Chim Chim Chimney

It seems like a deviation or perhaps even a betrayal of our farm name but from time to time we want warmth, toasty, sweltering satisfying warmth. Chimneys help with warmth sometimes. Broken chimneys carry warmth away so they don't help much, but functional chimneys; Awesome. Our old house was built in phases literally over centuries, what that means is that the heat does not necessarily flow well from one area to another. One of these heat gaps so to speak is the kitchen, it has no connection to the furnace and sits pretty far away from the rear pellet stove. Fortunately it has a big dramatic old fireplace, less fortunate is that it was blocked off decades ago with wood (a red flag) and still had stove pipe connections into the upstairs bedrooms. It looks really cool:

Beautiful right? Not really actually, but it has some great original details. That huge piece of wood in the foreground was a decorative mantel that was definitely not to fire code. This old gem is the answer to our heat gap though and what farmhouse kitchen is complete without a functioning wood burner. 

In order to get this going we called Tricounty Chimney, they put the liners in for the pellet stoves and furnace and Frank is a great guy who specializes in historic restorations. Frank came out, put a plan together, ordered a custom stainless ($$$) liner that is huuuge but means we can have a great fire with no draw problems, and put us on the work schedule. 

It took about two weeks all told, there is no rushing this kind of work because the cement/mortar has to cure between applications. Frank and his team were great about letting us look over their shoulders and learn as they went. One of the coolest parts of the process was the application of the chamber tek - it's essentially dryish cement with fibre mixed in for strength. It sticks and can be hand molded. Frank used buckets of the chamber tek and a trowel and slowly built a new smoke cavity, true artistry. Because of the size of the liner it could not be made out of the usual crimped flexible metal that smaller chimney liners are made with. Ours had to be built in 4' sections, each section was hoisted up from the scaffolding on the roof and then connected to create one long long stainless safe flue. The final bit of magic is a damper that is mounted at the top of the chimney and connected by a cable to the fireplace. The damper is spring loaded and a simple pull down locks it up tight and keeps hot air from escaping or critters from entering, heaven. 

With the work done we had to start a long burn to help cure the cement..not exactly a hardship in our book. It was glorious and the kitchen is a heat gap no longer. 

For anyone considering a chimney rebuild we would highly recommend the top mounted damper, it makes hearth life a lot easier.