Thursday, September 17, 2015


The Chimney is done and the self-made Chimney Cap is in place!  It took me less time than I had thought, but more work than I had thought.  A little background for our new readers:  Over a year ago, I had to attack my living room and tear out a section about 12 x 12 feet.  I worked most of the summer tearing out and then replacing joists, floor and walls. It was long hard work and my wife and I did it alone. The stress landed me in the hospital exactly 1 year ago this last weekend, which caused me to have to put a hold on these final parts of the project. Most importantly, was the chimney to my fireplace.

You'd think I would have got to that this summer, but if you'll read last week's post you'll see references to rain, and slippery roofs and reasons to put off the chimney install to the right weekend. Ok, so now we're caught up and you, like me, can marvel at the wonder the concept: This last weekend, the chimney was installed!  (Yes, I'm going to say that a few more times, I'm very proud of my accomplishment, so bear with me.)

I thought I'd share my efforts in preparation for the install.  Y'see, I needed a part to finish the chimney (look up there, ain't it keen?) and couldn't seem to find one anywhere. The part I needed was the ring that held the chimney pieces together.  (You can see it as it originally was installed here.) I had spent the day in the hardware store looking at 're-workable' stovepipe parts and found this: 
This is  a piece of stove pipe made for standard wood burning stoves which I knew I could use.  You see those three ends each has a separate collar held on with just a couple of rivets. It's a simple job for me to cut those rivets off and refashion the collars for my own use in assembly of a triple wall chimney (yeah, no one carries them anymore and the company has changed owners, so there's no way to find one, let alone replace it. Gotta re-manufacture it - a Southern Tradition in itself.) One collar for the inner chimney, one for the center chimney and the third to help the other two fit properly. Like this: 
Inner Chimney w/collarCenter Wall w/collar
And then of course the outer wall.  
There is still a lot to do on this project, but for the moment I'm going to be insufferable.  I've been walking around work showing off my pictures of the chimney like a new father showing off his offspring.  (I'd hand out cigars if they weren't so expensive!)

In truth, I feel I may have garnered more points to become a true Good Ol' Boy, a card carrying member of the True South. I showed off my ability to think through a problem, refashion something for my own use and I got a chance to fix things up right!  But more than that, I got to use an angle grinder to cut metal and throw a large plume of sparks out across the roof of my house. Very satisfying.  
The next day I took this pic of the storm collar and chimney cap combination with the rising sun shining off them.  I can hardly wait for the next rain storm!  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chimney Repair and Metal Fabrication

It has been a summer to remember.  Heat and rain and more heat and more rain. Normally we would have heat all summer and then rain as the hurricane season hits the southern Atlantic. This year we have had a lot of rain all summer long - every weekend in fact.  

The rain and heat have kept me indoors and the major repair work standing still.  The next step to the work is to replace the chimney but in order to do that I have to be able to get up on the roof and as sure footed as I like to believe I am, I am not going up on the roof in the rain.  In addition, I expect the chimney will take me at least a day and a half if not two and there hasn't been a weekend without rain this entire summer. (Ok, I take that back, there's been two weekends, but I was out of town on both those weekends. Go figure.) 

Even as the summer comes to a close, I am eyeing a time when I can finalize the chimney and get the house finished. I've spent all summer looking for the one part I need to repair this and have finally come to the realization that I will need to get it fabricated. 

But where? How?

I've called all the metal fabrication shops in the area and  none are open on the weekend.  They're happy to see me during the week, but no one is available on the weekend.  I guess my next step is to take time off from work just to get this little thing made.

But then the Southerner in me takes over. That "we can find a way" attitude that gets things done by thinking through and doing, not getting someone else to do it.  Ok, so what's the answer?  Even the lovely Mrs. suggested that there had to be some ready made pipe or piece I could refashion, so I spend a day walking through the big hardware store looking at things that might work and bingo - I find it.  A piece of stove pipe with a couple of ready made pieces attached to it that can be cut off and refashioned around my chimney with just a little work.

In less than a day I've done just that. The collars are made and ready for installation along with the chimney itself.  Southern Genes?  Maybe so, but let's hold off on judgement until I get this project done!

See you next week!

Follow the fabrication completion by clicking here!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Atlanta - The Cosmopolitan South

I've lived in many cities in my life.  Denver, Los Angeles and even Reno Nevada.  Each has it's own flavor and as much as I enjoyed living in each of those areas (each for their own reasons) I absolutely love living in the south.  You know this already, though, didn't you?

Nashville, where I live and work, is called the 'Mid South.'  Places like Mississippi and Louisiana are called the Deep South.  The further south you go, you get deeper and deeper until you hit the gulf.  Then, there's Florida.  Yes, Florida is 'the south', but they don't have the southern accent so I just don't include them.  My blog, my rules.  But as usual, I digress. 

One of the most fun places to visit in the South is Atlanta, Georgia.  (Bubba Pronunciation Guide: et-LANN-uh, JO-juh)  Atlanta is considered to be a shining jewel of the south, a cosmopolitan city the likes of which you cannot find elsewhere. 

When someone first told me that Atlanta was very 'cosmopolitan', I figured it was where they published the magazine.  (No, really.) I later found out that Cosmopolitan means "familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures."  Atlanta is quite cosmopolitan! What makes it so 'cosmopolitan' is the wonderful mixture of southerners and transplants from across the globe, living in small tight knit groups within the matrix of a single city. 

This mix gives you incredible restaurants with 5 Star Michelin ratings sitting almost elbow to elbow with restaurants specializing in African, European, Australian cuisine and maybe even Caribbean with a Southern flair.  Anything is possible.  It makes Atlanta 'Cosmopolitan' with a capital 'C' AND a place to visit - here in the South!