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When we can’t be gathered around a glowing campfire in the wilderness, the next best thing is a warming blaze with family and friends at home. Having the proper tools on hand makes for a safer, cleaner-burning fire that is as much a pleasure to tend as it is to sit by. Here’s a look at some basic tools you’ll want for your home and hearth.
If you want to go all in from the start, a complete fireplace tool set with its own stand is the way to go. They usually offer some combination of a poker, tongs, an ash shovel, and a sweeper for tidying up before, during, and after a blaze. Some sets come with fancy brass handles, but you’ll never go wrong with classic black.
Tongs and Pokers
If you prefer to keep your number of fireplace tools to a minimum, consider just a set of tongs and/or a poker. Tongs are indispensable for getting the back log into just the right position to burn all night. And a poker is the quintessential tool for doing exactly what it says: sitting and poking at the fire (whether it needs poking or not). A poker with a built-in blow pipe allows you to direct oxygen in the right spot without singeing off your eyebrows.
Fires need oxygen to ignite, and they need it to stay lit. Sometimes the only way to feed enough O2 into the coal bed is with a bellows. Blacksmiths have relied on them for centuries, and they are the ideal way to stoke up damp or wet wood or rekindle the blaze after it dies down.