Tag Archives: medieval fireplace


Fireplace mania

I seem to have spent a good deal of time building fireplaces.  Each takes me a couple of days or more and tends to have a vast amount of thinking over beforehand.  This is, of course, where I find out that I’m working on one of the periods of history where there was a tax on the number of smoking chimneys or something similar!

I know there is at least one more full fireplace to make, with possibly a couple of smaller ones, and I want to review what has been made,  what needs finishing touches and how the parts came together.  There’s a need to assess if I seem to have learned much in the way of planning and skills in the process. Hopefully then I can work out how I use any knowledge gained and how to fill in the skill gaps, in order to do better when I  build the others.  The problem with knowledge gained by the ‘doing’ is that it is hard to judge what you definitely knew before and what you certainly did not.

In the case of at least half of them I’d already bought bits that might be suitable to dress up the chimney breasts in a more or less suitable style, or had tiles and items modelled in Fimo left from other jobs that were ready to hand when messing about with ideas.

I need to review them one at a time starting with the first I had a go at.

Kitchen ‘range’

Main kitchen

Tudor style kitchen range

Tudor style kitchen fireplace and smoke cupboard

Fireplace, smoke cupboard and bread hole

This is built imagining a chimney rising up that corner of the house with others directly above it in Solar and upper bedroom/office areas as the flue got smaller.

I made it with a full wood frame which was a mixed blessing.  It provided great structural integrity and once I felt I’d got the height correct for the ceiling to stone platform it was to sit on, it didn’t vary or lozenge.

On the down side I’d built it so strongly that sections of the frame got in the way of wiring and the side smoke cupboard and forced my hand over sizing decisions.

It’s covered with mountboard and the back of the fire opening is made with real pebbles stuck on.  I enjoyed doing it but not sure that it gave any better effect than if I’d used dobs of plaster and painted the lot.

The smoke cupboard has a faux stone backing made with bits of egg box.  Real stone would not fit and I was trying to steal as much space back for hanging a side of meat in there.

The bread oven is not so good but seems to fit in (at least for the moment).  I bought a proper door for it but its finish is so good and more hard-edged than the wood I used that I’ve left it as it was for the moment.  I may go back and rebuild that area some time.

Not happy with the pot hanging apparatus and may make my own, stronger version when it comes to putting the fire in place.  Have already added the wiring for fire effect and made a fire back and log irons, which I might not use.

Six fireplaces down – two or three more to go


Never too late to get it done

I’d been putting it off.  This Great Hall had become greater and needed another fireplace.  I’d cut the hole in the wall, determining just how big, but spent many afternoons faffing about with ideas and bits and never ended up comfortable.

As the floor, tower and other two side walls were now attached there was no getting out of it.

Build it out how much?

Most images of grand fireplaces C1400-1600 were just that – grand:  many were built out and some run to canopies under which you could take shelter and warmth from the draft. Despite building this section on the Hall in order to ‘get grander’, it probably wasn’t going to run to the space for the canopy I fancied.

spiral stair and mountboard frame to fireplace

Mountboard chimney breast – pillars unpainted held up with white tack

That left the question of how far out to build the chimney breast and at what point does it disappear into the wall.  I went for minimal lean and all the way to the ceiling.

I decided to use mount board for the chimney breast and make continuous pillars up the sides.  I’d looked at pics where the pillar surrounds are two different pieces, top and bottom, but, for once, decided on a less cluttered, more stylised look.

fireplace and tiled floor long view

Long view with a temporary ceiling

The pillars are painted and shaped to so that they are thinner back to front at the top section, echoing the lean of the chimney breast.  They’re topped off with metal capitals, which I hope to paint to match ceiling ornamentation.  The plan is to have a further six pillars round the room as part of the ceiling support scheme – the others won’t be shaped.

For decoration I’d tried so many things in previous weeks and plumped for the ‘less is more’ approach.  I used a thick embossed pattern paper on the diagonal, rubbed pastels of a suitable set of shades to bring out the design and take down the whiteness and applied the green and cream spare tiles from the floor design.  They have been stuck down to give a bit of an armorial look, whereas on the floor they were used for striping on the diagonal.

closeup of column capital, wallpaper and tile

Detail of pillar top

decoration of fireplace pre inclusion of fire

Tiles in place

This is the day after the construction and am still quite pleased.

How the Hall got bigger – lots of pics but not yet written up.  It shall be done!

lge view of fireplace in room showing walls, windows and stair

Long view of build so far – the large torch at foot of spiral is from Ashwood Designs Miniature

Links to things of interest:

Another day another fireplace