Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back To The Inside

After a year sitting unfinished, the wood stove project is picking up steam again and I hope to get some free heat outta this baby come winter. Up to this point the main structure was framed out and covered in 1/2" cement board, but that was the extent of it. First thing to get sorted out was a hearth and hearth extension. The hearth extension I decided on slate and was able to find two pieces of slate - one about 3/4" thick which I hoped would do the job but it only gave me 2" past the front of the stove and code is 16". So I found the 2nd piece which added another 16" out and this was 1 1/2" thick. Using a diamond blade the slate cut much easier than anticipated, so getting them sized up was no sweat. Under the thinner piece I added 1/2" cement board and 1/8" metal shims that got me spot on with the other piece of slate.

The firebox hearth I used self leveling cement which I poured until even with the slate. I used 1/2" cement board under this as well. The final results came out great and could pass as being original to the house.

Next was installing a brick veneer on the walls of the firebox that I finished framing in and installing cement board for a base. I found these at Lowes for 50 cents/piece. I installed these using 3/8" tile spacers which gave me enough gap to point the brick.

When these set for a few days I did the hearth pour and then came time to point them with mortar. This was my first crack at doing this but watching John do my footers I picked up enough technique to do it. It's definitely tedious and probably harder to do with an uneven face (these veneers are quite random in thickness and rough edges), but the result is pretty good and this will be blocked by the chimney and stove anyway. I then dropped the stove back in place and adjusted the height of the chimney and it is now in place permanently! My back couldn't take too much more moving this 400 pound beast....

is it brick..... or is it??

I finally settled on a tile, a 4"x4" reproduction art & crafts tile which go well with the room colors - and my budget. The sample of 8 came which I installed and then put in an order for the rest. Having this settled I could then concentrate on starting the wood work. I had a general idea for a design inspired by some others I've seen and the fireplace in the other house I almost bought. It will be arts & crafts influenced like the rest of the house but a bit watered down since there are other influences to the design of the house.

Of course I didn't just go to the store and buy oak boards.... first I had to make them! This project will add a little more learning curve to my experience with the new tools I picked up in prep for reproducing all the missing wood work. I started out with 1/2" oak plywood base on the side which will be framed out 3" on the sides and 6" on top and bottom. The front will get 4 1/2" sides and a 6" top, all being 1" stock. The vertical pieces I milled from old door jambs taken out of the house - to far gone to be cleaned up into usable jambs again but enough to use here and keep as much original oak in the house as possible. The horizontal pieces were milled from my stock of rough sawed red oak. I've never worked with wood this hard before and I'm thinking this may have been an old growth tree the came down and was sawed up. The grain is real tight too. I even had to pre-drill for nails because they kept bending! So even if the original wood is gone at least old wood is going back in.

I added a small piece of accent trim on the bottom edge of the top 1x6 that wraps around to tie things together a bit. Next I have to mill wood for a mantel and add a crown under that. I would have went with brackets but since the mantel wraps around, it would have looked odd with no support under the mantel on the sides.

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