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#292092 - 09/04/16 11:36 PM Count Rumford
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8595
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
Our old house came with a Rumford fireplace (more or less). The Rumford design is the only open fireplace that puts more heat in a house than it sucks out, and the tall, shallow construction makes it nice for viewing the fire, too.

Ours wasn't well-built, but it does throw out some heat. It also has a bad tendency to smoke if the wind gets a bit above light. I have been planning to rebuild it several years, but it never seemed to rise to the top of the to do list. My wife, who can be quite the manipulative genius, started asking around for what local mason could do the job... the answer is "none of them", since none of them have ever had any interest in the actual physics of a properly functioning fireplace... so I started the job yesterday.

I got the old brickwork out of the way and think I have a plan for fitting all the necessary Rumford components into the space. I'm sawing the 2-1/4" x 4-1/4" x 8-1/2" firebricks into 2" x 2-1/4" so I can do a herringbone pattern. Also got a new mortar bed installed, which will be ready for laying the brick floor on in a couple of days.

Rumford fireplace article

Herringbone firebrick

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#292095 - 09/05/16 12:07 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
matthew Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/24/16
Posts: 310
'
Count Rumford (born Benjamin Thompson) was a truly great American. Naturally, he was a British Loyalist, and, along with other decent Americans, was driven from his native land by the triumphant Insurrectionary Terrorists.

His methods of measuring specific heat, and careful experiments with boring cannons, proved that the phlogiston (or calorific) theory was false, and that heat was a form of mechanical motion.

He stands at the foundation of thermodynamic theory and statistical mechanics, and is far more worthy of respect and honor than that trumpery savant, Benjamin Franklin.
.
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#292105 - 09/05/16 03:14 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: matthew]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 13804
Loc: Florida
I've got a Rumford fireplace. 36" high 36" wide 22" deep. narrower at the back than at the front and the back slopes toward the front as it goes up to the damper. Doesn't smoke no matter how much the wind is howling. You can build on helluva rip roaring fire in it.

But since I live in Florida it doesn't get used much.

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#292107 - 09/05/16 03:20 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
Greger Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 13804
Loc: Florida
You didn't forget the fire clay in the mortar did you?
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#292113 - 09/05/16 04:00 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7002
Loc: North San Diego County
You have to be careful to get the right firebricks, too. Some just resist destruction from heat but transfer a lot of heat to the other side. The good ones are very insulative, so you can have a fire all day and the backside of the brick will not get very hot.

I understand the big problem heat-wise is that all the heat goes up the chimney and that pulls in cold air through the windows or vents. A fireplace that preheats the incoming air with the exhaust gas would help that problem. Ideally, by the time gas leaves the chimney it should not be a lot hotter than the incoming air.

That should not be too hard to implement with double-walled pipe. The exhaust gas in the inner pipe and incoming air surrounding it in the outer pipe. Use metal single thickness pipe to maximize heat transfer but make absolutely sure the inner pipe is leak-proof. (carbon monoxide)

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#292147 - 09/05/16 11:31 PM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8595
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
The project:

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#292189 - 09/07/16 01:20 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8595
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
Progress...

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#292190 - 09/07/16 01:37 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7002
Loc: North San Diego County
This is going to be pretty complex, with all those compound angle joints.

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#292330 - 09/09/16 08:05 PM Re: Count Rumford [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8595
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
Couldn't find a damper to fit the Rumford throat and the existing chimney, so I fabricated one out of stainless steel.

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"You can't fix a problem until you understand what the problem is." Logtroll

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#292343 - 09/10/16 12:22 AM Re: Count Rumford [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7002
Loc: North San Diego County
Beautiful! I find I shake to much to do arc welding anymore. But the tremor actually helps with oxy-acetylene!

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