Tales of Unnatural Ambition

It started simple, as most things do.  The man cave is chilly.  Propane to heat the house is very expensive, especially when the winter drives up the prices.  I’m expecting a long cold winter this year so an alternative fuel source would be welcome.  I have lots of wood and the post man brings be half a ton of free paper to burn every year.

Solution:  Install a wood stove.

First I checked the local contractors.  A simple installation would run about $10K.  That would include a stove, chimney and nothing else.

I couldn’t afford that so I started looking at ways to do it myself.

I figured I could complete the project in the long Veteran’s day weekend.  I was sadly wrong, for a lot of reasons.  My initial plan was to remove the combustables from the wall and floor and put in some ceramic tiles.  i compared buying a simple heat shield from the Stove store for $250 or making one out of tile myself for $50.  I win.

Step 1:  Start demolition.  I removed the carpet and drywall.

Step 2:  Get wife’s approval to destroy her house.

Step 3:  Totally redesign the project to suit wife’s tastes.

The new project now includes masonry, putting drywall back up, Porcelain tile, framing, Moving wiring, Concrete demolition, and chimney.   The easiest and cheapest part was buying the stove.

Cost of Tile itself is already over $500.  My original budget for the whole project was $1000 (stove $500).  I am already comitted to twice that now.

I worked on this all weekend and I’m not even close to being done.  So, I will be updating this later.

I discovered I really suck at laying brick.  I couldn’t get the mortar mix right.  Too soupy or too dry.  it wouldn’t stick to the bricks.  I laid out two test courses and then took them apart because they weren’t working.  I checked on the internet and every resource was unanimous about the right mixture being a “matter of feel” not an exact recipe.  Thanks for nothing.  The youtube videos make it look so easy.  It is not that easy for me.

But mortar and sand are cheap.  I know where I can get more.


Updates and pictures will follow.


About No One

I am totally non-threatening
This entry was posted in Arts and crafts. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tales of Unnatural Ambition

  1. Og says:

    The secret is to do it so many times it becomes second nature, and you throw away a lot in the meantime.

    I generally mix runny, then add dry until I get the consistency I want. I use an old colander with a handle to sort of sift dry in on top of the runny stuff, a couple shakes at a time and then stir, you want it to basically look a bit too dry, and it should form a clump in your hand that sticks together. best of luck, I know how much of a pain this is. I was lucky I have a fireplace I could just put a high efficiency insert in.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s