Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Masonry Fireplace Method
ASTM E2558 Update 2008


We discovered, in testing a masonry Rumford fireplace without a grate, that the kindling crib prescribed by E2558 tended to go out. See Testing a Rumford. The kindling crib seemed to snuff out the newspaper burning under it and never really got started. At first we thought it was the extra thermal mass of the masonry Rumford and that we would have to start with a hot firebox or add more kindling to make up for the slow start.

We took the problem to the Masonry Fireplace Emissions ASTM E06.54.07 Task Group in Anaheim, CA on 4/8/08.

Ben Myren, Paul Tiegs and Jim Buckley discussed the E2558 test method and the problem getting the kindling to burn in a masonry fireplace.

After some discussion it appeared that maybe the problem had more to do with burning without a grate than it did with the fact that the masonry fireplaces have more thermal mass.

Bob Furguson noted that E2558 allows for tests with no grate but no tests were conducted to see what it would take to get the kindling crib going. Bob said he had "no problem" with allowing andirons or a couple of 2"x2"s to elevate the kindling load. Luc Gilbert agreed.

The Task Group decided to propose to the subcommittee a change in the standard that would allow adding sticks under the kindling crib to elevate it and/or adding more kindling if no grate is used in both low mass and masonry fireplaces. Ben Myren thought maybe the best way to test what is needed would be to test the E36 low mass fireplace without a grate.

Tim Seaton brought the discussion back to the mass issue saying there is a difference between low and high mass fireplaces. Paul Tiegs agreed. David Menotti pointed out that we already calibrated the masonry fireplace to the E-36. Rick Curkeet suggested putting an inch of ash for insulation on the hearth.

Furguson said to separate the no grate and the thermal mass issues - the no grate problem affects both low mass and masonry fireplaces. As for the mass issue, Furguson said "replicate what people do". If the high mass fireplaces need additional kindling, then add more kindling, but tie it somehow to the calibration tests. Ben pointed out that the O2 levels fell to around 18% during the kindling in both the E-36 and the masonry fireplace so maybe adding whatever kindling is needed to duplicate these O2 levels is what is needed.

The Task Group decided to prepare two separate proposals to modify the standard. The first would deal with how to get the kindling crib going with no grate and would apply to both low mass and masonry fireplaces. The second would be to see if more kindling is needed in high mass fireplaces to get a fair start as measured by matching the O2 levels with those attained in the E-36 used to develop the standard and in the masonry fireplace used for calibration and to develop the Annex. The no grate proposal would go to both the masonry and low mass Task Groups and would propose a change to the basic E2558 Standard. The thermal mass proposal would go to the masonry Task Group and would change only the Annex.

On 9/11-12/08 OMNI tested the kindling crib to see what was needed for it to burn as well without a grate as it does with a grate - in other words acheive the same O2 depletion level in an E-36 fireplace without a grate as the prescribed kindling crib does in the E-36 with a grate. See the Report

Testing for an ASTM Standard
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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