In the Heart of Toronto's Castlefield Design District

A little bit about: Andirons

Dated Posted: October 1st, 2009

Written By: Leila

The days are getting shorter and nights are getting chilly.  Soon it will be rustling leaves at our feet and the smell of wood fires in the air.  Which brings me to andirons.  An entirely unscientific study I’ve been conducting over the past few years tells me that most people have no clue what they’re for. 

Contrary to popular belief, andirons (also known as fire dogs) are not purely decorative pieces designed to flank a fire basket, nor are they pretty log holders for beside the mantle.  No, andirons are actually designed to serve a very practical purpose.  They are used instead of a fire basket to allow good air flow around logs, which helps the fire burn and minimizes smoke. 

To use, simply place the two andirons the desired distance apart, depending on the length of the logs you are using.   Lay the logs across and, with a little boy scout know-how, voila!  The decorative vertical uprights are not just pretty, they’re there to hold the logs in place should one decide to take a tumble.

We’ve got lots of vintage andirons, from sweet and dainty to strong and chunky…the kind I’d imagine in a big stone fireplace in the country…with a couple of wingback chairs, a hardcover classic and a glass of wine…but I digress.  Here are some photos:

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