Contributor Blog Post

Client: Wayward Stock


For this post, I took on a challenge of writing about a mundane topic and trying to make it interesting. The fire-poking stick is about as basic as you can get, but I tried to make it fun


Permalink: waywardjournal.com

Contribution: Words and Photos

THE ORIGINAL WIZARD STAFF: The Most Under-Appreciated Piece of Gear

WHILE LACKING AN OFFICIAL OR EVEN A CATCHY NAME, THE FIRE POKING STICK STANDS OUT FROM ALL OTHER STICKS DUE TO ITS UTILITARIAN SHAPE, LENGTH, AND GENERAL ERGONOMIC QUALITIES. NO CONVERSATION OR DEBATE NEEDS TO BE EXCHANGED, THE FIRE POKING STICK IS MUTUALLY AND WORDLESSLY AGREED UPON.

Once a stick is chosen for fire poking duty, respect is henceforth given unto said stick throughout the course of a blaze. And, much like a wizard’s wand, the fire poking stick rarely leaves the hand of the fire tender while they work their magic, silently casting spells as they maneuver logs to prime burning positions.

The fire poking stick is one of those things that exists purely out of need and was probably one of the first tools unwittingly created by cavemen, just after the bashing rock and the spear. Generally considered to be a more practical solution to using your hand or foot to adjust a fire, the poking stick gets constant use. Whether pushing logs into position, arranging an oven for mallow roasting, or mindless tinkering, the fire poking stick is one of the most valuable tools around.

There are not really any set standards for a fire poking stick, it usually comes down to picking the best from what’s available. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and someone will have left a previous poker, proudly wearing its charred battle scars, ready for another mission. But a lot of times you’ll be on your own to pick a poking stick. What makes a good fire stick though? What makes it stand out from other sticks?

Length

Too short and you’ll be singeing the hair off your knuckles, too long and you might as well be using a shovel. Anything around two feet long is a good enough length for control and safety.

Girth

You want something that can easily be grasped with one hand. Too thick you’ll have a hard time with precision placements and too thin will not give you enough power to flip that un-burnt end around.

Smooth Grip

It doesn’t have to start this way, but if you’ve truly found a good poking stick, give it a little TLC. Carving off the bark around the hands and smoothing it out is a way to take it to the next level and demand ultimate respect from others not so adept with the cultural norms.

Straightness

The straighter the stick, the easier it will be to use and the more power you’ll have--physical and magical.

Bonus Points

The addition of some sort of hook or nub on the end of the stick works well for advanced-level log positioning.

Every once in awhile, someone will mistakenly throw the designated fire poking stick into the fire. It hurts deep in your heart at first, after all that poker has been through a lot. That’s not a dignified way to go out. After verbally scolding them be sure to teach them appropriate etiquette so they won’t make the same mistake again, because the fire poking stick is as much a part of a campfire as the stone ring and roasting marshmallows.