Last week we brought you the best alternatives for enjoying the ambient glow and warmth of a fire. Tending fires is an art unto itself and these accessories will help make the task easier and more enjoyable with their smart design and good looks.
We all love playing with fire. The classic Franklin Poker (pictured above right) is stylish and has dual functionality. Used as a conventional poker to prod at the fire, it doubles as a blower to stoke the waning coals and increase heat. Made of a solid brass shaft and tip, the trumplet-shaped mouthpiece provides an easy grip and a good seal for getting air to the fire. It also has a built in safety valve which prevents inhalation of smoke and burning embers. The tip is modeled after a shark fin, adding a pull aspect to the poke and helping to hook and easily maneuver logs. Long enough at 42" to poke at the fire without burning your hand or stoke the fire without singing your eyelashes, it is available at Franklin Poker for $99.
A play on the more common version that mimics a matchstick down to the wood grain, this chromed metal lighter (pictured above right) is a fun minimalist simulacrum. At seven inches long, it makes lighting a fire easier and can be refilled with butane. The tool is Â£3 from Dwell.
You may have seen kitschy virtual flames before, but this DVD Fireplace Video (pictured above left) is by far the hottest available. With three different 20 minute tracks that include a roaring log fireplace, ambient embers, and a widescreen fireplace, you can convert any room into a cozy retreat even if you never earned a fire safety merit badge. Pick it up for $20 from PowerFloe.
Made from stainless steel, we're not sure how well Conmoto's two-piece Fire Stand (pictured above left) would resist blackening, but on the plus side it'd likely wipe clean easily enough. The understated appeal of its design is almost good enough to function as an object on its own (for those too lazy to actually build fires. On the other hand, its flexibilty (it can be adjusted to suit various log and fireplace lengths) and the functional way it raises logs from off the floor so they burn better, represent some of the basics of smart design. It's $550 from Fitzu.
Woodstock (pictured above right) combines solutions for both storing and transporting wood into two symbiotic parts. A dolly slips under a rectangular frame for easy maneuvering from the woodpile to the fireplace, eliminating the bothersome need to re-stack logs. The presentation adds a modern and homeyâ€”albeit bold at four feet tallâ€”statement to a living room. Woodstock's available in black (pictured) or galvanized steel from Unica Home for $1163 plus freight charges.
Logging for firewood, for a variety of reasons, is a bad idea. On the other hand, Java-Log, a fire log made of coffee waste, is a great idea. (Pictured above right.) It was declared one of the "Coolest Inventions of the Year" by Time Magazine in 2003. In fact, Java-Log diverts 42 million kg/year of coffee waste from landfills. The log utilizes renewable, natural vegetable wax and coffee waste to make fire logs that produce significantly fewer emisions and less carbon monoxide while burning 2-3 times longer than firewood. The packaging is also made of 100% recycled materials furthering their effort to save trees. A case of 6 logs is available for $50.
Developed by the Swedish Defense Department, The Light My Fire Firesteel (pictured above left) is small but very well designed and quite possibly the best "match" on the market. An alternative way to start your fire, no butane or sulfur is involved. Working even in the wet or cold, a slow and easy strike across the magnesium alley rod produces a huge spark up to 3,000Â°C that will light most flammable materials. It lasts for approximately 12,000 strikes and is available for $10 at Amazon.