Truth window


Yesterday I got the fireplace up to mantle height. Once I have some design discussions with the woodworker about the installation of the mantle, I’ll finish out the area above and focus exclusively on the chimney. As it is right now, I have a long walk to retrieve forgotten tools.
Limited lighting in the cabin, hence the lower quality of the image.


This a view of the wedge and shims that got stuck in the end of the lintel. I’m calling this the truth window, after the openings they leave in a straw bale wall to show what’s behind the stucco rendering.


This little stone sets into place nicely, but is easily removed to see what’s behind the truth window.


The biggest spider I’ve ever seen not in a pet store. He was about two inches across, which doesn’t sound that large, but he certainly caught my attention. This is a wolf spider, a roaming hunting spider. A good reminder why I should wear gloves in the stone pile. All indications suggest this will be another banner year for black widows.

Assorted pics


I lost a wedge and set of feathers in the lintel stone. The stone broke cleanly, but this wedge, at the front edge of the stone, didn’t split quite right. The wedge remains, well stuck in the stone. In this picture, the wedge is set about two inches back from the front of the fireplace. I am leaving a ‘truth window’ in the stonework, so that you can look inside this little pocket and see the stranded tool.


This is my work space in the cabin, morning light filtering in. The recessed floor is where the hearthstones will be set.


There are marbles throughout this project, including this playful little dragon, well hidden in the face of the fireplace.


This tiger beetle has been a shiny emerald skittering around my stone piles.


This spring has been the wettest in years and the salamanders are in seventh salamander heaven. Everyday I see a few, under stones, in the creek or sometimes just walking around in the damp leaf litter. I believe this to be a Mountain Dusky Salamander, but I am not certain of my ID.

Setting the lintel


Today I set the lintel on the fireplace at the cabin in Mars Hill. The lintel is 46″ long and approximately 9″ by 9″ square. I cut it from a large slab, that weighed just shy of 1900 pounds. Here I am waiting for a fissure to emerge. I’m cutting the end of the lintel off using feathers and wedges. It’s very gratifying to listen to the stone as it splits; it sounds like ice.


Reid and Zach were on hand to help with all the lifting. We used 6″ by 6″ blocks to make a very sturdy tower in front of the fireplace. This made it much easier to lift the stone into and out of place, three times total. The first time I saw the general placement and marked the bottom of the stone for shaping. The second lift was to check the fit. I made some minor shaping adjustments and then the third lift was onto a mortar bed.


The lintel leftovers, all 1,000 pounds of it, made a good step onto the cabin porch. We will adjust grade so that the step down is consistent across the face of the step, which will effectively hide the oddball build up stones.

A couple of the drill holes on the face of the steps broke such that they can hold marbles. These are easily removed by kids, but the others are a couple of inches down a hole that didn’t break open at all. Those will be tougher to get.

Below is a detail of the break between the lintel and the step stone, just after I split them.