to use it, make sure it is seasoned for the best results.
The size you choose will be determined by how you plan to use it (or them). If you want to line a pathway with multiple fire logs or use them as tabletop centerpieces, then opt for small ones. Or if you need a large one to cook off of or for warmth, then look for wood with a large diameter. As long as you can get your saw through it, then you can choose whatever size you want.
1. Once you have chosen your log(s), make sure that both ends have level surfaces. Use the thickest end as the base.
2. Mark your log(s) with a marker/pencil on the top as if you’re cutting it into 6 equal pieces of a pie.
3. Using a chainsaw (or hand saw), cut along one of the lines you drew. Cut down to about 5″ above the ground. Then tip the nose of the chainsaw down and inwards to make the cut lower on the outside. This trick will help draw more air up the log once it is lit for a better burn.
4. Repeat Step 3 for the other two lines you’ve drawn, making sure to stop at the 5″ mark, and then angling the chainsaw down and in.
Get your Swedish Fire Log going fast by pouring some kerosene (or other lighter fluid) in the openings that you’ve cut. Or you can fill the gaps with tinder.
At first you’ll see a small flame rising out of the top of the fire log. This flame will quickly die down and become just smoke. But before long you’ll see new flames shooting out from it as the log burns from the inside out.