By Dusty Overby
on 12.3.09

hearth-gear-patrol

We see a lot of innovative gear stroll through the proverbial doors of Gear Patrol HQ. That said, it’s not too often that we find ourselves taken aback by a product that is truly unique in doing its job far better than any of its competitors. Still, that’s just how we feel about The Grate Wall of Fire, a beast of a fireplace grate born of hot-rolled steel and the American ingenuity of the Richard brothers in rural Connecticut. Jared and Micah know a thing or two about cooking up a blazing hot roaster, and their stud fireplace grates can make even the most pyrotechnically-challenged among look like a regular Survivorman.

Hear more about our red-hot love affair with this American-made product after the jump.

Anyone who has an open-hearth fireplace has likely struggled to get a good fire going and, once it’s up and running, you still likely find yourself constantly stoking and poking, add wood relentlessly. Even worse, the inefficiency of a typical fireplace pyre means that, other than a romantic look, most of your blaze’s effect is going up your chimney without radiating the bulk of its heat into your home.

The revolutionary design of The Grate Wall of Fire (aptly named, no doubt) produces stove-like efficiency from an open fire, giving you the best of both worlds. Basically, the GWF creates a fire that’s stacked vertically against either the back wall of your firebox or one of their handmade firebacks, a concept that has several beneficial effects (the diagram here is pretty illustrative). From a heating standpoint, the GWF fire allows for a stout bed of embers to form, and for that bed to face outward, radiating maximum heat out into the room, as opposed to diffusing it inefficiently in multiple directions. Fires built behind the Grate Wall seem to stoke themselves, as logs continuously auto-feed into the embers, eliminating the need to tend the fire almost entirely. In contrast to the increased heat produced, the draft induction properties of the GWF mean a less smoky fire, eliminating one more objection to burning wood indoors. Additionally, the vertical design virtually eliminates any opportunity for a flaming log to come rolling out of the hearth and onto your bearskin rug. That can be a real mood-killer, or so we’ve been told.

firepitIn addition to the practicalities, the Richard brothers’ creations are quite handsome works. This editor jerked a well-worn insert box out of his fireplace to test the Great Wall and, on account of the many compliments the new look has garnered, there will be no going back. Decorative ornaments and andirons are available to fancy up any of the 4 widths and 3 heights in which the standard grate is offered. The boys also offer special grates for see-thru fireplaces, brutish firewood racks, and an outdoor “Sit Around” firepot that’s perfect for chill winter nights (pictured at right).

There really isn’t a fireplace accessory that you can find to compare to the look and performance of The Grate Wall of Fire. Trust us; we tried. Considering the quality of the construction that goes into the Grate Wall, the increased efficiency you’ll see and feel from your fireplace, and the upgrade to your man-cave’s decor, we consider this product to be well worth the price of admission. The Grate Wall’s style is timeless and it’s pretty much indestructible, so you can plan on a long, smoldering relationship with this must-have bit of cold weather kit.

Cost: Starting at $90

Editor’s Note: I spoke to Jared on the phone about his creations before I got to test the GWF for myself. It’s clear that he and his brother are stand-up guys that are passionate about what they do. Gear Patrol loves to support small businesses that are making it happen, so keep up the good work, gents.