Andirons, also known as firedogs because they approximate the stance of a dog, are supports that are used in a fireplace to hold the logs while they burn. Andirons are available in a variety of designs that can be very decorative as well as useful, but because of their functionality there are a few things to look for when purchasing a pair 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.