Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Almost to the Loft with Stone ( Fireplace IX)

Slow. There is no better word to describe the pace of dry laid stone work, using real stone and keeping tight joints. But I'm almost to the loft! Once I get to the loft, I've decided to build the rest of the chimney with cinder blocks and parge it with lime based stucco. Stone would be nice all the way up, but it is too much work and I need to get on with this house (and life)!

In the first picture you can see two corbels jutting out from the stone work - these will support the mantel (yet to be made! wood? stone?). On the right side of the picture you can see the arched cookbook shelf that I built in to the stone structure. Why go to all that trouble to incorporate a book shelf into a stone wall? Because my wife wanted it... any more questions?

Here's a picture of the front of the fireplace. I highlighted my "dragon rock" with color in this photograph. The dragon rock is a stone that I was trying to remove iron deposits from, but I put down my chisel when I discovered the rusty spot looked very much like a dragon. It was this rock, two years ago, that first convinced me that I shouldn't always try to remove the naturally colorful deposits from the stones.

This third picture shows the stonework around the pizza oven. This is my favorite wall in the whole structure. The colors, stone sizes, balance, and joints just look right to me. I can't figure out why. If I could, I would have made all of the walls look like this one. My consolation is that this is the wall that guests will stare at the most... waiting for their food to come out of the oven.

Finally, a technical photograph. Previously, I had been laying up all of the stones "dry," then numbering them, so that the stone mason could help me disassemble and then reassemble the wall (a few courses at a time) with a dab of mortar between the stones. After watching the stone mason use a grout bag to mortar bricks in the arch, I wondered if he could use the grout bag on the dry laid stones. I asked him, and he said "sure." So now I dry lay the stones and the stone mason leaves them where they are (no disassembly required!) while grouting the joints on the back side of the wall. Just as before, we'll carefully place wet concrete inside of this wall and the structure will be super solid.


Anonymous Kate H. said...

Oh, that stonework is lovely!

I'm glad to see the pizza oven. I was wondering where your bread oven was, and here, your bread will be pizza!

February 13, 2008 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger oldmilwaukee said...

Sorry, I confuse myself! I go back and forth on whether to call it a bread oven or a pizza oven, but it's the same oven!!! Before long, I'll be calling it the pig-smoker. Just depends on what I'm hungry for that day I guess. heh heh.

February 14, 2008 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger topper said...

I've been admiring your blog for quite some time now; that is quite a house you're building. I've been designing my own timberframe house for a while, and just started pre-fabbing the frame. Check it out:

It's got a long ways to go, but I'll get there.

February 20, 2008 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger oldmilwaukee said...


You have a great start. I've already added your blog to my offsite links (list of DIY timberframers with blogs). Your first pieces look absolutely great. I like the fact that you are following the K.I.S.S. rule. Similar bents through-out. It will take a while but you could very well finish before me given my pace and unnecessary complications!

February 20, 2008 at 10:06 PM  

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