Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
South African Do-it-yourselfer


Hi Jim,

I would like to share with you my experience building my South African Rumford 48 inch fireplace. My last "fireplace" was an Italian designed pellet burning stove which just did not create the atmosphere of a wood burning fireplace.

Your website was extremely informative and since I could not source any of the components locally I was forced to look at alternative solutions. In the pics below you can see that that we have used firebricks for the lining using refractory cement but to create the throat I wrapped chicken wire around a number of lintels to form the basis of the throat and this will be plastered with a special clay based refractory plaster. Based on the actual temperature measurements you published on your website the surface temp at the throat surface is way less than the temp. at the rear of the throat so I don’t expect too much cracking, etc.

The damper will be custom made by a local manufacturer of steel fireplaces. (He is somewhat suspicious and pessimistic about the Rumford design concepts I have been lauding)...

Proof is in the pudding, I say!

I also added an aux. make-up air channel to the rear of the firebox to assist with make-up air. I don’t have flue liners but the entire chimney will be a clay brick cavity wall which I will bag so the surface is as smooth as possible. Turbo-cowl should guarantee good draft.v Can't wait for winter. Will send more pics as work progresses. House should be complete around March/April next year. Thanks again for a great website.

Best regards
Bernd Fischer


    Thanks for the report and the pictures. Please do stay in touch and send me pictures and a report when it's finished.

    Here are just a couple of comments:

    1) Do you think you saved any money by building your own throat, smoke chamber and flues? I know it would have been faster and I suspect less expensive to have used our components - at least the throat, smoke chamber and damper - which we would gladly have shipped to you for about $3,000 USD.

    2) be careful with the outside air intake in the firebox. Since you already have it in, by all means try it, but I think it will not be adequate and may cause bad smells and blowing ash as you ventilate your house through the exhaust pipe. See http://www.rumford.com/tech7.html

    So, after you show your Rumford off to that doubting steel fireplace manufacturer, maybe you or he will market my Rumfords in South Africa. I'd love to discuss that prospect with you in front of your Rumford next winter.

    Meanwhile I am happy to feature your Rumford linked from our do-it-yourself page at http://www.rumford.com/doityourself.html

    Warm regards,
    Jim Buckley

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