Fireplace - Part 3 - The real work begins
Work on the fireplace has really stepped up a gear!
Carefully, the layers of plaster and render which are covering the brickwork on the chimney breast are removed. This needs to be done with a hammer and chisel and once a cut has been made inwards, all further cuts should be be up/down/left/right, i.e. not towards the bricks in order not to damage or dislodge them.
As the render is removed, the extent of the work done on the fireplace over the years becomes visible.
The original lintel can be seen about half way up the chimney, spanning almost the entire width, its slighly curved in the middle, and at each end is bent at 90 degree angles; on the left its bent up, on the right its bent down. The original fireplace was very large, possibly used for cooking, as this room is in the basement of a four storey Victorian house. Some of the original bricks have been damaged over the years.
A metal bar was added later to act as a lintel, it can be seen about a quarter of the way up and, like the first lintel, spans almost the entire width of the chimney breast. The opening that this lintel supported is about the size of the opening that will be created this time.
At some point after this opening was created, part of this opening was filled in, and the electric fire was installed. Many of the bricks that were used to fill the opening around the electric fireplace fell out when the render was removed.
All of the bricks below the metal bar, and all of the bricks, concrete and rubble used to fill the sides and back are removed to reveal the original opening and the original slate floor. Many of the bricks were damp and rotten, and the original slate was also rotten. The original slate was therefore broken up, and concrete poured on top to create a solid base on which to build the new opening.
The metal bar was removed and a new concrete lintel inserted. The brick opening is tied in with nails in most places, and concrete poured down the back and sides to stabilise the structure.
This is how the fireplace looked at the end of 13th June:
And at the end of June:
30th June 2015