Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Drip-Drystone Walling.

The large outdoor fireplace that we have been working all last week is starting to take shape. This unusual dry stone structure has given us the opportunity to stretch our walling skills a bit more. It is being built on a concrete pad so the batter does not need to be as much as a traditional dry laid wall or terrace. The 'bones' of the fireplace were done in block first, to which we have added a herringbone firebrick liner and a dry stone hearth, with two large flagstones creating a mirrored seating area either side. The exterior cladding using boulders and random quarried limestone tailings are all dry laid, as is the segmented arch over the actual fireplace opening. (That's 'segmented', not 'cemented' )

We are now finishing off the elliptical curved chimney (echoing the shape of the ramparts Akira and I worked on in Ventura California) to a height of four and a half feet above the damper. The walls which surround the 3 clay flue tiles, which were set over the firebox opening, step in from six feet width to four feet, where thick flagstone caps will give the fireplace a unified stately look. The whole shape is taking on a striking presence framed amidst the background landscape of Northumberland County rolling hills.

While it was not quite as hot working on the fireplace today as it was last week, the new in-ground pool we are working beside continues to be quite a 'handy' perk to this project. We have been granted the luxury of using it anytime the temperatures get really uncomfortable. As you can see from the photo, there is no question that 'drip-dry' stone walling is way cooler, and far less wrinkly looking, than 'hot and sweaty' dry stone work.

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