Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Bermuda Rumford
A Repeat Customer

From: James Hallett
To: 'Jim Buckley'

Hi Jim,

I spoke with my architect about Rumfordizing these fireplaces. He suggests I engage you directly to identify the required improvements, as in all honesty, he would end up simply trying to interpret your web-site data and charging me money for the pleasure!

The house is listed because it was built in the vernacular revival style in 1958 and was one of the last houses completed by the Wil Onions before his untimely death. The vernacular of this house is based on traditional Bermuda cottages circa 1730. From the Listed house perspective, and from the practical considerations of not turning this into a major cost factor, we would need to continue with the existing flues, and stick fairly close to the original firebox opening dimensions.

The original firebox is quite deep, typical of early 1700's Bermuda fireplaces which were more often used for cooking as well - very similar to New England colonial I would say. The house, walls and chimney are built of Bermuda limestone - compressed coral sand which is soft enough that it can be worked with hand saws etc, and is then finished with cement/lime plaster.

So if we kept a similar depth, would we straighten the back and somehow improve the throat? Do you figure we can improve the throat with masonry, a new concrete lintel or fireclay throat?

Let me know how much consulting time you suggest that I set-up for you to look at this formally.

Many thanks,

Bermuda Eighteen Century Fireplaces and Chimneys
Bermuda Chimneys Traditional Building Guide

On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 8:36 AM, James Hallett wrote:

Dear Jim,

We conversed many years ago about a Rumford in our Nova Scotia house, and we purchased the K&W stainless damper at the time (and after correcting the mason’s efforts to apply his own wisdom).

We are presently renovating a house in Bermuda with 2 fireplaces that need rebuilding and I note that you are now advocating the K&W steel dampers instead of the stainless. I see that K&W still offers the stainless, but was curious to know if you had run into issues with the stainless items?

Many thanks,



Hi, James. Nice to hear from you again. We also discussed building a masonry heater as well as a Rumford a few years ago, as I recall.

We were having problems with the K&W stainless steel dampers falling shut during a fire or the tab hinges pulling out of the slots in the frame. We had developed a couple of work-around "fixes" such as latching handles but it was time for a better design.

The new heavy 1/4" plate steel dampers feature weld-on hinges that allow the valve to be removed (both hinges are welded on the same direction) but the hinges are much more secure and not likely to fall out inadvertently. The hinge design also allows the valve to open a full 180 degrees - or until the valve hits the smoke chamber or the handle the throat, limiting the arc. We think that 1/4" plate steel is more than adequate to last 100 years, even if it is not stainless steel.

I wouldn't get the stainless steel dampers but I understand K&W has some in stock and is very willing to sell them. Since you are aware of the limitations, go for it. It's your choice.

By the way, please send us pictures of your Rumford in Nova Scotia and of your new Rumfords in Bermuda. Such exotic places - the pictures will stand out on our picture gallery page.

Warm regards,
Jim Buckley

Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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