Well now I am stuck between 2 started projects. I had initially started my gazebo railings however I ran into a robin situation and so I needed to put the railings on hold. So in order to stay productive I started to build my outdoor fireplace surround while I waited for my bird situation to rectify itself. Well I am pleased to say that the world is now home to 4 more baby robins. For me this is good news since I can now feel better about working inside the gazebo without fear of disturbing the mom. However…I am on a role with the fireplace so I am going to get myself to a comfortable stopping place before I move back onto the railings.
With the steel base welded up last week it was time to start pounding nails. The install manual for the Heat N GloMontana fireplace specifies what building material can and can not be used. The basic frame for the structure can be built from lumber so I figured why not? I had contemplated welding up the frame however in the end it did not make any sense. It would be hard to attach sheathing and lath to steel frames, it would weigh a lot, the cost would far exceed that of lumber, and it would take me 4 times longer to fabricate it. A trip to the lumber store got me 34 eight foot 2 x 4s for 80 bucks. Cheap!
The basic frame is divided into 2 parts. The lower square section which will house the actual fireplace and then a second upper section which will encase the chimney. The skeleton was designed using basic stud framing. The only concern I had was the strength of the 2 x 4 construction. As previously mentioned last week I am concerned with wind load and since the foot print of the structure is small compared to the height I want to ensure that I have done everything I can to build a sound structure. With the sheathing eventually applied to the wood frame it will provide a lot of rigidity however air nailing and gluing the stud frame together will just add to the strength of the entire structure.
I purchased a few tubes of the best construction adhesive I could find. When I say the best what I actually mean it the most expensive. Since I don’t know that much about construction adhesive I let price guide my decision. I settled on Lepage LP Advanced Premium which, according to the instructions, should suit my needs just fine. So between gluing every stud joint and then air nailing it with a Bostitch framing coil air nailer I am tempted to say the structure is just as solid without the sheathing as it would be with it.
The base section of the structure was placed on top of the previously welded steel frame. The assembly was levelled and then lag bolted into the pressure treated 6 x 6 lumber base that was previously built into the stone patio using 8 inch bolts. At this point I was thrilled to be able to slide the fireplace into the framed structure. Thrilled because it finally freed up a section of my garage that it had been occupying for the last 2 and a half years. The fireplace is basically secured by its own weight in the lumber frame. The only thing that somewhat holds it in place is 4 tabs that get face nailed to the 2 x 4s that straddle the face of the fireplace.
With the fireplace now started I am starting to feel better about the whole project. I have come up with some steel accents that will need fabricating which I am looking forward to doing. For this reason I am leaving the chimney section off as I will need it in the garage for some of the metal work. For now the fireplace is put on pause as I plan to jump back onto the gazebo railings.