Saturday, 4 July 2015

First fireplace and chimney breast

I started working on this part of the build with the style of fire that I have three of.  It is the small hob grate DH72 from Phoenix Model Developments by way of Jennifers of Walsall.

I began by putting the fire kit together so I would know the precise size I was working with when I came to make the chimney breast.

5 minute epoxy

The glue for assembling these kits must be epoxy resin.  Last couple of years I just used the bog standard pack from B & Q which take a long time to harden up.  This is the glue Jennifer's recommend for the Pheonix kits and seems to work OK.  Don't be fooled by the 5 minute name - this means you have a window of five minutes to work with it before it starts to go off.  It holds reasonably well in ten minutes and claims to cure in an hour.  Mine wasn't set up any where near enough in that time to wash and then paint the kit.  I would still plan on leaving it overnight.

I have used Phoenix kits before and I do like the way they go together.  The instructions that come with them are fine, so it is a relatively simple job of gluing bits together.  What they forgot to mention was that if you are fitting their lighting coals they need to go in before the tops go on.  Luckily mine hadn't set up in its allotted hour and I was able to pull them off and poke the coal in before putting them back.

The grate needs 'blacking' (black-leading) - i.e. painting  with satin-finish black acrylic paint, but the fire basket should be ash-covered grey metal.

The chimney breast took a lot of accurate measuring and cutting and then discovering the mistakes and shaving bits off here and there but this is the prototype i ended up with.  it really should have been made in good stiff card to make it easier but, being me, i didn't have any and not prepared to wait. 

Ideally the finished product will need wallpaper to cover its imperfections and the one in cook's room is being painted.  I am hoping wood filler and sanding might just make it look like a rough build/finish chimney breast rather than five pieces of wood glued together.

The grate is meant to be a tight fit and it is. I didn't leave enough room to brick the sides of the firebox walls.  They will be getting a coat of black paint and be done with it.  I will brick the back in case it is ever seen!

The hearthstone is cut from a laminate sample from a large DIY store in the States - you can get 8 x 10 inch samples for 25 cents a pop (free post) but mine was from the smaller freebies (something over 4 x 3 inches) that you can pick up in store.

This is the reverse side showing the side walls of the firebox which, as I said should really be soot covered bricks.  The back will just be a piece of card with bricks and 'soot'.....  when the bricks arrive.

still in pieces

These are the pieces ready to make up a simple fire surround - even this is a bit elegant for the cook's room - I may use this and a matching one in Bedrooms 1 and 3 and cook might just get one without the bull's eyes.

It only takes up one inch of the width of the room.  I think that's doable.  The prospect of doing all this construction externally and hacking holes through the walls on all four floors - my original plan - just became 'too much'.  Strictly speaking that's how they should be.  The fire surrounds on this side of the house should go flat on the wall as the fires would have been external. That would be the usual shared chimney stack arrangement between terraced houses.

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