A Gift from the Hearth
Alright, yes, the title of this piece should be “A Gift for the Hearth,” but that would have meant abandoning a clever pun all for the sake of proper preposition usage, and I’d rather be clever than be grammar! (Er… well, case in point.)
As winter weather creeps closer apace, fireplaces everywhere will soon be fired up. Nothing draws a family together like a roaring fire on a cold night, and nothing keeps a man better company than a fine book, a glass of good drink, and the warming glow of a crackling blaze. To help maximize a man’s (or family’s) enjoyment of said blaze(s), today we’ll be talking about a few fireside items every good man who loves a good fire will be happy to call his own.
If you’re looking for a great gift, look no farther. And if you think your own hearth deserves a piece or two of finery, go ahead and treat yourself: the fireplace season only lasts a few months, so make the most of it.
This attractive log holder can support up to a quarter face-cord of split wood (that would be a 2″ by 4″ stack, FYI), meaning you’ll have fuel for many a fire close at hand and elegantly displayed. At 40″ in diameter, it’s on the larger side for the smaller room, but this Log Hoop will look great in any room that can accommodate it, or it can be perched on a porch, patio, or in the yard. It’s made from tubular steel that’s lightweight but rugged, and the hoop’s surface is powder coated to resist damage and rust even in adverse weather. It retails for around $40.
You just can’t beat good ol’ fatwood when it comes to laying and lighting a great fire. And by the way, don’t worry: contrary to common misconception, this is not wood infused with animal fat. Rather fatwood is simply pine wood sourced from stumps rich in natural resin concentration. Fatwood is a 100% natural, additive- and chemical-free way to get a fire roaring quickly, and it’s safe to use in fireplaces, stoves, or for campfires. A good-sized box will last most households the entire season, meaning dozens of easy fires at a cost of only a couple dozen bucks.
Chances are the household that has a working fireplace already has functional fire tools. But it’s unlikely they have tools that look as good or work as well as the Uniflame Five Piece Black Wrought Iron Fireset. The stand’s center weave design brings some style to these otherwise ruggedly functional tools, and the included tongs (AKA “log lifter”), poker, shovel, and brush are all you’ll need to create and control a great fire. There are many similar sets out there, but few are consistently as well reviewed and rated as this one, which is priced at less than $60.
For the man who wants genuine flames licking upward in his fireplace but without the hassle of wood (or gas), a Moda Flame Bio-Ethanol Ventless Fireplace is a fine option. This unit is technically called a “tabletop fireplace” and it can certainly be placed on a table or most anywhere else, but it will look especially great when perched upon an actual hearth. This type of portable fireplace is 100% safe for indoor use, creating a minimal amount of smoke and no harmful chemicals. Of course the diminutive flames of such “fireplaces” are for looks, not for heat, but they sure look great. Expect to spend about $70.
For the man who has everything, including a frequently used fireplace, consider the PowerSmith 10 Amp Ash Vacuum. “A vacuum just for sucking ashes out of the fire?” you say, a wry smile wrinkling your brow and, for some reason, a cassette tape of Peal Jam’s classic album Ten in your left hand. “Who needs that!?” Well, anyone who puts their fireplace to good use, that’s who. If you think this thing is superfluous, then you have not spent much time cleaning ashes; it’s as simple as that. Cleaning ash the old fashioned way is dirty, tedious, and hardly ever all that effective. A specialized ash vacuum is in fact the opposite of frivolous, it’s suolovirf! Or… wait, rather… it’s brilliant and a must-have for the household that has plenty of fires. A clean fireplace, wood-burning stove, or charcoal grill is yours (or theirs) for around $75.