A skillfully crafted set of fireplace tools can make managing your fireplace easier while complimenting your home's d��cor. Four basic metal tools have been used for centuries to assist with the routine cleaning and tending of wood burning (and less often today, coal) fireplaces.
The Individual Fireplace Tools in the Set
The stoker (also called a poker) is a rod with a dual-purpose head. It has both a pointed tip and a hook. The stoker is used to adjust hot or burning logs by pushing them with the tip or pulling them with the hook. The hook can also be used to handily open and close a manual fireplace flue. The tong tool is also used for moving logs and handling hot objects in the fireplace. They were traditionally used for picking up pieces of coal and placing them on the fire. For cleaning up after the fire a broom tool and spade tool are used to sweep up and remove ashes.
Styles of Fireplace Tools
You can purchase fireplace tools individually, but it is more common to purchase a matched set that includes a tool stand. While fireplace tools are meant to serve a practical purpose, there is a long tradition of craftsmanship associated with their design and manufacture. Toolsets come in many styles from casual to highly formal. A handful of traditional and modern metals are used to craft fireplace tools. Solid brass toolsets are often very ornate and formal in style. Wrought iron offers excellent durability and style and is frequently used for "country home" style toolsets. Stainless steel is a relatively new material used for making fireplace tools and is used to excellent effect in ultra modern style fireplace tools.
Fireplace Tools: Purely Aesthetic or Definitely Functional?
This will depend on the type of fireplace you have. A fireplace toolset is a necessity for tending a wood burning fire. The tools can serve the practical purpose of keeping your hands from being burnt by the actual fire or the heat it radiates. With propane, gas, and gel burning fireplaces, the tools really serve only a decorative function. They complete the picture of the traditional fireplace setting along with accessories such as a fireplace screen, andirons, chenets, and fenders. Use plays an important role when it comes to selecting your fireplace tools. A decorative set gracing a gas fireplace will obviously not need to meet the heavy use and tolerance requirements of a toolset used with a wood burning fireplace. Solid brass, wrought iron, or stainless steel fireplace tools are your best bet for wood burning fireplace use.