Fireplace Phase 1

Finally beginning the fireplace posts. We started way back in July of last year, but I was busy and didn't have the time to sort the pictures and make some posts. During my break, I was able to sort through the pictures.

The fireplace is going to take a while to finish. It is really complex and hard. The first thing that we had to do is make a square around the hole that was all ready drilled in the wall. Then I was the one that took the sledge hammer and began knocking the hole in the wall. I found that to be a great stress reliever. So much dust and debris came out of it.

This is what it looked like before we did anything to it. The hole at the top was where a pipe went into the chimney. The previous owners drilled the whole so they could have a small would burning stove in the room. As you can see, close to the bottom there is a little hole. That is where someone, we assume it was the previous owners, drilled a hole to see if the fire box was bricked in. I'm not sure if you could really tell by looking in that small of a hole or not if the fire box was bricked in.

This is what the wall looked like after about two swings from the sledge hammer. We had guessed right that the firebox was bricked in. After the fire box was bricked it, a layer of white plaster was put over the whole chimney. Then some chicken wire was added on top of that, then more white plaster, then there was pink plaster, which we found it was done to the whole room. Then there was some white plaster put over that, then the whole room was painted a horrible yellow color.

After all the plaster was taken away from the brick, the real fun began. I started smashing in the brick with the hammer. The brick was really easy to smash in, this took about two swings and it started to fall apart. As you can tell from the picture, as soon as the brick was smashed the debris started falling out.

As I made the hole bigger, more stuff came out. Then all of a sudden it just started to pour out. Good thing that we had plastic down on the carpet and the whole area. We had made a tent out of plastic so the rest of the room wouldn't get dirty.

This is a close up of the hole that I had made. All of the stuff is ash and other things that had collected in the fire box. We estimated that there was about two to three feet of stuff in the box. We had to get a small shovel and a bucket to start digging the stuff out.

This is a picture of the hole I had made, standing back from it. The hole wasn't very big and before I could continue to hit the brick, we had to clean out the stuff from the firebox. It took my husband a long time to dig that stuff out.

After cleaning out a lot of the firebox. The shovel hit against this metal in the back of the box. For a moment we thought that it was the pipe that came up from the floor of the fire box, from the old coal furnace. After playing with it for a while, my husband was able to get the metal out. The only thing we can figure it is that this sheet was put in to divert things coming down the chimney so it wouldn't go down the pipe the furnace used.

After about an hour of digging all of the soot and stuff out, we uncovered the pipe to the old coal furnace. The pipe is in rough condition and after time bent from the weight of the debris in the fire box. We still had a ways to go before reaching the floor of the fire box.

Here is a closeup of the fire box. I was surprised that it arched, as I thought it would just be a square. I knocked more of the brick in the fire box before we reached the bottom of it.

Here is a picture of the fireplace, from a distance. We had decided to stop there for the day, as we were tired. The firebox was actually taller than we had first thought. It extends three to four inches below the floor, which told us that the floor had been raised at some point. We suspect that the fireplace had been bricked in for close to 80 years, all we know is that it was bricked in when the coal furnace went in and we don't know when that was.

This is what we found at the bottom of the fireplace. I thought that it was pretty neat to find an old key. I'm curious about what it went to or still goes to. I don't know much about the history of our house, though someone once told me it was the old weigh station.

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