Building an Efficient Fireplace
A variation of the Rumford design reflects heat into the room rather than letting it disappear up the chimney.
Synopsis: A master mason explains how to build a fireplace that warms the room efficiently. He covers the whole project, from calculating the proportions of the firebox to shaping the smoke chamber and building a stone arch. A illustrated sidebar shows cross-section views of a properly designed firebox, smoke shelf, and damper.
A couple of years back, my good friend Nick called to tell me that he’d bought a 40-acre tract of land in southern Pennsylvania. I wondered how this purchase would involve me, and the answer came quickly. Nick planned to build a cabin overlooking the valley, and the centerpiece of the cabin would be a large stone fireplace. Having built hundreds of fireplaces as a mason, I was the right friend to call.
Finding stone wasn’t a problem. The mountainside lot had many old stone fences and loose rock strewn everywhere. Nick, however, wanted this stone fireplace…