Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 09:42:28 EDT
Subject: Re: A little more info
Thanks for your letters. From about 1974 I started doing restoration/preservation masonry. I was fortunate to be able to work at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH. where I got to disassemble and then reconstruct masonry dating from the mid to late 1700's. This also spilled over to museum structures and many historic homes in Maine, NH and Mass. Then in 1977 my wife and I purchased Royal River Brick Co. a small waterstruck brick manufacturing plant. Which we operated until 1986. Because of the energy costs and labor shortages it was a very difficult plant to operate, although the core crew was fantastic and we produced some of the finest brick available. The plant was disassembled and equipment and property sold off. For a number of years we operated as Royal River Construction Co.
Last November we moved to Phoenix, due to a new grandbaby. I became a licensed Residential General Contractor in mid April and formed Fine Line Custom Homes, Inc. Our plan is to build quite authentic Southwest style hom es that carry the classic lines and are energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Re Mr. Orton: After his book came out we went to Vermont to visit him. His family ran the Vermont Country Store. He was very gracious, spent much time with us taking us to his home and a walk through the town. Over the years he would refer people to us since he was not a mason and was afraid of the liability. However, most of our work involved restoration in which we duplicated the original or a local equivalent when non was present. I built very few new Rumfords, so I relish the help on the website.
Ovens were a natural part of the restoration process for many of the kitchen fireplaces. We would build/rebuild the originals or a local duplicate that matched the dimensions of the wood surrounds. Again much of my work with the ovens came from disassembly of originals. We built many of which a few enthusiasts operate. Most of my disagreement with the Bacon book centered on the materials. He advocated a hard brick and mortar. All the ovens we encountered had soft underfired brick and clay or lime mortars. At that time Albee Barden, the Maine Wood Heat Co, was studying the masonry heaters and was finding similar information. He would come into the brick yard and get samples to try and experiment with.
Our company info is:
Fine Line Custom Homes, Inc.
They can speak to either me or Roberta.
Current email- email@example.com ( I had cable installed but so far can't connect but I should have that resolved by Tue,) new address will be firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a photography product web site www.mainelight.com which I plan to add a section about Southwest building/Fine Line or create another site dedicated to the construction. But for now email is probably the best.
When we owned the brick yard there were several articles written about it. Some copied the same errors of other articles which became a joke trying to guess the source based on the inaccuracies. I was so embarrassed by one article that I sheepishly entered the other waterstruck brick plant in Maine and apologized for the article. It was during that time I used to say of the press: "Seeing how they have mixed up facts, I believe that Nixon must have been innocent." Oh, well the advertisement was good.
I had read the information about your contact with the Arizona people and would be interested in helping gain acceptance. The individuals who seem to govern these issues appear so afraid of permitting something that someone has said is bad, without searching out the facts. Since our arrival in AZ my wife and I have been attending the Green Building Lecture series which have been excellent, but they contain everyone's prejudices correct or incorrect. Let me know if I can be of assistance to you here.
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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