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Valley Forge, PA Finnish Contraflow Masonry Heater: Heat Kit Core, Chimney & Bench Installation

27 January '10 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

The owners of this great room addition designed the new space with energy efficiency in mind. This includes high R value wall insulation and windows, maximizing the solar gain from the southern windows and a clean burning masonry heater fireplace.

The client’s researched wood burning fireplaces online and decided to build a masonry heater. For the core, they were impressed by Masonry Stove Builders’ Heat Kit contraflow core.

Completed Valley Forge Masonry Heater, Heat Kit Core

From the loft, the high temperature concrete capping slabs are visible as well the masonry chimney to the rear. This is a “corner” unit with 45 degree downdraft channels on either side of the loading doors. The clay flue liners in front will be a warming bench. The rectangular holes in the flue tiles are “clean outs” providing seasonal access to clean fly ash out of the heater channels. the masonry chimney is visible behind the heater core.

Valley Forge Masonry Heater Core Top

The flue tiles provide additional heat transfer from the fire’s hot exhaust gases to the masonry stone veneer. The block chimney is located behind the heater. The masonry chimney will transition to a class “A”, double wall metal pipe above the top of the heater.

Valley Forge Masonry Heater, Front Heated Bench

The Heat Kit’s white bake-oven is located directly above the firebox loading doors. The oven is warmed as the hot combustion gases pass over and under the pre-fabricated oven floor and  arched top.

Valley Forge Masonry Heater Core Firebox and Bench

The heater will be faced with 4-6″ native Pennsylvania ledgerock.

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Pipersville, PA: Natural Fieldstone Retaining Wall

06 January '10 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

This long, decorative natural fieldstone retaining wall surrounds the large greenhouse above. The wall replicates the many fieldstone walls on the property, some dating back to the 1700′s. 

Pipersville PA Garden Stone Wall 1402L

Pipersville PA Stone Garden Wall 1423L

Pipersville PA Stone Garden Wall 1409L

Pipersville PA Stone Garden Wall 1411L

Pipersville PA Stone Garden Wall1420L

Pipersville PA Stone Garden Wall 1407L

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Florham Park, New Jersey: Fieldstone Finnish Contraflow Masonry Heater

19 December '09 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

One of the first curing fires burns down inside the new
masonry heater’s firebox.
The rear of the heater. The white bake-oven has already warmed the owner’s dinners while he works evenings to complete the rest of the home renovation.
After considering their options and growing family, the owners decided on an ambitious remodel to their existing home. The owners are both environmentally and energy conscious. While researching the possibilities for their new home design they wanted to limit their home’s carbon footprint as well energy bills. They decided on a clean burning, efficient masonry heater as the warm focal point in their new home.
The kitchen bake-oven option further increases the versatility of the masonry heater. The family will always have a warm cooking oven during the heating season. The heated bluestone counter nook will provide a warm spot while preparing the meals.

For the client’s desired aesthetics, the heater was built on a 45′ angle to the living room and kitchen. The corner of the heater dividing the two rooms is pictured below.

The far opposite end of the heater radiates into the bedroom and bathroom at the end of the hall. Below is the view of the heater’s stonework from the rooms.

Below is a photo of the start of the Pennsylvania fieldstone facing. The 5″ thick stone facing will absorb and store the fire’s energy for up to 24 hours.

The heater is in an ideal location for any home: dividing the kitchen and main living space. The firebox and viewing doors will warm the living room while the bake-oven will open to the rear into the kitchen, next to the heated bluestone countertop.

Below is the far end of the heater stone work proceeding to the ceiling.

The heater starts with the high temperature core built on a masonry foundation. The core is hand-built from firebricks. Below we see the firebox side of the heater core. The masonry chimney venting the heater exhaust gases stands to the left of the core.

The Finnish contraflow core and chimney are completed and ready for the stone veneer.

The completed core and chimney are ready for the stone veneer to start.
The  rear side of the core opens into the kitchen. The rectangular opening on the back of the core is the white bake-oven for cooking.A view of the kitchen of the heater core and chimney. The white bake-oven is ready to go.

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Florham Park, New Jersey: Exterior Natural Fieldstone Home Veneer

15 December '09 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

Florham Park Outside Natural Stone Veneer

View of the client’s home after a major home renovation. The natural fieldstone stone veneer wraps around the porch providing a focal point for the home’s new look. The new stone chimney is also visible. The chimney vents the new masonry heater warming the home.

