Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Doug MacNeill Rumford in Fresno


I was able to find a reasonable deal on the Rumford components through Willamette Graystone in Eugene, Oregon (my old home town). They are shipping it straight from OH and it should be here on Thursday. Thank you for all of your help.


from: Jim Buckley
to: Doug MacNeill
date: Wed, Sep 1, 2010
subject: New Rumford in Fresno, CA

Your workmanship is excellent. Looks to me that you are doing everything right.

I don't think it matters if you build the firebox 46-1/4" tall or 43-7/8" tall or cut the bricks and make it exactly 46" tall. I would make the decision based on aesthetics - how does it look - or, maybe more importantly, how does your wife think it looks. Generally the lower the opening on any fireplace, the better the draft but two or three inches is insignificant and we have "tuned" the 48" Rumford to be 48" tall so you are okay with any height less than 48".

I hope you will send me pictures as you go and after it's finished and with fire. It's going to be a very nice Rumford.

Jim Buckley

Thank you. I cut the bricks to make it exactly 46".

It is slow work. I'm getting faster, but it is still slow work I have even more respect for good masons than I used to.

Here are a few pictures up to this point and one with the top course in the firebox.

My wife has left it up to me and fortunatly she really likes it so far. :)



Thank you for the pictures. Again, you are doing excellent work.That what you are doing is "slow work" is why professional masons rarely do it as meticulously as you are doing.

I don't quite understand the duct work. Are you planning to circulate air behind the firebox?

Best, Jim

Doug MacNeill to Jim
Sep 2, 2010

Hi Jim,

Thank you for help and interest.

I wish I could spend a day watching you. That would probably double my speed right away. I'm sure I am doing more than I need to do.

Yes, I thought I would try circulating air behind the firebox and up around the throat. I put an arrow on the cross section to show you the idea. I plan to leave openings in the back of the mantle with some kind of removable screen where the hot air can come out. I have no idea how much heat will come through the fire box and throat. I don't think it will be much until the fire has been burning for 3-4 hours. I would think the throat would get the hottest since it is rather thin and getting all of that radiant heat.

I really would value your opinions on anything you see. I would like to avoid as many mistakes as possible.

Thanks again, Doug


In general, I think making a Rumford - the best wood-fired radiant heater ever developed - into an air heater is fraught with difficulty and not likely to be successful. See comments and an alternative design at http://www.rumford.com/circulating.html

The hottest part of the fireplace will be the lower fireback. Maybe it's too late but I would think it more successful to duct the air you want to heat between the fireback firebrick and the back-up block. The throat is a liner, like the smoke chamber and flue liners, meant to be surrounded by 4" of solid masonry. I think you may risk cracking the throat and compromising the structure above the throat by not enclosing the throat in masonry. Besides, it doesn't get very hot in front and not nearly as hot as the lower fireback even in back.

Let me know how it works.


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