Fireplace tongs are the most important fireplace tool
When deciding which fireplace tools are really needed, the first and most obvious choice is a pair of fireplace tongs. With fireplace tongs, you can not only shift logs but also poke the fire. This brings more air to the fire, and the fire burns well as a result. The fireplace tong is the most important fireplace tool, and you will use them the most often. You will typically place the log tongs within reach directly next to the fireplace. This gives the fireplace tongs a decorative function as well, since they are constantly visible by the fireplace.
There are different kinds of fireplace tongs. On our site, you will only find high-quality decorative, antique and vintage fireplace tongs. The selection consists of three types of fireplace log tongs:
The French fireplace tongs
The French tongs do not have a hinge but are squeezed together. The French tongs are often robustly made and therefore stiffer. People often ask whether one can shift large logs with French tongs. In practice, you place new (large) logs into the fireplace by hand. Only after they are partially burned will you shift them. And then it is not a problem. An additional advantage of the French tongs in the fireplace is that, because they are so rigid, they can also be used well as a fire poker. In France, you seldom see a poker. French tongs are usually made from wrought iron.
The English fireplace tongs
The English fire tongs have a hinge and are often elegantly designed. They are generally long, which in combination with the hinge can give them a certain fragility. The shafts can sometimes cross over each other due to wear, and then you may lose the grip. With English fireplace tongs, you are buying a beautifully decorative, well-wrought piece, often a wonderful piece of craftsmanship. It is, though, important to pay close attention to the stability of the fireplace tongs. On our website, this is indicated with stars (*** is “stable,” ** is “some instability but still usable,” * is “only suitable for decorative purposes”).
Many high-end English fireplace tongs are made from polished steel or polished brass, which looks especially spectacular.
The Dutch fireplace tongs
The Dutch tongs also have a hinge and are often smaller and less elegant than the English version. They often have a more rustic appearance, but they are absolutely beautifully wrought. The hinge of many Dutch fire tongs is designed differently from the hinge of the English tongs, and the tongs are often less fragile than the English firewood tongs. They can generally be used quite well. Dutch tongs are often made of wrought iron, brass or wrought iron with brass details.
Note the length of the fireplace tongs needed
The bigger the fireplace and the bigger the fire, the longer the firewood tongs need to be. French tongs come in all sizes but often tend to be longer. English tongs are often large, and Dutch log tongs are often smaller.
Option of coal scissors
For small fireplaces and fires and for wood-burning stoves, it is also possible to use coal scissors, also called coal tongs. These tongs were originally intended for shifting the coals in a coal fire or for removing hot coals (to put in the extinguishing pot or bed pans). They are the size of a large pair of scissors, with the ends of a pair of tongs. They are very handy to use, come from England and are made of brass.
How do I use the fireplace tongs?
In principle, you use the fireplace tongs with one hand. That requires some dexterity, but it is worth the effort required to practice. You can also use the tongs with two hands, if for example the logs are large. It is important to keep sufficient distance from the fire. The video below shows how different fireplace tongs should be used.
How do I store my fireplace tongs?
This, too, depends on the type of fireplace tongs. Smaller tongs, like the Dutch tongs, are often hung on a rack, whether or not antique, on the side of the fireplace or are placed in the log basket. Larger tongs (like the French and English tongs) are often just placed in the corner of the hearth. It is also possible to place the tongs, along with other fireplace tools, in a stand. A stand offers many advantages. The ash from the fireplace tools then falls into the tray of the stand. In addition, it is a stable form of storage. Loose fireplace tools leaning against a wall tend to fall down quite often.
Pay attention to the craftsmanship
A pair of antique fireplace tongs seem like a simple tool, but they are often a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Smithing a pair of fireplace tongs consumes a great deal of time and requires creativity and craftsmanship that you rarely find today in such items. That is true for the simple hand-forged tongs, and even more so for the more complex designs. They are also much stronger than modern tongs. They have withstood the test of time and can last for a long time to come.
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