Fireplace Grate by Jock Dempsey - click for enlargement
Click for Enlargement
Fireplace Grate

Demonstration by Jock Dempsey

January 16, 2002
This is one of the first things I made when I started blacksmithing. It is an original design that has many possibilities. It was made from straightened wagon tire steel using very simple tools. The basic design can be used for various styles with simple changes.

It has the advantage of being bolted together so that it can be shipped broken down in a flat box.

Figure 2
This design can be scaled to fit any size fireplace so I am not going to be giving very detailed dimensions. The original was made as shown with three support bars as shown but could be made with four or five as needed.

A small grate would be made using 3/8" x 2" bar and a larger one of 1/2" by 2 or 2-1/2" flat bar. Length would be 24" to 30". The spacer bars are cut 3-1/2" to 4" longer than the spacing.

Figure 3
The ends of the long bars are slpit about 6". Splitting can be done hot on a hardy (the way I did it) or with a hot chisel. It could also be done with a torch if you can cut a straight line or sawed on a bans saw.

Figure 4
After splitting both ends open up the end that will be the front. This gets forged first and opening the other ends will get in the way.

Figure 5
Draw the ends out into a smooth taper according to your style. When done you may want to dress the bend radius on the horn.

Figure 6
Scroll up the ends as shown and adjust into a smooth "S" curve.

Figure 7
After finishing the front bend the back legs and adjust until the center is level. The bolt hole shown can be punched or drilled.

Figure 8
The spacer bars are split as shown. This can be done hot with a chisel or cold with a hacksaw. The holes are easier to drill while the part is flat.

Figure 9
Scroll up the tapered pieces as shown. After making this drawing I realized it would be easier to bend the bolt tab back FIRST then do the scrolls. Seems I made the same mistake when I made this. . .

Figure 10
When finished the spacer bars should look like this. Here I've shown the corners textured. There are many ways to treat this part according to your taste or design.

Figure 11
To assemble the spacer bars are bolted in as shown in this top view. You could also rivet the joints but the bolts are mostly hidden and they allow the grate to be maintained or disassembled.

Figure 1 - Click Here
The finished grate the way I made it 25 years ago. It is sort of a combination device replacing andirons but not as heavy.

There are many modifications you could make to my original design. A few follow.

Figure 12
The spacer bars could be slit and drifted as shown, the outer corners dressed to points matching the drifted hole.

Figure 13
Here is another idea. The bars are slit twice and opened up with an "eye" shaped drift. The center dressed as shown and front incised.

Both of these are basic forging methods that produce nice results.

Figure 14
Instead of a plain scroll a fish tail scroll would dress it up a little. Here two grooves have been fullered to produce texture and widen the end of the scroll.

Figure 15
Splitting with a chisel could also add some decorative features.

Figure 16
The tops could be forged into dragon or animal heads, spit from the front and made in hearts. . . anything you can thing of.

Figure 17
An option at the back is to split at an angle as shown and draw out the extra material in the bottom leg as shown.

Figure 18
IF you want to increase the ridgidity you can drill holes at the back and use spacers cut from 1/2" pipe and a piece of threaded rod to hold the parts together. If the grate is to be used in a large fireplace with heavy logs this might be a good idea.

Figure 19
One last idea, the top scrolls made to fit a cross bar. The spacers made of round stock to match. There are hundreds of possibilities starting with this basic design.
Questions? Comments?
Guru, I think I have seen those spacers somewhere before. :)

Great Grate ! This is one that I want to build for my fireplace. Thanks for the ideas.
Snow Smith
Jock I'm left in awe by your hand drawn graphic art talent! Number 19 is a bell ringer!!!
Looks like it can be as simple or ornate asyou want --- near idea. The open holes in some designs would let fire light shine through too. nice. Thanks.
Holes could be made to look like glowing eyes!
Fancy up both ends and you have a matching log holder

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