Florham Park Outside Natural Stone Veneer

The porch top is Pennsylvania bluestone in a random pattern.

Florham Park Outside Natural Stone Veneer

Florham Park NJ Stonemason fieldstone bluestone porch

Florham Park Outside Natural Stone Veneer

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Hampton, New Jersey: Swedish Five Channel Masonry Heater

22 July '09 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

The family’s heater after several seasons of use is seen in the photo below.

The heater viewed from the opposite side is shown below. The bake-oven is in the home’s kitchen.

The owners of this 1970′s Colonial home were delighted to find a secluded,  beautiful wooded lot in the rural North West New Jersey. The family decided to take advantage of the ample woods in the surrounding area as a way to reduce energy bills and their impact on the environment. After researching clean and efficient wood burning appliances they arrived at the best choice for burning cordwood: a masonry heater.

The home had an existing traditional, inefficient wood burning fireplace. The fireplace is centered in the home, dividing the kitchen and living room, a perfect location for a masonry heater.

After a consultation with Fire Works Masonry and a review of the existing home and fireplace, the decision was made to demolish the existing fireplace and move ahead with an efficient wood burning masonry heater. The location of the fireplace in  the home was ideal for the radiant heat of the masonry heater.
The kitchen view of the rear of the existing fireplace.

The kitchen view of the rear of the existing fireplace.

The family decided to renovate the original kitchen and open up the floor plan. The heater’s bake-oven and radiant heat will both warm the kitchen.

The existing fireplace is demolished and removed to a local recycling center. The fireplace’s foundation was modified to accommodate the new masonry heater . Once the foundation work is completed, a new concrete hearth pad is poured and capped with a course of firebricks.

The new masonry heater hearth pad with firebrick base course.

The new masonry heater hearth pad with firebrick base course

The double wall firebox and side channels start.

The facing brick start once the core is completed.
The facing brick begins around the loading doors.

The facing brick begins around the loading doors.

The brick facing continues.

The brick facing continues.

The facing brick on the rear of the heater, including the bake-oven arch.

The facing brick on the rear of the heater, including the bake-oven arch.

A view from the side of the completed brick work.

A view from the side of the completed brick work.

The first coat of surface bonding cement is applied.

The first coat of surface bonding cement is applied.

The rear of the heater after the first surface bonding cement application.

The rear of the heater after the first surface bonding cement application.

A small curing fire burns in the firebox shortly after the first coat of American Clay plaster is applied.

A small curing fire burns in the firebox shortly after the first coat of American Clay plaster is applied.

The first coat of American Clay plaster is applied.

The first coat of American Clay plaster is applied.

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Milford, Connecticut: Finnish Contraflow Masonry Heater.

18 January '09 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

The homeowners warm the downstairs construction project.

The fireplace is finished before the rest of the ambitious home improvement project.
The fireplace is finished before the rest of the ambitious home improvement project.

This simple stucco Finnish contraflow heater warms the center of a 100 year old home in Milford, Ct.  The old home is being completed upgraded by the new owners.

The Milford, Connecticut home.

When considering the home’s energy plan, the family started by increasing the home’s efficiency and lowering the home’s heat load. The family gutted the old plaster and lathe walls and filled the uninsulated empty voids with insulation. The old single pane windows were replaced next with modern low emissivity energy efficient windows.

The home also had an existing original fireplace. The fireplace was not energy efficient nor safe by modern code standards. When considering energy efficiency in their plan, this fireplace had no place.

The original existing masonry fireplace.

The front and rear of the old, traditional fireplace.

The rear of the original existing fireplace.

The fireplace and chimney were demolished and removed leaving the space open for a wood burning appliance and vented with a new metal double wall insulated chimney pipe.

The original fireplace is removed.

When considering a heat source for the old home, the family decided on an old wood burning solution; a clean burning masonry heater. The family contacted Amazin’ Masons and the heater design work began.

The family wanted a simple heater to fit the space and design style of the home. They liked the idea of a clay stucco finish on a heater with clean straight lines. A few possible designs were sketched for review.

Milford layout draft.

Once the design for the new heater is finalized, the work can begin on the core. The heater’s core goes up quickly using Masonry Stove Builders’ Heat-Kit.

The firebox is completed and the core continues.

The firebox is completed and the core continues.

