Once the excitement has worn off after a few weeks of heavy stove use, you start looking to make life a little easier. It’s a bit like having a puppy – you love having one around but you realise you have to take care of it to stop it running amok and biting your neighbour.
Stoves are easy to use but there are tools on the market to speed up the processes involved with running a stove.
The first thing to do is to get your hands on a decent, robust companion set. Complete with an array of pokers, shovels, brushes and tongs, companion sets are often stored neatly near the stove in a stylish and handy stand. Companion sets provide you with the tools needed whilst the stove in in operation and come in plenty of styles to suit your room.
A log carrier is log transportation for the thinking man. Bringing logs in from the outside can become a bit of a chore. Naturally you want to make as few trips outside as possible, so without a log carrier you face a precarious game of log-Jenga in your arms. Stack ‘em high and watch ‘em tumble. Plus logs from outside have a tendency to cover your arms and hands with sawdust, dirt and splinters. So, a log carrier side steps this whole rigmarole and makes life far more comfortable.
After a few burns in your stove there’s a good chance you’ve got some ash to clean out. Yet between you and the bin (or garden) lies a treacherous obstacle course of carpets, sofas and soft furnishings. You could be brave; lay a newspaper over the ashpan, gauge the indoor wind direction and speed and desperately try to avoid tipping ash on the floor. Or, for those of us who just want an easy life, buy an ash caddy. Tip the ash into the caddy from the pan and shut the lid, trapping the dust and debris. Easy-peasy.
Whilst we’re on the subject of ash, it is worth getting yourself an ash vacuum cleaner. Your ordinary domestic vacuum cleaner isn’t cut out for clearing out excessive amounts of ash and if you continue to use it for this purpose, it will stop working. A dedicated ash-vac, as it’s known by those in-the-know, is a bag-less vacuum that can also pick up sawdust and sand. Obviously, wait for the ash to cool before you start cleaning.
Bulk buy your fuel. Again, you don’t want to run out at a critical moment, but you also want to save money. Buying logs from a petrol forecourt, in small bags, will result in you paying extortionate prices for not a lot of fuel. Instead buy large crates of kiln dried wood and store it correctly. The sooner you realise this the sooner you start saving money.
Stock up on maintenance supplies. You know how it will go: a huge snow storm will be forecast to reach you by nightfall, with chances of extended blackouts and freezing temperatures. The defiant thought will pop into your head: ‘do your worst, snow, I will stay warm and cosy with my stove.’ And then, as you go to light said stove, you will notice the stove rope, which seals the stove when the door is shut, has failed. As a result, you will suffer the storm in a fashion akin to Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Be prepared people, buy spare parts to make quick fixes easily.