Do I need fireplace accessories at all?
Fireplace accessories are all items used in or for the fireplace. They generally have three functions:
- Handling the fire in such a way that it is more pleasant, safer and more manageable.
- Handling the fire so that it is more sustainable for the environment.
- A decorative function. Old and antique fireplace accessories are often beautifully made and bear witness to great craftsmanship. These works of art can beautify any fireplace, including a gas fireplace or a fireplace that isn't used.
Which fireplace accessories do we have?
- Fireplace andirons with a grate
- Fireplace grate or fire basket
- Fireplace screen
- Fireplace tools: tongs, poker, shovel, brush, bellows or blow poker, something to store fireplace tools
- Log holder or basket
All these fireplace accessories can be used in one fireplace and together form a set of fireplace accessories. But not all fireplace accessories are absolutely necessary, except that they can form a beautiful whole together. Hence the question: which fireplace accessories do I need?
Do I need a fireback?
A fireback is a cast iron plate that is placed against the back wall of the fireplace. The oldest firebacks date from the 15th century, and they are decorated in many different ways.
You really need a fireback if the back wall of the fireplace is damaged by the fire. The fireback protects the back wall.
In addition, a fireback has the additional advantage that the cast iron of the fireback is warmed by the fire and the fireback therefore radiates extra heat. The heat efficiency of the fire thus becomes 50% higher. The heavier the fireback, the more heat it radiates. This is better for the environment.
As a decoration, the fireback also has a powerful appearance and is therefore a good basis for the further selection of fireplace accessories.
A very different decorative application of the fireback is to use it as a backsplash above the kitchen stove. Read more about this in: Realized projects of firebacks as a backsplash
Do I need fireplace andirons with a grate?
Fireplace andirons are two metal uprights with beams on which the wood can be laid. The oldest fireplace andirons date back to Roman times, and they aim to lift the fire from the ground so that more air can reach the fire. The fireplace needs a lot of air for good combustion and more complete burning. As a result, fewer soot particles are released. This is better for the environment. Fireplace andirons provide a better draft in the fireplace. They are placed in front of the fireback.
You might really need andirons as a solution for a suboptimal draft in the fireplace. Read more about this in: 10 tips to improve the draft of the chimney of the open fireplace
The wood can be placed directly on the beams of the andirons. You see that a lot with the large fireplaces in France where wood is used in the form of whole tree trunks. If you use smaller logs, it is useful to place a grate on the beams of the andirons and to burn the fire on the grate. An additional advantage of andirons with or without a grating is that the wood can no longer easily roll out of the fireplace. This offers more protection from a possible fire or from damage caused by burning wood. In addition, fireplace andirons have a decorative function.
Do I need a fireplace grate or fire basket?
Instead of andirons and a grate, you can also opt for a fire grate or basket, where the andirons and the grate form one whole. This has the same function as andirons with grate and is more often used for smaller fires, although there are also large fire baskets. The fireplace grates are mainly used in England, where it was forbidden by law in the cities to light large fires. There are also fire baskets with a cast iron back plate, which makes the use of a fireback unnecessary.
A fire basket may really be needed, just like fireplace andirons, if the fire does not draw well. A fireplace basket has the additional advantage that there is better combustion of the wood, which is better for the environment. The fire basket also has a safety function - because the burning wood does not roll out of the fireplace as easily. And a fire basket can of course have a decorative function.
Do I need a fireplace screen?
You always need a fireplace screen. It prevents sparks from coming out of the fire into the room or children, pets and for example newspapers from being able to reach the fire. This also applies for a gas fireplace.
In addition, the fireplace screen has a decorative function. The fireplace screen is also used to fill the empty hole of the fireplace when the fire is not lit.
Do I need fireplace tools
In addition to a decorative function, fireplace tools have the following purposes:
- Controlling the fire. In other words, breathing life back into smouldering fires and keeping excessively large fires under control. In the context of sustainable heating, it is important to maintain a quiet, well-burning fire. As a result, there is less particulate matter in the air, and you use less wood. In addition, the prevention of fire spread plays a role in controlling the fire. Good fireplace tools are important for this.
- Controlling the ash layer. By removing the excess ash, the fire can again get enough air. This creates more draft in the fireplace and results in better combustion of the wood. Do not remove all the ash. Ash serves as insulation against the cold floor. This improves the draft in the fireplace.
The following fireplace tools are important for a fireplace fire:
- Fireplace tongs
- Fireplace poker
- Fireplace shovel
- Fireplace brush
- Fireplace blow poker or bellows
- Something to store the fireplace tools
In the next blog, you can read more about the purpose of the fireplace tools and how to choose them: Which fireplace tools do you need?
As to the question of which tools are really needed, the choice falls first on the fireplace tongs. With tongs, you can move logs so that more air reaches the fire. With the fireplace poker, you poke in the fire for the same reason. Some tongs also work as a poker. You place the tongs and the poker directly against the wall of the hearth, in the log holder or in a standard for regular use, and they therefore also have a decorative function.
A shovel is also always needed to control the ash layer so that air can reach the fire. The brush can be used for cleaning the fireplace. Controlling the ash layer is a daily activity. You also keep the shovel near the fireplace. You typically use the brush occasionally. It can be stored elsewhere.
We prefer the fireplace blow poker above the fireplace bellows because one does not have to get as close to the fire for using the blow poke compared with the bellows. In addition, the fireplace blow pipe is more effective, less fragile and can also be used as a poker. The fireplace blow poker is not a must, because a fading fire can also be enlivened in other ways, but it is a very nice tool for regular use.
Something to store the fireplace tools is also not a must. In principle, you can simply place the fireplace tools against the wall of the fireplace or in the wood box. Something for storage - a stand, a rest or a hanger - does offer order and has a decorative function. In addition, the stand has the advantage that the ash from the tools falls into the tray of the stand and not on the ground.
Do I need a log holder or basket?
A log holder has the purpose of storing wood close to the fire, so it is easy to add a log to the fire. As such, it is a must that has different shapes, from recesses in the fireplace to wicker baskets. We sell decorative copper or brass firewood baskets, which were originally pots used for cooking in the fireplace. They are often very old. We sell these log holders purely because, besides being functional, they are also very decorative.
The size of the firewood holder (height and diameter) should match the size of the logs. Small firewood baskets are very suitable for storing kindling wood.
Let us advise you
In our webshop, it is possible to select fireplace accessories by size, type, material, style, age and origin. Should you have any doubts about your choice, feel free to call us (+31.653493998) or e-mail us: [email protected]. If you want to combine multiple fireplace accessories, we can propose a combination based on your wishes and/or take pictures of the selected fireplace accessories so that you can see whether it forms one beautiful whole.
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