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Keep These 5 Tools Within Reach of Your Fireplace Doors

Whether you’ve just recently had a wood-burning fireplace installed in your home, you’ve moved into a home that already had one, or you’ve just always wondered what the heck those tools people keep by the fireside doors are for, this article is for you. We’re going to quickly go over the five essential fireplace tools that everyone should have in their arsenal, what they’re for, and why you need them.

The Andirons

While technically not a tool in the strictest sense, you don’t want to burn firewood without a set of andirons. These supports—commonly made of iron—are where you keep your logs while they burn. Why? Well, it turns out it’s for air circulation. See, a healthy, roaring fire needs plenty of air to fuel it. Without good circulation, you’ll produce a lot of thick smoke, but not a lot of actual flames. And that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

The Bellows

This is that thing often found by the fireplace doors that looks like a cross between a bagpipe and an accordion. No, it is not an ancient folk instrument from Western Europe—it’s a bellows, and it’s used to deliver air to the fire. As you pull the handles apart, the bellows fills with air, which is then ejected in a steady, focused stream through the nozzle as the handles are pushed back together. This is done to give the flames a boost of air, making them stronger.

The Poker

Also called the Stoker, this is one of the most popular fireplace tools. It’s a long, iron rod with a hook on the end used to stoke flames by pushing and pulling the burning logs to improve the air flow. It’s typically insulated to prevent you from burning yourself, though it should still be handled carefully.

The Tongs

These are also used to physically handle your firewood, though they provide much more control and dexterity than your poker does. They’re also ideal for safely placing new logs on the fire, though their biggest claim to fame is (probably) that scene in the film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf uses a pair of fireplace tongs to hand Frodo the One Ring after sticking it in the fire.

The Brush and Shovel

Okay, so this is actually two tools—but you will typically use them in unison. A wood-burning fire produces waste in the form of ash, and you certainly don’t want to leave that all over the place, grubbing up your hearth and your fireplace doors. The brush and shovel work like a broom and dustpan, letting you sweep up ash and dispose of it with ease.

The great thing about modern fireplace tools is that you can get quality tools in a variety of style to match the aesthetic of your home. From old-fashioned wrought-iron to modern minimalist or ornate decorative designs, the choice is yours!