Fire Iron




About: Analog maker dabbling in digital manufacture

Sugru is a moldable silicone that's an all-in-one putty/glue/rubber/modeling clay for repair jobs. If you're not careful, whatever you fix with it will look like you've done so with bubblegum, right down to showing your fingerprints, but to be fair, they do say "hack things better", not "make your stuff look pretty". On the plus side: it's not just versatile, it's also heat-resistant, grippy and sticks to all sorts of surfaces. 

Playing to sugru's strengths, and taking the "hack" bit to heart, I decided to use mine to help make a poker for my wood-burning stove. A poker is a type of fire iron, and to make things easy, I made mine from an old tire iron. I just had to change one letter.

Why? I've never owned a poker, having always just used a stick of green wood instead. However, they periodically need replacing or get burned accidentally, so a real poker would be a fine thing. I like burning stuff, so idle fire optimization is an activity I frequently indulge in.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

You'll need a metal rod of some sort, and some sugru. My metal rod was an old tire iron that I found under the deck when we moved into our house. Length and diameter depends on the size of your fire and the weight you want. Rebar would work fine, and add extra hacker cachet.

You'll also need a file, a hacksaw and some sandpaper.

Step 2: What Is Sugru, Anyway?

It says on the label "methyltris(methylethylketoxime)silane and gamma-aminopropyl triethoxysilane", but these are just crosslinking agents for silicones (they're irritants, which is probably why sugru has to report them). Most of the sugru is probably polydimethylsilicone, which is pretty benign. Crosslinking the silicone makes it rubbery instead of liquid. The different functional groups on the crosslinkers allows the silicone polymers to stick to a variety of different surfaces as well as to each other. Clever boffins.

Step 3: Prepare Iron Rod

Cut the metal rod to length. I just lopped the end off my tire iron off at the bend with a reciprocating saw (a hacksaw would be fine, but more work). It's 450 mm long, and 13 mm in diameter, so it's pleasingly weighty. Round both ends with a file. I kept the levering end of my tire iron, but filed it a little so it wouldn't scratch any surfaces. Clean up the rod if you like; I sandpapered the chipping paint and rust off until it was reasonably smooth.

Step 4: Add Heat-resistant Handle

Open your favorite colour of sugru. I guesstimated how much I'd need and mixed 3 green and 1 blue. Flatten out and wrap around the end to form a grippy handle in a style of your choosing. You can get the grip nice and smooth and fingerprint-free if you roll it out (use cling film to protect the surface). Leave to cure overnight.

Step 5: Use

Light a fire, and push flaming logs around at will with your new poker. Marvel at the cool grip. Enjoy the warmth of a well-stoked blaze. Bonus: if you use a tire iron like I did, you also now own a giant (albeit low-torque) screwdriver and a handy pry bar. Congratulations!

Note: thanks to Instructables for sending me the key ingredient - sugru is fun to use and the finish on the handle turned out way better than I was expecting.

Runner Up in the
Sugru Contest



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    11 Discussions

    Mr Steve

    8 years ago on Step 5

    I have a suggestion. Before you cut the end off put the other end in a vice, square a portion of the stock. Put on welding gloves.Then heat that portion to orange glow. Give it a slow twist. Let go if it is too hot! You should have a nice spiral effect.

    1 reply
    makendoMr Steve

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    Good idea, but sadly I'm forge-less. I suspect the spiral would pretty subtle on something with a round cross section, but a square rod would produce a nice helix.
    And thanks for noticing the pun :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice to see something done with Sugru that doesn't look like it's just been squidged round like, as you say, bubblegum for a change.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. It wasn't hard to get a decent finish - it's a lot like modelling clay in consistency. We've found if you do the initial shaping by hand and then avoid touching it at all except with tools for the final finishing, it comes out all right.

    makendoThe Ideanator

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot. We experimented with a few different finishes, but this was the easiest to get looking nice and regular - and it was quick, too.

    The Ideanatormakendo

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I put some on my Leatherman as a handle and used the knurled part of a dental tool to texture it.
    Also congrats on the runner up position!