Its getting difficult to find fireplace accessories in stores these days, with less and less new homes being built with them. I had a hard time finding them for my last home. The first tools I got were extremely poor quality, and the first new grate I bought only lasted a couple of fires. But there are some good products out there, it just takes a bit of effort to find them.
Firedragon: Blow Poke Fireplace Tool – This poker is great for bringing an old fire back to life. It has a power-coated steel shaft with a polished brass mouthpiece – you just sit a few feet from the fire and blow through the mouthpiece – no burning your face – then use the prongs to poke the embers around. Fun to use.
Landmann USA 82431 Firewood Log Holder with Canvas Carrier – this is dual purpose, as the straps lift off the stand to go get your wood, then you slip it on the stand and it becomes the wood stand. Its not huge but I think most would find it sufficient for a home fireplace.The reviews attest to its sturdiness and good handles and canvass. Its a good idea to put a boot tray under your log holder to catch the debris from the mess, you can just empty it into the fireplace every once in a while. There may be prettier log holders available, but there is enough charm to a simple pile of logs sitting beside a fire that the balance of function and beauty works with this.
23 3/4″ Self-Feeding Fireplace Grate – this grate is on the expensive side, but it was designed in one piece contoured to continually feed your logs in a manner which will send the smoke up your chimney instead of into your living room. Its a nightmare trying to clean smoke off a fireplace, not to mention clearing the air of a house filled with it, and dealing with the smoke detectors. Specifications: Front width: 23 3/4″ Back width: 18″ Depth: 15″ Leg height: 2 1/4″ Weight: 27 lbs.
Panacea 15343 Ash Bucket with Shovel, Black – I like the design of this. The shovel tucks into a pocket on the bucket, and the bucket has a lid to keep ash from blowing out. It can just be set outdoors after use if there is any doubt that all embers are out. If you don’t want it taking up permanent space on your hearth you can store it elsewhere between uses, but I like the rustic look of it. Measures for shovel dimensions is 14.25-inch length by 4.5-inch width and bucket dimensions is 12.5-inch diameter by 13-inch height.
Some good uses for wood fireplace ashes:
- dip a damp sponge in the dust to clean your fireplace door
- spread on garden beds to repel slugs and snails
- the paste will also get rid of sticky label residue
- shine silver
- rub on a damp sponge to remove lime scale
- add a bit to compost before spreading it in your garden
- melt ice without harming soil or concrete
- mix a 1/4 cup in the hole when planting tomatoes or other calcium loving plants
- make soap
- make a scouring paste out of it to use for greasy or food-encrusted pots or pans or even grills
- sprinkle over mossy areas of lawns
- rub on a damp rag to diminish white furniture rings left from water or heat
- de-skunk pets