fireback lying on the floor

Removing the fireback

fireback in place

The back of the fireplace is lined with a solid concrete fireback, cemented into place.

I could have left it there, but it took up a lot of space in the fireplace. Also, the logo matches that on the back of the fire surround, so I’d like to keep them as a set.

I used cold chisels and bolster chisels to chip away the cement from between the fireback and the bricks of the chimney. It took a long time and a lot of effort; eventually, I removed enough cement from the sides of the fireback to make it look like it would come out.

fireback out of place

There was still the back edge of the top to do. That looked a bit more tricky, what with the chimney being in the way and everything. Usually, at this point, I’d discover I had the wrong tools for the job. However, this time, I had just the right tools.

The first chisels I bought were quite small, and I’d more recently bought a stubby-handled hammer. I hadn’t yet found a use for the stubby hammer, but now was its moment to shine. And shine it did. It was excellent at not having a big long handle in the way so that I could chip away the cement at the top of the back of the fireback. I worried that the fireback would have been cemented all the way down, but it wasn’t.

fireback on the floor

Once I’d chipped away enough cement so that the fireback was no longer attached to the wall, I gently jiggled it out a bit.

It soon became as clear as the blue sky on a sunny day that I would not be able to lift the fireback. What I could do was slowly lower it to the floor, without it landing on my toes. I needed it not to be just there, though, because it would be in the way. I would need someone stronger than me to shift.

Someone just like Colin, in fact. Colin was, as always, delighted to help.

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