Beth likes living life in the slow lane. She takes time to enjoy the little things in life.
Gifts for Someone With a Woodburning Stove
A wood burner is so cozy in winter. I love to sit and stare into the flames, and make plans for the future. Here are some stocking-filler gift ideas for you or a friend that has a natural wood or coal-burning fire. I would love to receive any (or all) of them.
- Color Changing Fir Cones
- Stove Black Polish and Grate Cleaner
- IOU or Time Credit Note
- Flue Thermometer and Heat Distributor Fan
- Leather Welding or Firefighter Gloves
- Wood-Burning Tips for Bookworms
- Fireside Companion Set
1. Color Changing Fir Cones
This is a great gift for the person who has everything. I love these magical color changing cones. They are fun and quirky, and have the wow factor. Burning them is like creating your own personal fireworks display in your fireplace. The pinecones are a natural forest product that have been coated in a thin layer of copper sulfate. You may remember from your high school chemistry lessons that copper sulfate reacts with heat to give a blue-green flame. So as the coating burns, the stove fire changes in color from orange to blue and green. They have been described as like having the Northern Lights giving you a personal display in your stove.
The nice thing about this present is that it’s environmentally friendly, and socially helpful. They are a by-product of a community enterprise where the pinecones are gathered to be made into Christmas decorations. The cones used for color-magic are the ones that have fallen onto the forest floor and become slightly damaged. The perfect ones are sold as Christmas decorations. The process of coating them with the color changing solution is labor intensive and so these workshop factories are a valuable source of employment in rural areas.
2. Stove Black Polish and Grate Cleaner
The best stocking-filler that I got last Christmas was this tube of grate polish. I don’t usually get excited about cleaning materials, but I had been searching everywhere for stove blacking. Few stores seem to stock it now, as many homes no longer use cast iron stoves. After 5 years regular use my wood-burner was starting to look a little tired and to show the first signs of rust. Black stove polish cleans and preserves the iron, and it prevents rust appearing if applied regularly. Thanks to my friend who gave me the cleaner, my stove is rejuvenated and looks like new once more.
3. IOU or Time Credit Note
If you’re short of money this year, you could make a gift of your time instead. You could give an IOU offering to chop wood, or to empty the ash tray. A time credit note may be more appreciated than a physical gift, especially if the recipient is elderly or disabled. It’ll provide a free regular work-out for you too, without needing to go to the gym.
One daily chore is cleaning the glass window of the wood-burning stove. It only takes a few seconds if done regularly, and means that you can enjoy the sight of real living flames. There’s no need to use a chemical wood stove glass cleaner either. A wet rag and a dab of yesterday’s ash an abrasive, is a cheap (free) method, and it works.
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4. Stove Thermometer and Heat Distributor Fan
My next gift suggestion is about safety and fuel economy rather than fun, but that could make it more attractive to the recipient if they’re trying to save money. A flue thermometer and stove fan are inexpensive and easy to install. They help reduce running costs, and improve the safety of your wood burner. This means they make a great choice for a gift, as you’ll be remembered by the receiver whenever they see their lowered heating bills.
A flue thermometer saves money by ensuring the stove stays within the optimum temperature range of 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat powered stove fan improves room air circulation by pushing warm air out from the fireplace into a larger room area than happens by natural air movement alone. I use this 5-blade flue pipe stove fan with magnetic thermometer. It doesn’t need any batteries or mains power to operate, and starts automatically as the wood burner heats up. It can be placed on top of the stove or tied with a metal collar to the flue if that’s more convenient. The thermometer is attached to the flue or top of the stove with a magnet.
Using a flue thermometer provides instant feedback in how hot the fire is burning. By adjusting the number and size of logs burned, and keeping the fire within the optimal temperature range, you can avoid creosote build-up in the chimney flue. A stove with its vents damped or closed down too much produces flue temperatures in the 100-200 degree Fahrenheit range. These temperatures are not high enough to sufficiently combust the fuel, and leads to creosote deposits within the flue and chimney. The fire should be kept burning between 300-450 degrees Fahrenheit. Most stove thermometers are marked with three zones to indicate the correct running temperature; creosote build-up, optimum performance, and overheat.
5. Leather Welding or Firefighter Gloves
Fireplace leather gloves need replacing every season, so you can be sure this gift will be appreciated. Leather cowhide or pigskin gauntlet gloves protect hands and wrists from burns. They make it easy to manipulate logs if you find using tongs and poker too clumsy. These HearToGear leather gauntlet gloves are ideal. They provide safety with comfort at a reasonable price. I also like their cheerful bright red color.
Heavy-duty cowhide gloves are fireproof and heat resistant. They are sometimes known as welding or firefighter gloves. If you know someone who likes to get a bit too close to the flames, this is the perfect stocking filler present. Be sure to choose gauntlet-type gloves, so that the forearm, wrist, and hands are all protected. The intense heat from burning wood or coal can burn a person even if their skin is not in direct contact with the fire.
6. Wood-Burning Tips for Bookworms
On a cold winter’s day I like to curling up in front of my wood burner with a good book. Here’s one that I was given when I first got my stove installed. The Log Book: Getting the Best From Your Woodburning Stove makes an ideal gift for someone who’s new to owning a wood-burning stove. I reread my copy every year as it’s full of useful advice. It’s written in common-sense clear English, so you don’t have to be Science Major to enjoy it. It’s full of tips about how coal, and wood fires work, and helps you get the best burn time from your fuel. It covers topics such as how to choose the right timber for your needs, or the pros and cons of kiln-dried timber versus home seasoned, and much, much more.
7. Fireside Companion Tool Set
If you want to spend a bit more, and have a large stocking to fill, a useful accessory for a wood burner is a fireside companion set. For a stove that burns only wood, an angled poker, brush and dustpan are best. If you’re using a dual-fuel wood-burning stove, then fire tongs, a straight poker, and a shovel are needed to cope with the lumps of coal.
The angled poker or a straight one with a hook attached is used rearrange the logs when the fire is hot; you can pull back burnt areas and reveal unburned ones. The scoop or shovel is for removing spent ash from the stove once it has cooled down. The broom and shovel are for sweeping stray bits of dust from around the hearth to save having to fetch a heavy vacuum cleaner to do the job.
There are many designs of fireside tool sets on the market, and some come as complete unit with a log storage rack attached. The advantage of this type is that logs for the next fire are kept tidy, bone dry, and ready for use. However, some people prefer to use a willow basket for their logs as it gives a countryside feel to the room. A basket may also easier to fill and carry wood into the house from the woodstore.
My view is that a rustic woven basket is pretty, but carrying logs can be back-breaking. I prefer something on wheels, maybe a mini wheelbarrow which you could decorate. Other similar options for gifting are a fabric log carry-bag combined with an indoor wood storage rack or tub.