2012 FireplaceMall.com Holiday Gift Guide

Fireplace Holiday Gift GuideCheck out the 2012 FireplaceMall.com Holiday Gift Guide!

Shopping doesn’t have to be hard! Find gifts for all members of your family with our various fireplace gift categories. We have Gifts for Seniors, Gifts for Him, Gifts for Her, Eco-Friendly Gifts, and more.

Shopping under a budget? Use our budget categories to find the perfect gifts at the perfect price!

Fireplace Gifts Under $50Fireplace Gifts Between $50 and $75Fireplace Gifts Under $100

Posted in Holidays Tagged with:

Hurricane Homesteading: Cook in Fireplace

Millions are without power due to Hurricane Sandy’s wrath, and likely will be for some time. Our thoughts are with those suffering through the floods, fires, and winds.

For those safe and dry in their homes but without power, consider cooking a meal in your fireplace. You’re bound to tire of ramen noodles and canned soup. How does slow-roasted leg of lamb sound? Or herb-marinated chicken? In fact, you don’t even need to be without electricity to try this clever bit of tasty homesteading!

With just a hot fire, a bit of string, and a pan you can have a fire-roasted feast. The meat is hung with string just in front of the fireplace, allowing it to slowly cook. By hanging it with string, the meat will turn by itself, creating a rotisserie effect. This is a great way to save frozen meat you’re worried about losing due to the lack of power. And your friends and family will be duly impressed with your industriousness.

Here’s how to cook in a fireplace from The Firepit and Grilling Guru:

Some tips from the guru:

  • Build a hot fire with a lot of embers. Make sure there is a large bed of hot embers in the fire before starting to cook.
  • Don’t go big. Remember, you’re hanging the meat with string, not an anchor chain. Smaller roasts will take less time to cook as well.
  • Keep the string wet. This keeps the string from drying out and breaking.
  • Marinate before and baste during. Marinating will infuse your roast with flavor and keep the meat from drying out as it cooks. Basting throughout the cooking process will also help, as well as form that golden crust of flavor on the outside.

Stay safe out there.

Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

5 Tips for a Better Fire

Hot roaring fire in the fireplace

How to Build a Better Fireplace Fire

1. Tinder Tricks

Newspaper is the most popular tinder, and works very well. Avoid using color pages with lots of ink though. Another clever choice- toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint. The dryer lint will light very easily, and will burn for a long time when stuffed into the tubes. Make sure your lint is from cotton loads like towels. Polyester melts rather than burns and puts off noxious fumes.

2. Start your Fire with Fatwood.

Fatwood is one of the best natural fire starters available. Loaded with energy-rich resin, just one or two strips of fatwood can have a fire roaring in no time. Wondering where to get some? We’ve got you covered!

3. Build Your Fire on a Grate

Grates raise your fire off the floor, allowing air to flow underneath and stoke the fire as it burns. Grates are available in just about any shape and size, including round for outdoor fire pits, so even if you have an unusual fireplace, there’s a grate that will work for your fireplace. View our fireplace and fire pit grates.

4. Burn Seasoned Firewood

Seasoned firewood, or firewood that has been allowed to dry, burns hotter, lights more easily, and puts off less smoke than unseasoned, green wood. See our recent post on firewood for more information.

5. Add some Color

Just for fun, add color to your fire with Magical Color Pine Cones. These are pine cones that have been treated to burn blue and green. Kids and adults both will love the light show.

To build and sustain a better fireplace fire, follow these 5 tips.

Posted in General, Using Your Fireplace

How to Buy Firewood

Loosely stack firewood while it seasons

Picking a Reputable Seller

If you buy your firewood, make sure the seller is reputable and honest. Unscrupulous sellers may try to pass off unseasoned logs as seasoned, lie about species, etc. If you harvest your own, skip below to picking the best species.

Ask where the seller gets the wood- is it cut locally? Transporting wood over long distances can spread invasive species like the Emerald Ash Borer. Ask how long it’s been seasoned, and under what conditions. Was the wood split and then loosely stacked in a covered building, or has it been sitting out uncovered, being rained on, etc? Even better if they’ll show you where it’s stored. Get recommendations from friends and family for trustworthy sellers.

Deciding on species

The type of species of wood you burn will affect how hot and how long your fire burns as well as how much smoke it puts out. Hardwoods like Ash, Red Oak, and White Oak are easy to light, put off a lot of heat, and smoke very little. If you harvest your own firewood, you’ll want to consider a species that is easy to split also. For more of the best species, see our “9 Best Types of Firewood” post.

How much firewood do you need?

Firewood is typically measured in cords. A cord is a neatly-stacked pile measuring 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 16 feet long (128 cubic feet).One cord of firewood is 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 16 feet long.

How many cords you need will depend on your location and if you use wood as a primary source of heat or just for pleasure. If you live in an area with cold winters and use a wood stove to heat your home, expect to use 5 cords a year or more. If you use wood fires to supplement your heating, 2 cords may be sufficient. For occasional fires used more for pleasure than as a heat source, half a cord may be plenty. If this is your first season burning wood, ask your neighbors and friends how much firewood they use to get an idea of how much you’ll need.

Posted in General, Using Your Fireplace