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Old 07-21-2009, 04:01 PM   #1
 
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Building a fireplace with no kit


I am building an outdoor fireplace. I would like to know can I make the box around the firebox from old brick or do I need to use cmu? Also all the info I can find says the smoke chamber needs to be smooth. If I build it from stair stepped brick is that smooth enough? If not how do I make it smooth?
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l dingman View Post
I am building an outdoor fireplace. I would like to know can I make the box around the firebox from old brick or do I need to use cmu? Also all the info I can find says the smoke chamber needs to be smooth. If I build it from stair stepped brick is that smooth enough? If not how do I make it smooth?
Yes, you could build the surround & backing out of brick, but you have to make sure it's all inter-woven to itself to have any kind of strength. Obviously, the CMU are a stronger option IMO, but normally require additional facing in comparison to the brick. Note that I would recommend at least 2 wythes (layers) of brick deep behind the firebox back. In my experiences, there's a lot of heat that will transfer through the firebrick (you are using firebrick, right?) at this spot. Even better would be to lay up one layer of 4" heavy weight block behind the firebox, hang out some wall ties, & then put a layer of veneer brick behind.

I've seen and labored for masons laying the throat & smoke chamber many times, but is has to be 15 or 20 years since. From what I recall, they always used cream city or chicago pink brick, as they are very pourous (suckers), completly solid, lightweight, & were readily available. They were never stepped in stair fashion as your considering, but layed in the as smooth a radius as possible. Much easier said than done. They always plastered them with ordinary mortar to ease them even more. There is definately an art to this part, & requires a complete understanding of airflow/venturi's etc.. These guys knew what worked because they had seen what didn't work, & many of the old-timers I worked with layed hundreds of these up in their hayday.

That being said, I don't personally care for the "conventional style" fireplace of the 20'th century & always opt for the rumford style. You can purchase the throat & smoke chamber pre-made, & I can guarantee they will draw! To save a little money, you can also purchase seperate throat sections (12" long) & covings that bear on a angle iron which will also create the perfect venturi. The latter is more difficult than the first, but still far easier & more efficient than "guessing" forming your own.

Lastly, I realize this is outside & you want to save money & don't worry too much about it belching some smoke out. I'm in the process of finally building one for myself at my house. I cheated & used a piece of old concrete culvert cut up to form the throat. I've done many rumfords & am familiar with their throat design, so I'm comfortable doing this. It did take a lot more work & time to use this though compared to the buckley-rumford premade components. I also plastered it with refactory cement to help hold the heat at bay from the cement. I'm in no way suggesting you go this route, as I have no idea how long it may last, but I'm personally willing to take the chance & learn.

If nothing else, post some pictures of the finished fireplace. Good Luck!
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:54 PM   #3
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You need to use firebrick in the firebox if you want the fireplace to last at all. The corbeling in the smoke chamber should be parged smooth with mortar. The IRC code book actually has some really good diagrams that you can use for an example.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:55 PM   #4
 
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I have decided on the rumford style. I want to build it old school.I understand the design, I just don't know how to build it. everyone has been alot of help. can anyone suggest some reading?
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:02 AM   #5
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Prefab components for Rumford style fireplaces:



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