|photo copyright Karin Corbin 2010|
Have you ever been really nervous about making a part because if you messed it up there would not have been enough material to redo it? That is the case with the band that is just under the top piece of the mantel. I call it a smoke apron, usually I know the correct architectural name for such elements but this time I don't. It functions to direct the smoke up the chimney. I have not fully assembled the fireplace yet, things are just loose stacked together. I can see I need to mix up a little stone filler for some small voids between the apron piece and the mantel top. To make the filler I take stone dust and mix it with PVA glue into a thick paste. Simple to do and it is a perfect color match when it dries.
In photos of old cottages you sometimes see that the owner has put a little fabric curtain (skirting) below the mantel in the effort to keep the smoke out of their eyes and out of the room.
Now I only have two small pieces of stone left to make and if I don't get it right the first try I still have enough stone to make them over. A little touch up here and there on the carving too. Then I have to finish the brick work inside the fireplace. There are still the chimney pieces to create but that does not worry me, it is child's play compared to cutting and carving the stone.