Home is where the hearth is. From time immemorial we’ve been fascinated by the warming effects of a good fire, both physical and mental. Without using fire, there’s no telling where we’d be.
There’s something in our genes that prompts us to gaze into the flames, captivated. Every fireplace is a shrine to our humble beginnings and the advancements that harnessing flames has afforded us.
Coaxing a fire to life and keeping it alight is a skill. Fortunately, there are a few must-have fireplace accessories that make the task easier and more enjoyable. Read on to find out more!
As with any task, having the right tools on hand makes all the difference. Thousands of years of depending on fire making have refined the process significantly. After so long living alongside fire, there are a handful of tools that have proved irreplaceable and are still commonly used today.
After all, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed. We live in modern times and make use of all kinds of mind-boggling technological advancements, but still appreciate a good fire. The appreciation for fire that smolders deep within all of us has yet to be replaced.
In terms of cooking and keeping warm, many of us depend on modern alternatives. Electric stove tops and solar-powered heating solutions certainly have their place in our homes, but they fail to scratch a certain itch. If you feel a love for an open flame and want the best for your hearth, you’ve come to the right place!
First Thing’s First
No fireplace is complete without a sturdy fireplace tool set. Sets are widely available in a multitude of styles and materials, but they all serve to fill the same purposes. Most commonly, there are four different roles these sets are designed to facilitate.
The humble poker, perhaps the most important of all the tools and most ubiquitous, allows for the safe movement of burning wood. Even if a fire has died to embers, it’s not a good idea to use your bare hands to investigate. A poker is a simple rod of metal, an extension of your arm that allows you to do so safely.
A small coal shovel and brush combo allows for the movement of coal and ash. These are also typically affixed to a long handle to distance yourself from high heat while in use. With a good pair, tending your fire and cleaning in and around it becomes a joy.
Finally, a pair of metal tongs completes the set. These allow for accurate manipulation of combustible material, such as wood, coal, or peat. While building a fire, before it will catch and burn by itself, sometimes some strategic placement is necessary.
Guard Yourself and Others
Part of the fascination of a fire comes from having tamed something undeniably wild and dangerous. A fireplace allows for a controlled reaction, the combustion of flammable material, and contains it where it can’t spread. As wood burns, it tends to crackle and pop, sending burning embers at distances that might surprise you.
Certainly far enough to burn a hole through your carpet or fireplace rug. This is exactly as dangerous as it sounds. Turning your back on a fire, even for a moment without a guard, could spell disaster.
Fireplace screens can be constructed simply or with eye-catching designs, depending on your aesthetic preference. The use of a metal mesh is common to allow for an unobstructed view of the fire and for the heat to permeate into the room. Whatever your preference, they’re a necessary barrier that allows for your fire to go safely unattended while you leave the room.
A fireplace blower kit will save you from getting light-headed. Blowing on the fire to get it going is a time-tested solution to nurture embers to life. A set of bellows will save you from getting down on your hands and knees, and potentially your eyebrows from singing, too.
These are clever contraptions that allow for a steady and direct expulsion of air. Getting sufficient airflow is half the battle while trying to get a fire to catch. Before things get going, the fire won’t yet draw air into itself, so a helping hand can sometimes be necessary.
Once the fire has caught on, the heat rises and pulls in fresh air behind it. Without this action and the oxygen it delivers, your fire will die before it has a chance to sustain itself. A minute or two with the bellows will ensure that your fire grows sufficiently to reach this stage.
Depending on personal preference, there are a few solutions to suit how you want to store your wood by the fire. Going back and forth to the wood pile or to wherever your main store will get old quickly. The best way to avoid constant trips back and forth with your arms laden with wood is to have a smaller stack right where you need it.
The only question is which method you prefer, or whichever you think looks best. Wood storage is a great opportunity to add some character to the room, or complement your existing choices.
Large wicker baskets allow for your wood to breathe before being thrown on the fire, and also look fantastic. Thick canvas bags come in a range of colors and can be taken to and from the woodpile easily if necessary. Stacking options are constructed in such a way as to allow you to stack your wood a few feet high and are ideal if you enjoy the sight of a well-stocked pile.
If you’re unsure which option might be best for you, have a look around online for some fresh ideas. You can find custom fireplace design here, for example.
If there’s one thing that a fireplace allows that no modern alternative has a hope of emulating, it’s the feeling of stretching out in front of a real fire. For the best effect and maximum comfort, choosing a rug for your hearth makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Laying down beside your fire with a book or a glass of wine will become a favorite pastime if it isn’t already.
Rugs also allow for the expression and personalization of a room and can tie a space together nicely. You’ll be amazed at the different options available online and what a difference a well-placed rug can make to the feel of a room in general. Just make sure you opt for a fire-retardant option!
While a good rug is great to lounge on under your fireplace mantel, they serve another important purpose. It’s a lot easier to replace a rug than it is a carpet. A rug by the hearth will help protect your carpet from any errant sparks and potentially save you a pretty penny.
Safe Ash Removal
One of the most overlooked parts of enjoying a fire is also one of the most important. Burning wood and other materials leave a thick layer of ash. If you don’t clean your fireplace regularly, this ash can build up and inhibit a strong burn.
While this isn’t ideal, it’s also dangerous. A fire might seem like it has burned out completely, only to hide sleeping embers in the ash. Safe and mindful disposal of ash is important to avoid disaster.
Throwing ash that’s thought to be completely cold into a non-fireproof receptacle is asking for trouble. A dormant ember will quickly melt through plastic and potentially light anything flammable on fire it comes into contact with. When jostled out of the ash, fresh air allows for renewed combustion, so it’s important to take preventative measures.
It’s as simple as purchasing a metal bucket to use while you’re cleaning the ash from your fire. Wait a day or two before throwing the ash away to ensure the ash is cold. Better yet, ash can be used as fertilizer for your garden if you’ve got a green thumb!
Keep the Home Fires Burning
A fireplace is the heart of any home. Tending to it properly allows for an atmosphere of warmth and comfort only possible with an open fire. The addition of some appropriate fireplace accessories will make it all the more enjoyable while adding a personal touch.
If this article has helped you understand the importance of certain accessories, check out more of our home furnishing articles today. You might find more inspiration where this came from!