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czaunb2 07-07-2010 06:41 AM

Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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I started the project thinking that I was building a 42" fireplace and dug the foundation and built block walls with that in mind, then my world changed when I came across this website. I thought that it would be awesome to have an oven as well but had not planned for it, so my space was very limited. After stalking the website for a while, it became clear that I could do it!! Instead of putting the the fireplace in the center, I adjusted it to be on the right and built a center wall that would hold up the oven.

czaunb2 07-07-2010 06:49 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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I put a piece of angle iron all the way across the front to hold up the throat on the fireplace side and added another shorter one behind the first block--per instructions on FB--for the oven side.

I actually used 4x4 angle iron b/c I thought it would be stronger, but ended up having to cut it down on the fireplace side to get the curve in the throat that I wanted--this was not easy!!

czaunb2 07-07-2010 07:03 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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After adding supports for the oven base, I built a box to pour the cement/vemicrete base. I needed the extra space, so I built it larger in the front with a curve that would stick out from the structure a bit. The thought behind this was that since it wouldn't have as much weight on it (as it would only be supporting a floor) it would hopefully work. I just used really thin wood (leftovers) and screwed it in place and cut 2x4's to make sure that the curve wouldn't collapse.

czaunb2 07-07-2010 07:12 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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Brick cutting time! I set up a "table" for the tile saw and cut the bricks in half for the dome. Then used a circular saw with a diamond blade to cut the circular pattern for the floor--this was much more difficult. It took an entire day for me just shaving and shaving. I don't know if someone with more experience has a better way to do this; but based on my experience, I would just lay the first coarse on top of laid bricks if I ever do it again.

czaunb2 07-07-2010 07:21 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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Next, I built a form using thick styrofoam-like insulation. Note: when building a form, it would be more user-friendly if you put more "legs." In other words, not so much space between the walls. My dome definately sags in some areas where there wasn't a form b/c it is hard to see it from the outside. Bottom line--make a better form than this.

After I laid the rebar, cement and vemicrete, I laid the floor of the oven. I didn't have a proper trowel (only had one with a flat edge), so getting the floor level was much harder than I expected. Would highly recommend springing the $10 for the one with 1/4" gaps as the instructions recommend.

Then, up I go. I laid the first couple of coarses with mush more ease than I expected. I didn't want to spring the $125/bag for the Heat Stop refractory mortar and FB was out of theirs, so I ended up using FireRock which cost $25/25 lb bag of dry mix. It was really easy to use and hopefully it will hold up. . .

czaunb2 07-07-2010 07:35 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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Finally, I hired someone to help. He worked on laying bricks in the fireplace as I worked on the dome. I snapped a chalk line that allowed a 42" opening and only 16" from the front to the back wall. Rumford fireplaces are more shallow and taller than most, which allows for more radiant heat, allegedly. After he laid the floor, we drew a pencil mark that would tell us where to lay the walls of the fireplace. We built the back wall up to the height that we wanted (to figure out the measurements, I did research on the Buckley Rumford website and got a GREAT book from the library that was more of a paper written around 1790) then we cut the side wall bricks at an angle. In the book, it said to do an inclined throat, but Buckley Rumford is huge on the curved throat, which is what I finally ended up doing. Note: you will want to cut the bricks with the curve of your throat--I had to later shave them with a circular saw since I had began thinking that I would have an inclined throat and later changed to a curved one.

czaunb2 07-07-2010 07:43 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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Up and over I go. Note: do NOT make the arch form as big as the opening that you want. Make it a few inches shorter and use shims or whatever to hold it up. I had a very hard time getting the form out, even causing damage to the dome that I had to later repair.

I made the arch and vent, then added mortar to fill in all gaps. Then I cut the bottom of an 8x8 clay flue liner just a bit to sit on top of my vent and set it in place. Next, I used blanket insulation (FB was out of stock, so I purchased it from a place in Atlanta which only charged $90/roll) and wrapped with chicken wire.

czaunb2 07-07-2010 08:20 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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I hired another helper (other one quit coming) to help with laying the stone. I live in a new neighborhood with many stone-accented houses. They usually dump the left-over stone in a side lot, so that is how I got most of the stone I used. It is really pretty, but very bulky and heavy (not the veneer stuff), so I was very grateful for the help.

Since the angle iron that I picked up didn't have pre-drilled holes, I added them to attach another piece of 4x4 angle iron to help hold up the stones above the fireplace (this was actually 2 pieces of left-over angle iron since I am too cheap to purchase more). This was pretty time consuming as the drill bits that I used kept breaking--finally I got the most "heavy duty" Rigid brand 3/8 bit and it worked fine. But it did take 3 trips to Home Depot--ugh. I overlapped the angle iron to make it more strong, (thought about just welding it together and making another cut, but the welder told me that it would be stronger by overlapping) then attached them using galvanized hex bolts and nuts. I wanted to do this before I poured the throat.

czaunb2 07-08-2010 08:11 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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I didn't use traditional "fire bricks" for the fireplace. These are old solid bricks that I found on Craigslist for $0.25 each. The couple that I purchased them from said that came from an old fireplace and they did have a ton of soot on them, so hopefully they will work out. I really wanted a more rustic look in the firebox and am ok with them cracking, etc; but, I did start to get nervous since everyone warns against this, so I added another wall of bricks behind it with about an inch of space in between that I filled with perlite. I don't know if this will help or if it is totally useless, but it is done. I sealed off the top of the perlite with a bit of refractory mortar since this was going to serve as my smoke shelf.

Also, here are pics of the bricks that include the the curved slope that will hold the curved throat. I had to add a bit of mortar to help to smooth the curve.

I cut plywood forms to hold up metal lath (thanks, Tscarborugh) to get the curved throat that I wanted.

czaunb2 07-08-2010 08:36 AM

Re: Claire's 31" oven/ 42" Rumford fireplace build
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The hardest part about the throat was cutting the angle iron. I had already set a 4x4 angle iron in place and later realized that it would be better to start the I curve of the throat at around 2 inches, so I needed to cut 2 inches off of the inside. Yes, in hindsight, I would have just installed a 2x2 or a 2x4 angle. Anyhow, to cut it, I used a metal blade on a circular saw to start with then had to purchase a reciprocating saw with a metal blade that worked much better--the only downside is that I paid $60 for something that I may never use again--my stomach turns just thinking about it. . . I digress.

Anyhow, after setting the form, placing the lath and attaching the outward facing angle iron, it was time to build the throat.

I had some left over firebricks that I cut 3 times lenghtwise and laid them in with the refractory mortar underneath and around.

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