Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Above the loft with block (Fireplace Part XI)

We're above the loft now and going a faster on the chimney than we did on the fireplace because we're using block instead of stone. Eventually, we will parge the outside of the block with stucco. I would have loved to have taken the stone all the way to the ceiling, but its just too much work.

The man in the blue shirt is our "masonry consultant." Now that I'm done with the stonework, I've reverted to a common laborer... mixing mortar, carrying materials, buttering block, and mostly just annoying the mason with crazy ideas and questions. The man directly below him is a friend who showed up today and volunteered to help... in fact he's the (crafts)man who made six of the doors for our house... he was bored of working in his shop... late winter (mud season) will do that to you.

The most visible flue liner in this picture is a 16"x20" that vents the Rumford fireplace. I'm guessing these flue liners weigh at least 150 to 200 lbs each. Santa Claus does not need magic to fit down these! The kids asked why the big flue liner was slanted and I told them that was to slow Santa's fall as he approaches the fireplace. Their attitude switched from amusement to keen interest when I told them the bigger flue liner might allow for bigger presents.

At 18" above the loft, the chimney steps in 16" on both sides. I needed the extra 16" to contain the flue liners without slanting them more than 30 degrees. We decided to truncate the 16" steps at 18" so they'll make built-in (hot?) seats for us to sit on!

The second photograph shows the four flue liners inside the chimney. All of them are plumb now, except for the small pizza oven flue liner... it must come in line with the two 8.5x8.5 flue liners before it can travel vertically. Although lower down in the fireplace I let concrete touch the flue liners, we're now trying to maintain an air gap between the flue liners and the cement block. The horizontal reinforcing wire and vertical rebar in this chimney might be overkill, but it is neither difficult nor expensive to incorporate in the structure. Well, not too difficult... the blocks must be lifted up and lowered around the rebar, and the cores containing rebar must be poured full of grout, but at least I know this thing is not likely to fall during a minor earthquake!

I took several pictures (this last one included) today from the 28+ feet of scaffolding that my wife has been using to sand and polyurethane the rafters and purlins near the ceiling. Our drywall finisher was nice enough to leave much of his scaffolding at our house for a few months so my wife could finish the timbers and paint the walls. I doubt either of us will be dusting up here very often after the house is finished, but for now it makes an interesting perspective for photographs.