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fireplace help, question????

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Bisi, Jan 2, 2011.

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  1. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    One of the gun clubs I belong to has a fireplace. It is 20 years old. It is a masonry fireplace. A deceased member built it. It is a big one. I'll have to measure but I'm sure it probably has a 5 ft front opening.

    3 or 4 years ago a few firebick fell out. These are firebrick - part of the firebox. The brick that fell out are in the back part that slants forward to reflect the fire and the brick that the damper sets on.

    We hired a bricklayer to replace them and he said they would fall out again. They did a month or so after he replaceed them. Got a 2nd bricklayer and he replaced them but said they would fall out and they did but they did stay in a couple of years.

    They said the compression from the weight of the chimney above kept the brick in place and once they come out there is no way to recompress the replacement brick.

    Just looking for ideas on what to do. I guess the best bet would be to find an wood burning insert. I don't know if we could find an insert that big. I guess we could put a wood stove in the firebox. Chimney of fireplace is solid.

    One member suggested we take refractory mortar and just fill void of brick with that, but I don't see how we could keep mortar in place till it setup and there wouldn't be any compression to keep it in place anyway. Again this in on slanted part.

    Called the 2nd bricklayer back and he said he was surprised it lasted that long. He didn't have any advice or suggestions other than tear it down and then call him to build a new one for 10K plus.

    We've got some clowns in the club you aren't happy till they put a 4 ft log in it that is at least 16" in diameter. They get one hell of a fire going. Just wonder if we had 2nd bricklayer repair it like he did last time and restrict fire size. Wonder if that would help it last????

    Looking for ideas.
     
  2. Ahab

    Ahab Well-Known Member

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    There is a type of cement that expands when it cures ... maybe that might work?
     
  3. Mapper

    Mapper Member

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    How about some steel wedges to put pressure on the bricks? Drive them in until they are tight. I don't know much about fireplaces, but it sounds feasible.
     
  4. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Insert sounds like the best idea to me. It would also stop the clowns that build those big fires.
     
  5. bridgetoofar

    bridgetoofar TS Member

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    The correct way to fix this is to paste all of the surface area first with a portland cement and water mixture. While the coating is still wet, lay the brick in the mortar. It works kind of like a cement epoxy. Along with this you could also use a T shaped brick tie in the back of the joint. Mostly it sounds like you need a different mason. Don't get some union guy club member.
     
  6. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    Would it be possible to have a large heavy steel plate attached to the entire back of the fireplace up to the flue?
     
  7. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Try something like this...

    http://www.fireback.com/largeoak.html
     
  8. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    I have rebuilt many of them, I use a refactory cement and double butter all connections with a tie similar above. Or sometimes I will drill through a few brick and install a wall pin anchor system, or a simple redhead stainless drill and pound in place, anchoring the firebrick to the back up wall behind it with bolt and nut with a large washer.( I have even cut new brick out a larger shapes a hair bigger so I could drive them in place to "key" them up gootandtight. Sometimes I will dampen, then paint a thin coating of portland, sairset or refactory around the edges then let it set to gain the same effect. AS one poster commented stainless steel shims could also help key up the brickwork( we used them in the firebrick rings in a lime kiln to keep everything tight, used to drive them by hand with a rawhide mallet until they came out with a neumatic shim driver, ouch. Heat up the next fire slowly to cure proper.

    There are plenty of units built out of fire brick that do not require bearing weight to hold together. Worse case, the firebox can be taken out and rebuilt for about $800-$1000. My dad used to build the entire fireplace and chimney then build the firebrick box last, I don't like crawling in for that method. Or you could buy a wood stove and pipe it through the chimney and really get some good heat.

    When I build a new box I lay the brick flat {the 4" way} takes more brick and fire clay but they are much stronger.

    The log grate posted above looks like a good idea as many people throw the logs in.

    And yes, I belong to the union and have been everywhere firebirck is needed.(glass tanks, blast furnaces, lime kilns, heat treats, coke ovens, boilers, refineries ect...
     
  9. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Any idea where we could get a "T" shaped brick tie? I called the local brick yard and they had wall ties that were flat that would tie the brick to another course of brick or to a stud wall.

    Thanks for your input guys. I kinda like cutting some steel plate the size of the slanted brick and putting it up there. It would probably have to be cast to keep it from burning through.

    One of these days I'm going to move and find a gun club, join, and not do a damn thing. I don't know how I get roped into being the club maintenance man, secretary, treasurer, puller, bottle washer. I want to sit back drink beer, play cards, and throw big logs on the fire.

    I asked one member to help do something once and I was told - "I didn't join this damn club to work, so no I ain't helping". Well I don't know anybody who joined to work.
     
