Rumford Technical Discussion
Which Throat is Better?
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One Piece Throat
Example One - Example Two

Segmented Throat System
Example One - Example Two - Grouted Solid
Date: 8/20/03
From: "Greg Jenne"
Subject: Throats?

I'm interested in knowing the advantages/disadvantages to using a segmented throat vs. a one-piece throat. Why use one over the other? Thanks, Greg

From the plans showing a 36" Rumford with the one-piece throat at and the same fireplace with a segmented throat system at you might conclude that there is little difference between the two.

Note, however, that the table of sizes available with the one piece throat only goes up to 48" wide. We can't make a one piece throat any larger than that. The table at the bottom of the segmented plan, on the other hand, shows that the system can be used to build Rumfords up to six feet wide. So, the first difference is that you can build Rumford fireplaces larger than four feet wide with the segmented throat.

Note also that the segmented plan is labeled "Large or Modified Rumford Fireplace. Since the segmented throat creates the rounded front side of the throat only and does not have sides and a back which are extensions of the firebox, you can use the segmented throat system to build deeper fireplaces or fireplaces with wider firebacks - even for rectangular cook-top fireplaces or multi-sided fireplaces. So, that's the second difference. You can use the segmented throat on fireplaces with modified fireboxes.

Let's suppose that you want to build one of our recommended Rumfords - let's say the 36" Rumford just as it's shown on the two plans already mentioned. Which throat system is better? This is a more complicated question and the answer is, "It depends". We always recommend the one-piece throat because it's dead simple. If you get it on right side up the fireplace will work. The throat dictates the firebox dimensions and won't fit if the firebox is too deep or too wide. On the other hand, the segmented system is less expensive because the segments are extruded rather than hand made. And you can get a pallet of segmented throats and build any size Rumford with them whereas the one-piece throats only fit one size Rumford.

I think it's telling that, despite fewer inventory problems and less cost, our dealers almost universally favor the one-piece throat system over the segmented throat system. There are just fewer problems, less complexity and fewer call backs. And, when you factor in the complexity and extra time needed to build the firebox up higher in the back and set a throat with five pieces instead of a one piece throat, the less expensive segmented throat isn't all that much less expensive after all.

Our best advice is to go with the Rumford designs that we recommend and use the one-piece throat. That plan will result in the best performing, easiest to build fireplace we know how to design. I'd use the segmented system only for large Rumfords, or when you can't stick to the best Rumford firebox shape or (maybe) if you had a bunch of production Rumfords to build you might get good enough and fast enough with the segmented system to save a couple of hundred dollars per fireplace.

Warm regards,
Jim Buckley

What if the throat breaks? Should it be grouted solid?

Broken Segmented Throat
Broken One-Piece Throat
Original Superior Clay Rumford Throat

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