Dog irons, or Andirons as they are also known, are one of the oldest pieces of fire place furniture, having know to be in use in Britain as early as 300 A.D. Originally they were used to rest burning logs against in the fire itself before grates were introduced. Then they were used to carry the grates themselves.
The dog iron is possibly the greatest opportunity to express your specific look within the fire place, as well as capturing some heritage with traditional marterials such as iron and bronze, and craftsmenship such as those of a small foundry or blacksmith. The range of styles is limitless, with a myriad of historical designs to draw upon for inspiration. On a Camelot woodburning fire the dog irons are generally set on arms away from the fire, but not always.
The grate front has an important function in retaining the burning logs and allowing air to the base of the fire, whilst still granting sight of the warm glow of the embers. Designs are often of a portcullis type with various finishes, including scroll tops and slit fish tail. Horizontal bars made from hand forged and assembled steel is another style often used. Sometimes additional design details such as in an Adams style grate are added.