Written by Ironwood co-founder, Ted Burdett
Everyone has their preferred fire-making technique, right? I usually go for a teepee structure to start and then rearrange the firewood into a log cabin structure as we move into larger pieces of wood and the ember bed grows. If we're making a fire for cooking I'll usually cook right over a fire, or if its an all day affair, I'll go through the process of making a nice hearty bed of embers over which to cook. Either way something – a tripod, a swiveling grill, rocks, or some other steel structure – is used to elevate the cookware above the fire.
This last weekend I wanted to try something new. We were quickly heating up some dishes in the Ironwood skillet for a socially distanced park hang out and I didn't want to lug too much gear through the snow. So I thought, how about we devise a way to hold our logs together so that they also support the skillet for cooking. After cooking, we'll knock them down and keep the fire going for the comfort and the vibe.
The result was really fun and really hot. This little ring of logs was easy to light on fire, supported the pan as needed, and created a great base for the fire that warmed us all afternoon. I was happy that I pre-steamed all of the vegetables that we were eating since this fire was so hot that I'd have charred all the veg into charcoals trying to cook them through. But since the goal was simply to season, heat-through, and sear, the crazy heat that the ring emanated was not a problem.
I made the little staples from some stainless steel wire that we have from another project at the studio, formed with vice-grips and cut with wire snips or a little cutoff wheel. Using the bandsaw, I cut the firewood on one end to make each log the same length. Then I just hammered the staples in and loaded the ring into the picnic wagon.
From there the sequence is simple. Put a little dry paper into the center of the ring, and top with kindling before dropping in some matches. Keep the kindling coming until the inside face of the log ring is fully on fire. Of course, stay safe and remember that you're playing with fire!