Cave Fireplace

The fireplace was one of the first most essential jobs we tackled by ourselves after the builders had made safe the ceilings. As mentioned in the post below heating during the winter is essential. We knew that we wanted a cast iron wood burning stove and therefore needed a platform to put it on. The stove itself cost 890 euros (massively over budget for us but what a cracking peice of kit!) We spend more on gas in the summer than we do in the winter - how? because we cook on the stove which has more than enough room for a full tray of roasted veg with a leg of lamb plonked in the middle!Tasty.
Below is our harth ready for our new stove the next day, 17 barrow fulls of concrete and carefully leveled off.
In the process...a border was created using 9" bricks cemented in place then the centre filled with coarse cement/broken brick/stones/boulders etc etc.

And the fireplace as it was - untouched for sixty years that we know of. The huge and somewhat ugly shelf was given a helping hand to "fall off" exposing an old wooden beam beneath it.

And an early photo of the job done with stove in place already heating up the cave. The wood storage to the right of the picture was modified using shelving and re plastered and is very handy indeed especialy if its raining outside!

Ok this fire is big and its best just to leave it "ticking over" instead of stoking it up, the heat generated is simply unbelievable helped enormously by the caves insulating qualities. One problem that you will encounter though no matter how big or small your stove or fire is that your carefully plastered fireplace will crack due to the temperature. There is little that can be done about this except design your fireplace using decorative brick/stone or an alternative from the outset. We are just about into our second winter and the plaster hasnt fallen off yet but come next spring we will be re-thinking which materials will be best suited to the fire surround - cant get it all right can you!!

Next... storage in your cave, planning it, and digging wardrobes...great fun!


Vanessa said...

Facinating stuff. I intend to bring my big stove from this house to go into the large fire place in the living room. My intention is to only put the pipes so far up the chimney as I expected it would not be necessary to go all the way to the top. Is this a good idea/bad idea? Appreciate your views.

cave renovator said...

I went all the way to the top of the roof and then another 5ft up through the chimney itself. I have stayed in caves with open fires and sometimes you can get alot of smoke, this may be the case if your flu pipe only goes half way. If it goes all the way you will get a better draw and more powerfull fire although this is only my opinion! If memory serves lenghts of flu pipe are about 20 euros. I would go to the top for the sake of a few euros.

Vanessa said...

I have adequate length of flu to go right to the top of the chimney but that is pretty high in any event, maybe for the sake of cleaning the flu it might be better to go all the way.
Thanks for your comments. :-)