Masons: Smoke Shelf removal?
Any Masons in the house?
I would like to put an insert into the large fireplace in our 100+ year old money pit. The problem is that the fireplace seems to be very oddly sized and no inserts will fit by my measurements,
The actual opening of the fireplace is quite large....41" wide and 32" high. The problem is that it has a very aggressive smoke shelf. The depth of the fireplace at the base is 20 inches but at about 12" up the back wall the smoke shelf begins encroaching, reducing clearance. Most inserts need the depth to be maintained for at least 16 inches. I don't understand why someone would make this large fireplace (and chimney) with such a shallow area for the actual fire.
Now...if I could remove that smoke shelf and make it a nice box, I would be golden. Can the smoke shelf be easily removed? I realize once you do this you can never go back without a pricey re-build, but my only other option is to get a small freestanding woodstove and just pipe it through the fireplace...an idea I don't really care for.