Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Modified 1994 Rumford
48" Rumford with Rosin fireback on Lopez Island

firebox fireback throat

Ed Bacco Jim,

Please let me know if the pictures come through or if you need additional ones. The opening is 47 ¼" wide by 52 ½" high. The depth of the box is 20".

I looking for help with the damper and I'd like screen doors (the are holes for doors already).



Your Rumford is very interesting but it is not one of our designs. I can't tell what the damper is since it isn't ours. Maybe it's a Vestal damper as pictured at http://www.rumford.com/store/dampers.html#vestal Will the damper stay open? There is probably no need to adjust it - just open or closed - and maybe the reason the latching handle doesn’t work is because it wouldn't fit in the narrow throat. If it won't stay open or close, it might be better to replace it with a chimney top damper like one of those at http://www.rumford.com/store/damperstop.html

Your Rumford is interesting in that the fireback, instead of being straight and plumb, is curved forward and then rounded back to vertical through the throat. The front part of the throat is not smooth and rounded or curved but it could be improved by parging or plastering the rough brick with refractory mortar. Probably no need to do this if the fireplace drafts well but getting a fireplace this tall to draft can be a problem. See our recommendations on smoky fireplaces at http://www.rumford.com/smoky.html and about extra tall Rumfords at http://www.rumford.com/tall.html

We do sell grates and andirons at http://www.rumford.com/store/andirons.html but they are not necessary. We recommend at http://www.rumford.com/articleFire.html building tipi (vertical) fires directly on the hearth.

We do sell bi-fold screen doors at http://www.rumford.com/store/bifoldscreens.html and can make them to fit your fireplace opening and existing hinge holes.

I think your Rumford is very attractive, besides being interesting for the reasons above. If it doesn't draft well I think I can help you fix that.

You might be interested in a little further reading. I think your Rumford is very well built and you shouldn’t consider changing or modifying it without knowing how it’s supposed to work.

A basic description of how a Rumford works is at http://www.rumford.com/performamce.html with a more detailed article at http://www.rumford.com/articleRumford.html

Some masons build a variation promoted by Vrest Orton. We think Orton Rumfords, while pretty good compared with modern fireplaces, are not as good as real Rumfords in that Orton miss-understood Rumford and neglected to "round the breast" and keep the fireback straight and plumb. See my "book report" on Orton at http://www.rumford.com/articleOrton.html

Another variation, or "improvement", of a Rumford is a Rosin. Rosin fireplaces are all very small but I mention him because your fireback is Rosin-like. See http://www.rumford.com/Rosin.html

Here in the Northwest several masons built these and other hybrid variations. I may be able to guess who built your Rumford but it appears to be well-built and can be improved if necessary.

Please stay in touch and let me know if you learn who built your Rumford, or if you need my help in finding a damper, "rounding the breast" or making it draw.

Jim Buckley

And then .....


After looking more closely at the pictures you sent it looks to me, by counting the firebrick and 12" surround tiles, that your fireplace is pretty close to 48" wide by 48" tall.

Aslo the brick throat appears to be deteriorated. The mortar joints stick out farther than the brick and may indicate that the faces of the brick in the throat have spalled off. If so all the more reason the ad a layer of refractory mortar plastered over the throat to round out the breast.


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