Oct 07, 2016

How to: Make a Swedish Flame

created at: 01/21/2016

What's a Swedish flame? Something you can buy at IKEA? No sir.

If you haven't seen one of these Swedish Flame logs lately, they definitely need to be the star of your next outdoor fire. Its genius design allows the fire to burn from the inside out which means little to no tending from you! 

buring swedish flame log

What you'll need

  • A 2-2.5 foot tall seasoned log
  • a chainsaw
  • kindling
  • matches or lighter
  • chainsaw safety equipment: eye protector, dust mask, hearing protection

This is a quick setup that takes a bit of time to get going, but once it starts burning hot, it maintains its flame for several hours without any tending! 

Need a chain saw to get started? Here are several we recommend.

Step 1

Set your log upright in a fire-safe place. I set it up in the middle of my existing fire pit. Make sure it sits level on the top. This makes the log  a fantastic cooking surface for a cast iron skillet. You'll want it to sit level if you plan on cooking over it.

Warm Up With a Swedish Fire Pit

Step 2

Don your safety gear and fire up your saw. Going from top to bottom cut 3-4 slices into the log 3/4 of the way down the log. Please use extra care when using a chain saw. Don't do it without safety gear and MAKE SURE the log is secure in its place, you don't want it to tip over as you're cutting into it.

Warm Up With a Swedish Fire Pit

Warm Up With a Swedish Fire Pit

Step 3

This part takes a little long to get going. Start a small fire on top of the log with kindling and continue to stoke it until the coals and kindling start to descend into the log. You may need to use a spare stick to shove it down into the center as it burns.

Warm Up With a Swedish Fire Pit

Warm Up With a Swedish Fire Pit

Step 4

Continue to throw kindling down the center of the log until the fire gets hot enough to burn the log on its own. How dry the log is will determine how long it will take for the fire to catch.

Warm Up With a Swedish Fire Pit

And that's it! The log I did for this post has been burning for about 4 hours on its own! Try it yourself next time you're in need of a good fire pit. 


Interested in cooking on top of your Swedish Fire log? Check out this post on how to make some crispy sea salt and vinegar potatoes with a fire log. And here's a cocktail to toast to a day of work well done. We call it, of course, the Swedish Flame!


This post was written and photographed by ManMade contributor Bryson Leach. Read all of his posts here. 


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Penny on Sep 15, 2020:

My husband is a scoutmaster and we use cotten or any natural fiber rags or paper soaked in leftover bacon grease. Works really well. I also freeze the bacon grease in cubes, pop them in cooler in a plastic bag and add to fire if a fire starting boost is needed.

Dave Gray on Aug 29, 2017:

Instead of lighting a small kindling fire on top, just put into the centre a fire lighter ! lights straight away.

Bill Basinski on Aug 20, 2016:

Any decent chain saw will do.  I've got 2 gas Stihl's, one corded electric Stihl and a Greenworks 40 V battery chainsaw.  You could also put a candle or pour melted wax down the center to get things going.  These would make cool Yule or Christmas gifts.  Thanks for the suggestion!


Anonymous on Jul 10, 2016:

If one didn't have a chainsaw, wouldn't a table saw work just fine? It certainly wouldn't move much as you slide it into the blade. You'd just have to make each cut individually instead of cutting straight across the diameter as you could with the chainsaw.

Anonymous on Apr 08, 2016:

I did this last summer!   Fantastic!
BUT.... when finished with the chainsaw, I used my 2 1/2" hole saw and brrrrrr staight down the middle.   It made an excellent wind tunnel.   Fire started flame burning in a matter of 10 minutes. 

Hester on Apr 06, 2016:

FANTASTIC idea!  I'm definitely going to try it when we go camping next time.  Thank you :-)

Anonymous on Mar 27, 2016:

Does this have to be a log? Can be done to a stump of a tree?

Nick on Aug 22, 2015:

This is an new take on an old campfire trick. You can use any Dry Hardwood, avoid pine and woods with a high volume of sap or softwoods which cut easily but burn easier, Sumac and the like. 

Using an axe you can split a large log 4-8 ways depending on the size. Attempt to split the log most of the way, drop a small round stone into the split to hold the gap open. If the wood splits completely it is wise to have a section of copper or steel cable/wire to tie the bottom of the log together. Several logs can be split and bound together to make a larger cooking surface. 6-8 feet of wire is handy to tie the log and bind logs together.

If there is not enough heat increase the size of the cracks using a blade and a pebble or stick to open the bottom of the log to provide more oxygen. by making several smaller splits in the center you increase the ease in lighting a column fire.

Depending on your safely locating the fire away from tinder or dry grass, leaf or brush you can be reasonably sure it is a safe. Sterno has been the easiest fuel to start the fire without burning other fuels or rags. 

Anonymous on Jun 05, 2015:

this looks really cool

Gillian Dickson on Jun 02, 2015:

our local garden centre had them for years and recently stopped doing them due Rio lack of interest. Wood got to be dried out for weeks first then a fuel soaked rag to get it started pushed deep down then wood catches.

Anonymous on Mar 07, 2015:

Used this several times! Awesome. I have to ask, how much do they sell them for at Meijer?

J and J on Jan 29, 2015:

I tried it one time. It's a cool way to have a nice small fire. I use a piece of red oak about 15 to 18 inches around. It was kinda hard getting started at first but once it started it lasted about a hour or so.

jr trevino on Jan 28, 2015:

Fun Times.... 

Robyn on Jan 18, 2015:

Has anyone tried this yet? Looks amazing!

Danielle on Oct 12, 2014:

That's neat.. Love sitting around a fire but that looks quick and easy. Is there a wood that's preferred for this method? Will try for sure..

Anonymous on Jan 26, 2014:

They sell these at my local Meijer store. Pre-cut and they comes with a starter.

Kyle Boureston on Jan 24, 2014:

Soo awesome. "Is it safe? I dunno." Hahah great.