The Heat-Kit core is completed and ready for the capping slabs.

The Heat-Kit core is completed and ready for the capping slabs.The 4" block veneer begins around the core.The  block veneer begins around the Heat-Kit core. Four inch concrete blocks are used for an inexpensive heater shell.

The block veneer continues above the loading door.

The block veneer continues above the loading door.

The block veneer continues above the heater core.

The block veneer rises above the heater core.

The first scratch coat on the heater.

Once the block shell and chimney are completed, the first scratch coat is applied.

The second coat of thin-set plaster.

The second coat of thin-set plaster.

Once the stucco plaster is completed, the doors are installed and the first curing fires begin.

One of the first fires burns down inside the firebox.

One of the first fires burns down inside the firebox.

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Rock Hill, NY Finnish Contraflow Heater.

12 October '08 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

This very simple heater warms this renovated barn in the New York Catskills. To accommodate for an upcoming bridge improvement, the town had scheduled this small barn for demolition. The new owner of the property decided to move and renovate the old barn as his new home instead.With acres of woods on the old farm property, an open floor plan and very cold winters, the owner decided to heat this new home with the most efficient wood burning appliance there is: a masonry heater. The homeowner wanted an aesthetically simple look for the Finnish fireplace. A basic heater shell and chimney would be constructed and coated with plain stucco.The Finnish contraflow Heat-Kit core is finished in a single day working with heater expert Norbert Senf from Masonry Stove Builders. Here is a view of the completed core from the loft space above.The outer wall, or veneer of the heater covering the core is simple firebrick on edge. The chimney is made of 4" masonry blocks.The doors and masonry to metal chimney transition are installed.The metal chimney is completed. Work on the rest of the home progresses as well. The heater is part of a divider wall between the master bedroom and main floor living space. This wall is also completed in the photo below.The rear heater wall acts as a vertical radiant panel warming the bedroom on even the coldest winter nights. The homeowner's bed moves to the rear wall of the masonry heater in the coldest winter months.

The completed, simple firebrick heater.

The homeowner liked the simple, “honest” look of the firebrick and block. He choose to not go forward with the final stucco layer for the present time.One of the first fires in the completed masonry heater.

For more great pictures of this home, check out the homeowner’s blog.

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Kutztown, PA: Hand-Built Finnish Contraflow Heater.

10 October '08 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

One of the first small fires in this Finnish contraflow heater.

This hand built Finnish contraflow masonry  heater warms the center of a masterful Amish timber frame home surrounded by Pennsylvania farmland. The owners designed an energy responsible home including passive and active solar, high insulation ratings, and a masonry heater in the center of the open floor plan. The heater lays between the kitchen and main living space of the home. The thick concrete floor and the massive heater also compose the thermal storage battery for the ample southern exposure windows providing passive solar heat storage .

Kitchen view of the completed heater including bake oven and soapstone countertop.

The clients excavated the heater’s local limestone veneer stone from the partially buried foundation remains of a building on the farm property. Two inch thick bluestone slabs cap the heater and small benches. There is a soapstone mantle above the loading doors. There is an additional small soapstone shelf before the bakeoven door as well as a spacious soapstone preparation counter at waist level. The client also provided clay tiles from a local artist to accent the heater and chimney.

A small terra cota tile with an owl, one of a dozen tiles inset into the heater's local stone veneer.

Freshly grouted terra cota dragon tile centerpiece surrounded by soapstone accent pieces.

The clients were excited about the many possibilities for the bake oven on the rear of the heater. Fresh scones were the first product.

The heater began with a discussion to determine the best location for the heater in the floor plan. Once the basic location and elements were finalized, detailed concept sketches were reviewed.

A detailed concept sketch for the masonry heater in the home.

The final kitchen side design sketch.

The heater starts with the core. Here we see the firebox floor followed by the completed firebox.

The start of the heater core. The first bricks in the firebox wall are in place.

The completed heater double wall firebox.

Once the core is completed, including the bake oven chamber, the side down draft channels are constructed. Here we see the beginning of the chimney side channel. When both side channels are completed the chimney base begins, as seen here from the kitchen side.

The heater's core with the start of the chimney side down draught channel.

The masonry chimney is constructed and plastered.

The completed chimney with plaster coating.

After the completion of the core and chimney, the stone veneer starts.

The stone veneer is started with a base layer around the heater.

