An Old Customer Still Likes His Rumford
But his damper broke :(

Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000 19:16:19 EST
Subject: Hello from Randy Glowacki

Dear Jim,

It's been some time since I spoke to you last. We are still enjoying our Rumford fireplace, in fact I have a fire going in it right now! The cast iron damper you installed broke about two years ago. Actually the feet broke off of the swinging door, the frame is still in good shape. Is there anywhere I can get a new door without having to buy the entire damper assembly? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. We really love our fireplace and guests always compliment us on it and how much heat it throws out. You did a great job, its the best investiment I have made in this house yet. Sincerely,

Randy Glowacki

Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002
Subject: (no subject)

Dear Jim,

I just completed my second Rumfordization of an existing fireplace. As I wrote to you before, I built angled firebrick walls on my friends existing fireplace and it draws and radiates heat beautifully now. Before we did this work the fireplace was basically useless, it smoked very badly. Another friend has a fireplace in a Victorian house dating from about 1877 or so. This fireplace had been redone sometime in the in the late sixtys. It had glass doors and unless the doors were completely shut it would smoke you out of the room. I built up the angled sidewalls with firebrick and Heatstop mortor. It now works like a charm with good draw and lots of radient heat. The breast on this fireplace is not rounded.

My question is; Why is there such a radical change in performance by angling the side walls? I suspect it is because the throat is made smaller, creating more of a venturi effect. I would be very intrested to hear your comments on my observations. I promise I will send you pictures of both fireplaces.

To me it is very satisfying to do this work and take a fireplace that is not useable and turn it into something that works well and is also beautiful. I am thinking maybe I could do more of this work in the winter and apply my modest skills to generate some money in my slow time.

I hope to hear from you.

Sincerely, Randy Glowacki


Hi Randy,

It's always nice to hear from you.

To answer your question, yes, I think the narrowing and reduction of the throat makes a difference. So does straightening out the fireback. And, especially in fireplaces with openings taller than about 36", rounding the breast is essential. In smaller fireplaces you can get away without streamlining the throat but, if you do round it, you can make the throat even smaller and get a more efficient fireplace.

I forget what you did for a living when I met you but, sure, you might as well "Rumfordize" fireplaces in your spare time, especially if you can make some money at it. You've noticed my "construction process" pictures at and especially my old Flue Works pictures at That's how I got started.


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