We reinstalled everything that we yanked out when we had the water scare, and things were feeling normal again. Except the weather was getting colder, and we'd lost a lot of time. No way we're sitting this winter out. Priority #1 is now heat. We set to work building our hearth.
Our hearth is almost purely for aesthetics. The Kimberly woodstove
we’re using has ridiculously tiny clearances, and we have given it much more room than is necessary. In addition, the vent pipe we’re using only has a 1? clearance to combustibles, so let me preface all this by saying the space we’ve allocated is overkill.
This is the 1/4" cement board to which we'll be attaching our thin cut brick. Though the cement board is fire and heat resistant, I don't think we'll be using any of those properties, and mostly will be happy it doesn't expand and contract, popping our mortared joints.
That hole in both the cement board and the floor is for external combustion air. It's probably not necessary, but it's easy and safe.
This is the thin cut brick we're using. They’re smaller than standard bricks, which works to our advantage. The thinner/smaller the building materials we’re able to use the more space we appear to have inside. We attached them to the cement board with Liquid Nails.
Little wood strips served as our spacers for the walls.
It all looked really good with bricks alone, but the mortar really is the finishing touch.
We tried a couple methods of applying mortar before just giving up and using the finger-painting method. The space between our bricks is far less than standard spacing, so normal tools wouldn't help us. Just using our hands went really quickly and cleanly.
Here's what it looks like without/with the stove.
We had a little leftover brick, and made an accent wall along our counter. It all came out really well.
We're still waiting on the last few pieces of stovepipe to arrive, so we haven't had any fires yet. It looks like we'll be able to work through the winter, and should have no trouble keeping warm. Though nothing is moving as quickly as I hoped or planned, it is all turning out exactly as I hoped it would.
This brings us up to the present date. Thanks to the new admins who will be keeping these forums afloat. I'll be keeping this thread updated again.