Our old friends, the Watterson's had just moved into a new house in Columbus, Ohio. The house had been built on the existing foundation of an older house and the masonry fireplace and chimney was preserved with the foundation. The rest of the house was brand new.
It was nice to have a masonry fireplace and chimney. But it wasn't a Rumford fireplace. It wasn't even a very good regular fireplace. The damper was set too low which made the fireplace smoke, our friends didn't like the brick surround and the proportions were wrong with the header only 8" deep with 12" wide legs.
We decided to Rumfordize it. And we intended to do it cheaply.
We would pour a Rumford throat so as to make the opening four inches lower. Then we would lay tile over the brick surround.
We used a section of sheet metal ductwork pipe as a form, nailing it to a wooden board that we propped against the surround. With the back of the form open we could load trowels-full of refractory concrete into the form. We taped the ends of the form and propped it up best as we could with the intention of "fixing" any imperfections in the casting with refractory mortar after the form was removed the next day.
We were able to keep the old Vestal damper and didn't have to remove most of the old firebox. Then we build a new shallow Rumford shaped firebox with a straight fireback within the old firebox. We ran the gas line into the center of the inner hearth and the plan was to tile the surround and we would be finished.
Actually the surround still has not been tiled. We await finish pictures. But the fireplace works great.
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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