This is our black monster, an enormous, centrally located, custom-built fireplace, chimney and wood box. It is terribly inefficient and puts lots of smoke back into the house, which reduces our indoor air quality. The wood box we wanted to demolish because it is unused space and will interfere with the necessary hearth pad for the new efficient soapstone wood stove we plan to install. Once Kevin began tackling the job, he realized it was a larger job than either of us had anticipated since the wood box is welded in places to the chimney, which we had planned to keep, and it was overbuilt out of oak floor boards with a layer of fire-resistant insulation behind that then more metal.
Kevin empties the wood box of our kindling and paper to begin the demolition. The interior was built in a similar manner as any hardwood floor. The top was a 200 pound piece of bluestone that our neighbor had to help remove to the garage. Have we mentioned how wonderful and helpful our neighbors are? If we can't find a way to reuse the bluestone, we'll sell it to someone who can.
Top off, and one side under deconstruction.
Savannah helped in her own way by building a nest out of the paper we had saved to start fires with.Finally the wood box is gone! We'll have to have someone sand and stain the unfinished oak floor beneath it (or attempt it ourselves) to match the rest of the main floor. Here Kevin is attempting to work on the fireplace as well. He got two sides off but the job was just too big to complete in a day without welding supplies.
As if that wasn't enough for the day Kevin still had the energy to trim the elm tree out front that had been damaged in the ice storm. He used his new chain saw and safety gear and I helped as much as I could in clearing away the debris.
Kevin evaluates the main branches that fell and begins to saw them into more useful sizes.
Here's the toughest one. If he had tried cutting directly by the tree trunk, the main branch could have fallen on him. By cutting the end shorter first and some of the "legs" it was standing on, he eventually got down to the trunk without incident.
Finally, a stack of logs beneath the tree to dry out and a pile of smaller branches to be hauled away.
In between hauling off cut logs and branches, I helped amuse the rascal by building a snow dragon for her to ride on.
It was a little on the tall side for her but with a little help up, she did just fine!
Hope you can see it without much contrast.
Savannah loved the snow dragon. Ride on size worked out well for her.