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Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" wide?

Posted by threeapples (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 11, 12 at 8:46

If we want to do a Rumsford in the keeping room we would need to widen the opening and the cost of that plus needed parts is too high. The width for this fireplace is 42. How can we make it look like a Rumsford proportion in terms of the right height? Would 40" be correct?


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

Why would you need to widen the opening to make it a Rumford design? It could be 24" to 48" wide.

There is no "correct" height but typically a 42" wide Rumford firebox would have a height of 38" to 42" and a depth of only 15". The Jim Buckley website I gave you in another thread gives that information and other dimensions from his perspective.

If you are gong to use Rumford proportions be sure you are using a mason who has done it many times before. If that person doesn't know the proper height of the firebox find someone who does rather than asking for this information from strangers on the internet; you need a good mason.

I use the Masonry Fireplace and Chimney Handbook from the Masonry Institute of America as a guide. Any good mason should own it. It has recommendations for a Rumford and a modified Rumford fireplace. We have learned a little bit since 1796.

The Rumford fireplace is about radiation not appearance. If you don't intend to heat your house with this fireplace and you don't intend the fireplace to be a historic replica, you don't need to follow all of Rumford's ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Masonry Fireplace and Chimney Handbook


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

Thanks for the info and advice. I'll get some details from the mason and post back. I asked for advice here because I have no experience building and want to get as much info as I can. Thanks!


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

Threeapples- I admire your strength and self-confidence to take on such a project, when you don't have much experience with home building. I've learned a lot from some of your questions, too...and I hope I am as successful, when I finally get a chance to work on our project :)


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

Thanks so much, lavender. That is really nice of you and really made me feel better. This is a very daunting and stressful project, but its been more interesting and I've been more informed because if Garden Web. These forums are really wonderful source of motivation, insight, and information.


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

we asked another mason and he said we need a different flue and that, along with a damper system, which would cost $2500. So, we're going to forego it.


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

threeapples, just curious, wasn't all of this spec'd up front? You seem to be having to change/correct so many things ...


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

Chispa, the widths of the fireplaces were suggested by the architect, but no further details. Yes, I'd agree that we are doing most of this ourselves.


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RE: Can't do Rumsford fireplace, so what height is best for 42" w

It appears that you are committed to a certain size of flue and damper but it's not clear why. Are they already in place? Have they been bought?

In order to design a chimney that will serve a certain area of firebox opening we need to know the height of the chimney and the size of any flue you already own.

I haven't been able to follow this discussion because none of it makes sense to me.


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