Iíve never used it for charcoal fires, but for starting wood fires, I think 2-3 pieces is way too much. Remember, they want you to use it up fast so youíll buy more. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> I use one piece about the size of my finger, and then I split it up like toothpick size arranged over the cotton. When I strike the cotton and it catches, I add the wood, starting with a handful of smaller then pencil size wood, then when that catches I add a handful of pencil size wood, then a handful of finger size wood, then handful of larger than finger sized wood. If you didnít know, you can buy fatwood at Walmart and a few other places. Probably save the shipping charge that way. Usually itís with the firewood stuff. Also, if you shave fatwood into a fine dust, you can (with practice) start it using a firesteel.