Top tips for getting warm and toastie
Tools of the Trade
The presence of a home fireplace creates a true heart to a home, warmth and a sense of well-being. However, to get the most out of your fireplace you might need some of these ‘tools of the trade’ to make life a bit easier, so you can spend more time enjoying the warmth rather than poking the fire!
If there is one thing that you have to have when lighting indoor fires of any kind, it has to be a fire guard. It is a close weave metal stand that sits in front of the fire to stop any sparks that might be ejected by your fire landing onto your hearth rug and potentially causing a fire. It also protects small children and family pets from getting too close to the hot fire or stove.
This is also known as a stoker or fire iron. This is a short ridged rod with an insulated handle used to adjust coal and wood fuel when burning in a fireplace. Sometimes these pokers have a hook on one side to help roll logs over when in the grate. This can prove to be a very useful tool in large fireplaces.
Already well known to most gardeners, a spade is also a multi-purpose tool for tending fireplaces or stoves. Similar in purpose to a fireplace poker, it allows you to handle burning embers and logs. It is most ideal to scooping up any excess ash from the heath when the fire has died down. A flat based spade is best to get the most ash out with just one sweep and can get right back into the corners of the grate or ash pan.
Tongs, together with the spade and fireplace poker, are used to handle the hot fuel in the fireplace. Their advantage is their gripping capability, which allows you to pick up materials from the fireplace. They are often used to put coal into the fire from the coal scuttle, as they ensure that your hands do not get all black and dirty.
The fireplace broom does exactly what it is called. It cleans up the ash left in the bottom of the grate once the fire has burned out.
These are used to deliver a pressured yet controlled amount of air to a specific part of the fireplace to increase the amount of oxygen to the flames. Bellows are usually powered by hand pumping a semi closed chamber through a nozzle. These can be particularly handy if you do not want to spend time blowing flames to the hard to reach places of your fireplace grate. It saves a lot of puff.
Andiron (dog irons!)
This is often considered as a decorative piece and is otherwise known as dog irons. They are usually made up of two horizontal bars that supports the logs placed in the hearth and allow air to pass through the stacked logs. They help the fire to burn and prevents a build-up of smoke.
This is a small metal bucket with a handle. There are several different varieties to be bought but essentially they do the same job.They enable you to put the sometimes warm or even hot cinders into a receptacle to be disposed of. Some people use their ash to help fertilise the garden and have proven to work when placed around the foot of rose bushes.
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