Fireplace tools have been used by people for centuries to manipulate and control fires in home fireplaces. The tools used in the past were largely functional. In these modern times, fireplace tools need to be both functional and decorative.
Types of Fireplace Tools
The two most common types used today are wrought iron fireplace tools and brass fireplace tools. You may find some sort of wood incorporated into the handles of either type, also. Of course, wood cannot be used for the functional portion of the tool, but beautifully polished handles of oak, cherry or walnut can add lots of style to any set of fireplace tools.
Iron fireplace tools are casual and would work well in a home that has a rustic or traditional decorating theme. They would also work well in a country style home. Wrought iron tools are very sturdy, and will last a lifetime if they are occasionally cleaned with a bit of oil and a soft cloth. Just because they are iron doesn’t mean they can’t also be very stylish and decorative. Wrought iron can be worked and stamped into many beautiful patterns. They can either be handmade or machine made. Handmade tools will be more costly than machine made tools, but the cost will be well worth it, especially since they will last just about forever.
Brass fireplace tools have a more traditional and sometimes formal look to them. A set of solid brass fireplace tools can run as much as $800 – $1000. Tools at this end of the spectrum usually have hand-worked decorative elements and finials. but there are more economically priced brass sets on the market that offer lots of style and quality. Solid steel cores are sometimes covered with solid brass tubes to create very strong fireplace tools that can withstand very harsh treatment and still look great. Plated brass fireplace tool sets priced below $100 are very good for decorative purposes, but will not hold up to heavy use over time.
What to Look for in Fireplace Tools
Most fireplace tool sets come with everything needed to keep a fire under control and to keep the hearth neat and clean; four piece sets include a shovel, a broom, a poker and tongs. A five piece set may also include a rake or a set of bellows. One thing to look for when choosing a set of tools for your fireplace is how the handles are attached to the actual tool. Bargain priced sets will have a threaded handle that twists on. These are alright if the tools will not be used heavily. The threads can eventually become worn, and the handle may fall off at an inopportune moment, such as when trying to lift or change the position of a burning log. Handles that are affixed to the tool with pressure are called swedged handles. They will not come off and are considered to be the most desirable type of handle for fireplace tools.
Always keep in mind the type and size of fireplace you have when you select your fireplace tool set. Those who have sleek marble fireplace mantels might not want to choose a set of rustic looking iron fireplace tools, for instance. Also, keep the overall size of your fireplace opening and hearth in mind, because tool sets and stands vary in size. Choosing a large set with a stand that won’t fit on the hearth of your fireplace just won’t work, and placing a small, daintier looking set on massive cast stone fireplace mantels will look silly.
Keeping in mind the style of your room, including things like furniture styles and window treatments for sliding glass doors, as well as the overall size of your fireplace will help you to choose just the right set of fireplace tools for your home. As we all know, there is nothing like a well-stoked fire to keep a room glowing, comfortable and warm!