I went onto the internet today and and ordered a sheet of galvanised steel to make the sealing plate for my chimney out of. It’ll take 48 hours (it said on the web site) to be delivered, so I guess that probably means sometime early next week, as it’s coming from a French supplier 🙂
Anyway, afterwards I found myself first looking at my waiting fireplace and then at the row of flue liner tubes standing in my kitchen and I thought, ‘to heck with it, get going’. The thin metal sheets that were currently being used to seal my chimney were dirty and rusty and in too poor a condition to be reused, so I needed to remove them together with as much of the rubbish that was lying on them as I could retain, take them outside and dispose of them. I tried moving them by hand and as I expected, bits of black muck fell down into the fireplace, so I decided that this was no time to pussy-foot around, grabbed my broom, stepped back and gave the larger of the two plates a good heave. It lifted up and then fell out completely, depositing most of the sh1te on the fireplace platform with a little falling out onto the floor, so it wasn’t too bad a result. In fact, most of the muck was dry clinker and although there was a little soot mixed in, it didn’t amount to much. As a result it was quite easy to clear it up, so after a short while my chimney was opened up again for the first time in several years and ready for business.
I moved my wood burner on its pallet round in front of the fireplace and then waited for my next door neighbour, Benjamin, to come home from work. He said previously that he would give me a hand and five minutes or so after coming over early this evening, my ‘poele a bois’ was in position on the platform I’d made for it back at the beginning of the year, for the first time.
When Benjamin was leaving he said to listen, and he said that what I could hear was the sound of the cranes resting in the fields surrounding our houses while on their winter migration from Scandinavia to Africa. He said that locally, when they arrive, it’s regarded as being the beginning of winter, so I guess my timing getting my wood burner installed this week is just about spot on. Ultimately, my intention is to have the flue reaching right up from the stove to the top of the chimney where it will be held in place away from the chimney surface by a metal bracket. The chimney will be sealed at the bottom by a 2mm thick galvanised steel plate and then the space around the flue pipe inside the chimney will be filled with Vermiculite. However, I decided that there’s no reason, now I’ve opened up the chimney, why the wood burner could not be used in the meantime. I had measured the distance from its top to the top of the chimney at around 5.3 metres, which is why I bought six 1 metre lengths of flue pipe. I decided that if I shoved five lengths up the chimney and connected them to the wood burner, it could be safely used and warming the house up in the meantime, while I’m waiting for the sealing plate sheet to arrive. So that’s what I did this evening.
All I had to do was put back the stove bits that I’d removed to make it lighter, shove the flue up the chimney, connect it to the stove and light up. It didn’t take long after I’d found enough paper and dry twigs to start it and some dry logs that had been left behind by the last resident and I’d taken out and put under cover. I used my blow-lamp to get things going and I have to admit to being very pleased with how it’s now all coming together and working. See the following pic to know what I mean.
I’ve had my little fan heater running for the past few evenings which have been quite chilly, but I don’t think that will be necessary any more. I’ve banked the stove up and will try to keep it in overnight tonight and I’ll be interested to see how warm the various parts of the house become as a result. And the best bit about it is that as I’m using old wood that’s been hanging around since I’ve been here, the heat that’s being generated is free – for the time being anyway 😉