Build a Fireplace, Brick by Brick
Use these tips to design and create a long-lasting, heat-throwing firebox based on the traditional Rumford fireplace.
Synopsis: Rumford fireplaces are wide, tall, and shallow, with sides that angle in from the back and allow heat to radiate from the firebox. Mason Mike Mehaffey has adapted Rumford’s principles to modern aesthetics and code, building a firebox that is not shallow but still produces ripping fires that warm the space. In a series of step-by-step photographs, he explains how to lay the hearth, build and curve the back of the firebox, and then add the lintel and the damper.
In some parts of the country, a house isn’t considered a home unless it has a fireplace. A fireplace isn’t necessary for heating or cooking as it was just a couple centuries ago, but it’s still the centerpiece of many new homes, providing ambiance and, hopefully, supplemental heat. I say “hopefully” because some builders and designers don’t take into consideration that how a fireplace works is at least…