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I have original Victorian cast-iron fireplaces in my house, in working order (chimneys swept, etc). However they were formerly used with coal grates (16 and 18") and I want to burn wood for reasons of cost and conservation, without making major modifications*

I understand that wood-burning does not require a grate and in fact this will cause the logs to burn too fast. I'm not sure what is preferable then, to find a solid grate - or if I should/can safely set the fire directly on the hearth? The 2nd option would also give me more space to put logs which is good, because a coal grate is pretty small in terms of volume (30cm wide, 20cm deep) for generating heat.

(* Longer term we may replace with a log-burning stove but that's a separate question)

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