With the cold weather approaching, our family moves inside for many activities.  We also welcome a new part-time family member to these Fall and Winter days, the fireplace.  Since I was a kid, the crackling and heat of a fire in the fireplace has been the ultimate sign of luxury.  Gas fireplaces are ok, but wood-burning is my first choice.

To that end I've become somewhat of an expert firestarter.  I have many tricks but none so beneficial as a fireplace frame I discovered many years ago.  It's called a Texas Fireframe, and it not only makes starting a fire easy (I'm talking one-match easy), but it also makes the best use of the heat in the fireplace--throwing it out into the house instead of into the neighborhood.

 

The design is simple, allowing for upper logs to sit above the lower, but not on them, using adjustable racks rising up from the main grate.  By the simple act of letting a little air into that space, the fire starts faster, burns hotter and throws the added heat into the room.

I can remember the frustrating days of packing a fireplace with pine starters, newspaper and those Dura-flame logs trying to get a good crackling fire. Once the newspaper or pine burned out, the logs would co cold.  And the remaining char they were left with seemed to never light again!  The Dura-flame worked fine, but I always thought I was cheating, and never got the satisfying crackle of a real fire.

This grate, The Texas Fireframe, will burn unseasoned firewood, damp wood and other logs you might otherwise not bring inside because of the smoke/smell.

If you are refurbishing you fireplace, consider this grate.  It's pricey, but worth every penny.