Also known as "firedogs" because of their forward, leggy stance, andirons are the support system for your logs. The horizontal shank keeps the logs aloft for better burning, and the ornamental vertical bar holds the logs in place. Heavy duty, yet decorative, andirons can add personalized panache when replacing a standard cradle log holder.
Here are a few suggestions on what to look for when a pair of andirons for your fireplace.
- Andirons should be made from a very sturdy material so that they will not break or buckle in high temperatures over time.
- Andirons should be heavy enough so that they will not move easily when you are adding firewood to the fire.
- The length of the andiron is called the shank. If you burn wood in your fireplace, you would use a long shank andiron to hold the wood. If you have gas logs, a short shank andiron is used.
- The rule of thumb for andiron height is one-half to three-quarters of the height of the fireplace opening, but this isn't written in stone. It is only common sense that a large fireplace requires larger fittings; they will look better and can handle the larger-size logs you will be burning.
- Andirons are always found in pairs, these consist of ornamental vertical elements backed by horizontal footed bars that hold the fire off the ground, allowing for better combustion.