  10. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    Try looking up the DuroWall website, their # is 1-800-645-0616.

    Yes, just because the firebox has loose brick work and needs repair does not mean that it is beyond repair.
     
  11. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    Bisi, You sure got a smile on that last post. I think, or hope, there's a special club in Heaven for all the old Trap workers. Enjoy, and Thank You on behalf of YOUR club members. :) Bob
     
  12. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I still haven't got this project done yet. When it was a 100 this summer - rebuilding a fireplace was the last damn thing on my mine.

    Well anyway I have been getting a lot of heat for not getting this done. I've called a few masons and they all said they are not interested in doing a firebox patch job.

    I guess I will try and do it myself. Stopped at the club Thursday night and cleaned the firebox out of ash and trash that members have threw in it. All of the firebrick on the back where lose. I took those out and cleaned em, and set em aside and will work them in with a few new ones. The sides of the firebox are solid.

    Stopped by the local brick yard today and picked up a dozen new firebrick. The guy sold me a gallon of "airset" mortar for an indoor fireplace to use for "fireclay". Tonight I drilled a couple of holes in the firebrick and put a 4 inch pin - set in "Liquid nail" for concrete leaving 2" sticking out to pin these brick together.

    The old firebrick in back where the brick where slanted to reflect heat, is going to be tricky for me to lay. These brick are 4.5" x 9" x 2.5" with the 4x9 face showing. Does anybody see any problem with me cutting these brick in half so they will be 2.25 x 9 x 2.5 and me laying the brick so the 2.25 x 9 face shows? I just think it would be easier for a first time rookie like me to do it that way. Any problems?

    Any other advice? Guess I will try this - this weekend.
     
  13. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

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    I'm a bricklayer and a fire-bricker too. Go to a refractory shop or some place that sells refractory products and ask them for some 1" or 2" high temp ceramic fiber, (called blanket or wool). Roll or fold it up a bigger than the hole the brick came out of, butter all the edges of the existing brick and the rolled up blanket with fire clay and stuff it in the hole. Your good to go for years. A refractory shop will probably give you some blanket. Common brands are K-Wool or Inswool.

    Or you can get some refractory plastic, called "ram" and pound that in with a hammer, and trim it off with a trowel.

    http://refwest.com/plastech50p55std.aspx

    PS. That Air-Set will work good, make sure the water on top is mixed back into the clay. A paint mixer that you can put in a drill works good.

    PM me if you want.

    Wayne
     
  14. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you just hire Shannon 391. Fly him there and pay him. Sounds like he knows what he's doing.
     
  15. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    Bisi,

    That will work, the fire brick cut easy with a brick hammer, just palm the brick in your left hand supported by your thigh and score the line all around until it snaps. If the angle wants to get away from you lay a few courses then let the mortar cure a few hours, then lay a few more. Make sure you cover you air set pail between work times.

    If you work looks too cobbled, dampen the wall with a wet brush then plaster a thin coat of the airset on the entire back wall then smooth with a damp paint brush.
     
  16. John Thompson

    John Thompson TS Member

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    Go to a foundry supply house. They should have everything you need. The heat of molten iron and steel is far higher than wood. We rebuilt refactory lining that would last a few weeks at 3500 f. with charges of several thousand lb.s being dropped in every hour.
     
  17. shannon391

    shannon391 Active Member

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    Some of the the refractory mortar set is too high for a fireplace, I know a guy that bricked his firebox out of mortar meant for a foundry, It never reached high enough temp to set, it fell apart in weeks!
     
  18. quartering

    quartering Active Member

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    trapshooters down here call it a chimley
     
  19. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. I did the job this morning. You have to be a contortionist to do that job. Laying on your back with a raised hearth in your back and your feet on the floor and your head up the fireplace. Think I'm going to drink a few beers and take a couple of Tylenol and hit the sack.

    I replaced about 30 firebrick. Ran out of airset and by the time I got to the brickyard they were closed for the weekend. Went to Home Depot and they didn't have any so I purchased a bag of type N mortar and mixed it straight with water (no sand) and used that for clay. The guy at HD was a retired bricklayer - he told me (off the record) that would work for fireclay. The job looked like crap. Shannon, I then covered the work with straight clay like stucco so nobody would see the work.

    I would tell you the name of the club - but if it burns down, I don't want anybody to know I did the repair work.

    In fact nobody knows who did the job. I ain't telling anybody, and if anybody asks - it wasn't me. Must of been some jackleg looking for something to do, who wants to remain anonymous because he ain't going to bill for materials or time.

    I got more sand and grit in my eyes and face than most beaches have.

    Thanks again for the help guys. Time for a cold one.
     
  20. BILL GRILL

    BILL GRILL Well-Known Member

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    Too funny ! :)
     
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