If you’re new around here you might not know I have a wood burning stove. If you’re not new, you know ALL about it and quite frankly I’m surprised you’re still here.
I do tend to go on about my wood stove, cutting and chopping wood and all that goes with it. If you are still here odds are you get it. You get my passion for the wood stove, splitting axes, chainsaws, boots, gloves, sweat and effort.
My good friend John Paul gets it. He’s been heating his home with a single, wood burning, soapstone stove for well over ten years now. A few years ago for Christmas we gave him a firehawk, a handy poker-blower combo that makes reviving a smoldering fire a great joy. I’ll post a review of that tool later, for now I want to talk about the tool he gave me this year, aptly named The Best Smart Ash Shovel.
Simply put, The Best Smart Ash Shovel is a fireplace shovel with a hinged wire grate over it that allows you to remove spent ash from your fireplace or stove without removing the coals. I cannot express how amazingly awesome this is.
If you have a stove you know that the coals are a prime commodity. That’s heat. Coals are just little chunks of wood, scorched to charcoal hardness that’s on fire. Coals are what you want in a wood burning stove. In fact the whole wood burning process is just a vehicle to get coals.
In wood burning parlance, coals are the shit.
There’s so much heat to be gleaned from those glowing embers. The problem comes when the ash (wood that has been burnt to the point it won’t burn no more) has built up to such a point that it’s affecting airflow and threatening to smother those oh so essential coals.
Historically I’ve put off cleaning out the stove until I just can’t put it off any more. Usually I wait to scoop the ash until the air intake is threatening to clog and the space for new wood is limited. I try my best to rake all the hot coals to one side, remove the ash on that side and then rake them over to the other side so I can get the ash that’s left. Invariably, I end up removing more coals than I want.
It’s just a mess, because now, not only have I robbed my stove of precious heat, but I have these chunks of fiery hotness sitting in my bucket of ash. It’s neither safe nor practical to let this sit on the hearth, so now I have to take it outside and let it cool before it can be dumped onto the compost heap. Normally that wouldn’t be such a big deal but for fire safety’s sake I have put it away from the house, but I have these two ginormous German Shepherds and the odds of those ash buckets are not knocked over and scattered are pretty much nil.
With The Best Smart Ash Shovel I don’t have to worry. The wire “cover” only allows the fine ash to sift through to the shovel and with a quick shake the coals are knocked aside and back into the stove. Each morning I give the stove four or five scoops and I maintain a very efficient stove the rest of the day.
There’s a demo video on the website. In it the owner/inventor shows how you can using the natural draft of the fireplace to draw the fine ash dust that often wafts up when you dump the contents of your shovel. It basically gets sucked back into the stove and cuts down on the amount of dust that tends to settle in your home.
This is basic ingenuity at its finest. A guy with a problem, solves that problem and then takes his invention to market. If nothing else buying a Best Smart Ash Shovel supports and revives what was once great about this world.