December is upon us and (if you’re anything like me), the rush to buy Christmas presents has begun. If you have a family member or friend who simply adores their real fireplace, here’s a few ideas of the types of things you could buy.
Please note that apart from the book, I’m not recommending or endorsing a particular product, just giving you some ideas of the types of gifts you could buy.
Stove Pipe Thermometer
This little gadget is perhaps one of the most important items you can have on a stove. Magnetic and placed on the stove pipe, it allows you to check how well you are burning your fuel. If you burn too low, it can cause tar and creosote in your flue. Burn too hot and you risk damaging your stove. A thermometer really is a great addition to any installation and well worth the investment. Price: £10-£20
If you source your own wood or perhaps buy seasoned wood from a local fuel mercant, then I’d definitely recommend getting a moisture meter. These electronic devices allow you to ascertain when your wood is ready to burn. Anything above a 20% moisture content and you risk creating tar in your flue. Not only that, it will strugglie to light and give off a lot of smoke, very little heat and blacken the glass on your stove. Price: £30 upwards
Norwegian Wood book
Because of our history of coal production, domestic woodburning in the UK is only a relatively recent phenomemon. Not so in Scandinavia, where they have been using wood at home for hundreds of years. Even if you don’t source your own wood, Lars Mytting’s ‘Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way’ is fascinating reading. Beautifully illustrated, this 192 page ode to self-sufficiency gives lots of handy hints if you burn wood at home – and also takes you through the various types of wood and their pros/cons. Price £20.
Colour Changing Fire Cones
I saw these at a friend’s house and thought they were a nice bit of fun. The pine cones are coated in various chemicals which, when burnt, produce multi coloured flames. It goes without saying that you should observe normal safety practices when using them, and always follow the manfacturer instructions. I personally wouldn’t advocate their long term/heavy use, but for a one off, on a safe installation which is swept regularly, it should be a talking point. Price: £15 upwards
A lot of heat is produced by your stove, but most of it will remain in the chimney breast recess or close by. But by getting a stove fan, it will allow that warmth to be pushed further out into the room. They work purely on the heat generated by the stove – no batteries are needed at all. I have a four-blade fan and would recommend these over the two-blade options, as it is more efficient. Price: £30 upwards
These are little, arty takes on a straightforward match holder. They are stored in a corked bottle and some have a strike plate at the bottom. Choose from safety matches with Rainbow coloured tips, Red, White & Blue tips, Neon Pink tips, Black with White tips, Yellow tips, Red tips or Red & Green tips. Alternatively, you can buy boxes of matches with retro images on them, which add a touch of class to the art of starting a fire. Price: Circa £14 for the bottles, around £4 for boxes of matches.
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a HETAS Approved Sweep, and member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, offering a professional and friendly chimney sweep and stove service in Wigan, Stockport, St Helens, Ormskirk, Chorley and surrounding areas. Book Mr Soot online or call 07724 311 992.