Remember this beauty from last week? If you missed it, you can check out how I restored that chunky mantel and painted the brick on my fireplace surround, here! I’m still loving everything about my new black brick fireplace and updated hearth. Everything is just popping all over the place, and I’m thrilled with the outcome. But let’s talk about that wood slice insert shall we?
I’ve had some people ask me about WHY we needed to seal over our fireplace in the first place. During our renovations and subsequent inspections, our fireplace was deemed “unusable” in it’s current state. To bring it up to snuff would of meant installing a new sealed fireplace insert and chimney. Costs in the thousands of dollars and not really worth it, since our fireplace resides in our bedroom, and is not responsible for heating our home. So the other option (and much cheaper option) to bring us up to “code” was to seal it so it was unusable as a wood-burning unit. Enter our clever fireplace insert. (Of course, you should check the building code regulation in your area, and talk to a licensed inspector before beginning any work on your wood burning fireplace). (This post may contain affiliate links. This means, should you end up making a purchase, advertisers give me a small percentage of that sale, at absolutely NO EXTRA COST to you. Click here for full disclosures).
We live on a property with a heck of a lot of trees. And, we chose one special beauty to help us out and bring a little nature and warmth into our snazzy new bedroom and hearth. We first made some rough cuts to our logs with the chain saw.
SUPPLIES FOR A WOOD SLICE FIREPLACE INSERT:
Next we had a scrap of particle shelving board from an old office unit. We trimmed it down to the perfect size to fit the back of our fireplace and we spray-painted it black.
Next we cleaned up our logs with our miter saw. Now if we had done a little more planning, we might of been satisfied with our chain saw cuts — however our first pass left the logs too long and much too heavy for this project. So we trimmed them down.
Now that we had a large selection of log pieces, we began planning them out on our black backing board. Remember our board is sized to the back of our fireplace, so there was no room for running the edge of our wood slices off the backing board. It was like a great, big, heavy puzzle to put together.
We decided to throw in a couple halved and quartered logs for visual interest, and to help us create a snug fitting arrangement. We kept making little adjustments until we were happy.
Now for the fun part! Glueing everything down. We used PL400 for the job. It has a strong bond and is suitable for adhering to brick as well (which we’ll need in an upcoming step).
The Kiddo was fascinated by this part and she was a big help keeping Mom’s hands free so I could keep taking pictures! Just put a little swirl of PL400 on the bottom of each log slice, and place it back down in it’s original position. Keep going until you hit every piece!
Do them one at a time until each wood slice has a hunk of glue on the bottom and nudge into position as needed.
Prop the whole structure up against something so you can get underneath. Drill a screw or two into each wood slice (upwards from the bottom). Now you should have a solid structure that won’t budge!
This had some weight to it. It took the two of us to carry it upstairs to our bedroom. Here it is, ready to be glued into position.
Next, we held it upright and laid down a healthy dose of PL400 all along the edges. The arrow in the photo above is pointing to the edge where the adhesive was applied.
We pushed the insert back until it made contact with the interior brick of the fireplace.
Here is a tip! We strategically placed halved logs at the bottom of our wood slice insert, to act like little feet. They help support the weight to allow the insert to stand on its own to a degree.
We also propped the insert up with a temporary dowel (you can see it in the photo above). We removed it once the adhesive was set, about two days later.
All that was left to do was to break out the black paint again and paint the border of brick that was revealed when we removed the old fireplace glass doors and frame. Thankfully that wasn’t too big of a job!
I’m happy to report our clever wood slice insert is still fantastic and holding up perfectly. And, I’m actually really loving the look of it. It’s so much more interesting than the old glass doors!
Whuddya know? If we had never been told by the inspector that things needed to change, we never would of been challenged with figuring out a fun way to block off the fireplace AND meet code. And, as it turns out — it was for the better!
The wood slice hearth totally adds warmth to our bedroom, and it makes for a really great view first thing in the morning!
What do you think? Have you ever had a strange code violation that made you think outside the box? This was so fun to make and it actually got the entire family involved. Win-win!