The stone work includes openings for the loading, ash dump, and clean out doors.

New Smithville soapstone mantel is laid in the veneer stone.

A temporary wooden crosspiece supports the freshly laid hearth in front and cook shelf the rear.

The soapstone bake oven shelf is placed.

The stone work is completed and capped with local Pennsylvania bluestone.

One of the first small fires in this Finnish contraflow heater.

For more pictures and information on this amazing, zero-net energy home, check out the homeowner’s blog.

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Garrison, NY: Fieldstone Finnish Contraflow Masonry Heater

02 October '08 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

A charge of wood at full combustion in the Garrison, NY heater.

An intense burn in the firebox, Garrison, NY.

This heater warms a home in the wooded foothills of the Hudson valley. The Appalachian Trail runs on the crest of the ridge behind the house. The clients designed the home to take advantage of passive solar heating and the clean heat of a masonry heater. They wished to use the colorful stone on the property for the heater finish as well as for masonry accents along the house. The heater divides a living and family room in the house with convenient bake oven access from the kitchen.

The heater divides the main family living space and kitchen in Garrison, NY.

The rear of the heater with a black oven.

The rear heater wall with bakeoven in Garrison, NY.

The family took a very active roll in the heater design. The clients were building a full finished basement to support a prefabricated house. They built the house with solar Southern alignment and added more windows on that side to provide passive solar heat. After researching clean burning, efficient wood heat on the internet the family decided on a masonry heater for the home’s main heat source. The large stone heater mass also adds to the home’s solar heat storage.

The heater was designed to the family’s wishe, dividing a living room and family room space. The bake-oven is adjacent to the open kitchen. The heater’s layout design and concept sketches were completed.

The final heater design concept sketch.

The heater is offset from the chimney by a five foot long heated bench/wood box.  The firebrick bench to the left connects the heater exhaust to the chimney. The bench and chimney  are both lined with firebricks to increase the overall thermal mass.

The completed core, bench and chimney.

 

The completed firebox.

 

Once the core was completed and wrapped, the stone from the client’s property is started. Ideal heater veneer stones are no thicker than five inches. Thicker stones decrease the surface temperature of the heater and increase the time it takes for the energy from the burn to be released into your home. Here we see the stone on the bake oven side of the heater near completion.

The stone veneer is started on the bakeoven side of the heater in Garrison, NY.

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May’s Landing, NJ: Dry-Stack Stone Finnish Contraflow Heater.

25 July '08 by , under Fire Works Masonry News.

The completed masonry heater.

This Finnish contraflow heater warms the center of an open floor timber frame home in Southern New Jersey. The heater surrounds the comfortable space the family spends most of their time and also provides a direct view of the heater’s vibrant flames from the kitchen and dining room. The rear wall of the stove provides a vertical floor to ceiling radiant heat panel in the master bedroom behind masonry stove.

After reviewing the client’s house design and discussing his and her preferences for the look of the heater, several concept sketches were drafted and reviewed. Starting with the heater optimum location in the home’s floor plan.

The client expressed an interest in the convenience of the woodbox to store a few days supply of wood as well as the comfort of a wrap around heated bench. Rough sketches were refined to a final design plan.

Dry stack masonry  heater concept sketch#1

Dry stack masonry heater concept sketch #2

The heater and chimney footing, foundation, and hearth pad were built to support the masonry mass. The large foundation also serves as an ash dump for the heater. It will be several seasons before any cleaning of the fine ash is needed.

May's Landing Foundation

Next the Heat-Kit core is positioned and assembled.

The completed Heat-Kit core.

Once the core was finished the outer heater shell and chimney are started. This heater is faced with firebrick on edge and will later be covered with the natural thin stone veneer. The masonry chimney base has begun and the clay flue tiles for the wrap around heated bench have been roughed out.

Completed firebrick shell and the start of the masonry chimney.

After the firebrick shell and chimney base are completed, the entire surface is coated with a fiberglass reinforced stucco in preparation for the thin stone veneer.

The heater shell and chimney base are coated in stucco for the natural thin stone veneer.

The stone veneer continues.

The stone veneer continues.

The finished heater burning a charge of wood.

Completed heater a few minutes into a burn.

A view of the completed heater from the upstairs balcony.

The heated bench and capping slabs are colorful Tennessee sandstone.

A close up view of the heater's Tennessee sandstone heated bench top.

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