A blow poke is a multi purpose tool that is used in a fireplace. They serve a few purposes such as maintaining a fire, cleaning, as well as physical manipulation of a fire itself.
A blow poke, put simply, is a hollow tub you can blow down, stoking the flames with the oxygen you create, like a bellows.
Keep reading to learn more about the blow poke and its usage, below.
Definition Of A Blow Poke
A blow poke is a long metal tube that usually has some prongs at one end. A blow poke can serve multiple functions when making and maintaining a fire.
The most common use of a blow poke is to stoke a fire with oxygen, to help embers catch and to help a fire spread more quickly.
In this way, it operates quite a lot like a bellows, but the oxygen is generated manually through you blowing down the blow poke.
Both a bellows and blow poke both are used for safety too, while you can manually blow onto a fire yourself, both tools allow you to remain at a safe distance.
However, this airflow has a secondary purpose in that it can be used to clear ash and debris from a fire pit or fireplace with air.
Finally, the blow poke, like fire iron or poker, will commonly have prongs on one end of it. The prongs allow you, like a fire iron, to move coals around within the fire itself without risking any burns.
How To Use A Blow Poke
- Position the end of the fire poke toward the fire
- Create a fist over the end you are going to blow into, as not to create direct contact between your mouth and the metal
- Use your fist as the mouthpiece and gently blow down it until you see the embers glow.
- Use the pronged end to manipulate the embers as necessary
To use the blowpoke effectively you want to blow slowly and gently as not to physically move the fire or embers. You simply want to stoke the embers or fire with oxygen, this simply requires directional and consistent airflow, rather than power.
In order to remain safe, don’t get too close to the fire yourself, try to be level with the floor rather than above the fire as if you do blow too hard the embers can go elsewhere, rather than in your face.
Benefits Of Using A Blow Poke
A blow poke can be more safe and effective than a bellows. As bellows require manual operation from your hands, there is more likelihood of blowing too hard and sending the embers out of the fireplace.
Moreover, a bellows has an artificial ‘lung’ that can only hold so much capacity.
The benefit of using the blow poke, instead of the bellows, is that you can consistently blow at a gentler pace, allowing a more steady stream of oxygen which is more conducive to stoking the fire.
On a practical note, a blow poke is basically a hollowed out version of a poker or fire iron, so by having a blow poke you also have the functionality of a poker or fire iron.
Types Of Blow Pokes
A blow poke could, in theory, just be a long hollow stick you can blow down, without a pronged end.
In more modern manufacture, a blow poke will commonly have a pronged end to combine the functionality of a poker and a blow poke together into one tool.
More modern blow pokes can have a wooden handle that doubles up as a mouthpiece. As this end will never come into contact with the fire it can be fine to use as a mouthpiece.
Furthermore this wooden handle allows you to move the embers without any risk of the metal itself heating up.
A modern blow poke may be made from a material such as aluminum oxide. This material is heat resistant, moisture proof and rust proof, this lends itself to[ durability, longevity as well as safety.
More traditional blow pokes may be made from iron, mild steel, or brass. Generally you want a light material so as not to cause safety issues, but one that is heat resistant is also ideal.
To stoke a fire oxygen is needed, but the power at which the oxygen is delivered does not increase the success of stoking. Put simply, do not blow hard down a blow poke but aim for a gentle and directional airflow you can sustain.
Do not attempt to move coals or embers out of a fireplace or fire pit with a poker.
Many modern blow pokes will have one directionality to the airflow to reduce the risk of sucking anything up by accident. In cases of more traditional blow pokes be sure not to inhale while your mouth is connected to the tool.
Finally, a blow poke, like many of these fireplace utensils, can seem like a sword to a child. When used without supervision we should consider pokers and blow pokes a weapon, so be careful when letting children touch or use these tools.
Maintenance And Care
The best way to keep your blow poke maintained for a long period of time, reducing rust and deterioration, is to wipe down with a moist cloth after each use.
To get rid of more stubborn stains or grime you could use a fine steel scourer, using a mix of lemon and salt to restore its brilliance. A layer of vegetable oil can help protect against rust.
A blow poke is a multi use fireplace utensil, with a pronged end it can do everything a fire poke can do but also includes the functionality of the bellows.
The right blow poke can both move colas and embers with its pronged end while also being hollowed out so that you can use it to stoke a fire safely from a distance.
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