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Old 05-13-2008, 02:17 PM   #1
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River Rock Hearth for Wood Stove


For next winter I am contemplating building a river-rock hearth for my wood stove. Anyone have any experience of constructing such a thing? Any advice (other than it's time to increase my meds)?

River-rock from our local streams is a common (and free) facing material round here for walls and fireplaces.

The core of the hearth will be concrete blocks set on the slab. In my mind's eye I see a platform about ten inches in height with a nicely curved backwall to reflect the heat. I expect to get plenty of neighbourly advice and a helping hand or two when I build the thing, but I'd like to design something that is practical to begin with.

I realize that installing a wood stove is not for the faint-hearted, so I won't be offended by prophecies of doom. I prefer to think of it as a challenge rather than a potential quagmire.

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Old 05-14-2008, 03:25 PM   #2
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River Rock Hearth for Wood Stove


I don't see a wood-stove installation as a dooming endeavor. Just do plenty of research about the code requirements. Talk to your building inspector, and also to a stove shop around you (in my experience the building inspector didn't really understand what was required to make a wood stove safe, and I got important advice from the stoveshop where I bought my materials).

How will you get the stove to sit flat on the river-rock hearth if these rocks are rounded?

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Old 05-14-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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How will you get the stove to sit flat on the river-rock hearth if these rocks are rounded?

Great question. I'll cheat.

I'll set precut flat stones as the stove footprint, all properly leveled. Nobody will notice if they are under the stove. (The back foot, by the way, has a screw adjustment in case I still manage to screw up. Maybe that should be a called a screw-up adjustment.)
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:37 PM   #4
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River Rock Hearth for Wood Stove


Ever toss a wet river rock in a campfire? KA-BOOM!

Lesson: Make sure your rocks are dry first!!!
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:26 PM   #5
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Never did that one. I did knock myself cold starting a campfire in Alaska once. The technique is you fill a coffee can with gasoline and stack your wet logs around it. Just make sure the can is full to the top before you apply a match.

Forget the fish, that's the only part of that trip my buddies still talk about.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:22 AM   #6
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Never did that one. I did knock myself cold starting a campfire in Alaska once. The technique is you fill a coffee can with gasoline and stack your wet logs around it. Just make sure the can is full to the top before you apply a match.

Forget the fish, that's the only part of that trip my buddies still talk about.

Now that is humorous. I used to have a picture of myself with out eye brows,or lashes...
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:43 PM   #7
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Now that is humorous. I used to have a picture of myself with out eye brows,or lashes...

Yup. Done that one too. I've mastered most non-fatal goofs on the Stupid Outdoorsman Tricks list. I'm now working on a brand new list of Stupid DIYer Tricks, fixing up the house being how I decided to spend my waning years. I have already discovered how to leave a wrench on top of a tall stepladder so it beans the next person to try moving it. I have also discovered at least a dozen ways to hurt myself with a hammer. (They should come with instructions.)

Do you ever get that 'oh-oh' moment between realizing you are doing something dumb and the inevitable pain that follows? Like when you're tightening a big nut with a wrench and you notice you're not wearing gloves and that if the wrench should slip your knuckles will be stripped of precious skin? And Presto, before you know it you're hopping around in search of bandaids and cussing a blue streak?

My wife says it's a good thing the kids have all fled the nest and that we didn't buy that parrot.
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Old 05-15-2008, 04:52 PM   #8
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lol...................

Just today I had my nail gun pinned back so it would quick fire......Well I now have a 8p hole in my index finger. Nail gun is now factory.......

Finger will be factory in a few days.......Oh the throb............
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:35 PM   #9
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I am very interested in seeing a picture of your hearth. I love the idea and would like to see a picture. We are building a hearth for a new stove and am searching for ideas. Thanks
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Old 11-02-2008, 01:39 PM   #10
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River Rock Hearth for Wood Stove


Just did one a few months ago at my sister in laws. She did most of the work.

You will have to get metal grating to hold that much weight. It will have to have an air space between the wall and the rock face. It has to have an opening at the bottom and an opening at the top. At least that is the code here.

You will have to have some way to keep the rocks from falling off till they set if you have it curve forward.

In my experience really smooth rocks have a hard time sticking and I have resorted to hitting the back side with a grinder to rough them up. Much better to stick to the mortar.

Other than that start collecting rock.

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