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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

The Process of Installing a Chimney

Saturday before last, November 10th, my dad came out to help begin the process of installing the stovepipe and chimney for the old (antique?) Kalamazoo stove we have put in the middle room downstairs (where the fireplace will eventually be built). I have the wood cookstove in the kitchen, but we miss pulling a chair up to a crackling fire. Hence this addition - not out of necessity but rather for ambiance.

Anyway, here begins the process with them downstairs . . . Tom actually standing atop the Kalamazoo! (And, yes, the green towel on top of enamel DID make the surface rather slippery - ah-hem.)
Once the hole was cut in the proper place in the ceiling of the first floor / floor of the second floor (pretty boring to photograph), they moved upstairs where the stovepipe will extend through the master bedroom, adding warmth to that space.

The first order of business in the final tricky stage of cutting through the thick Structural Insulated Panel ceiling / roof was removing the ceiling paneling. That's what Tom's doing in this second picture.
Next was tearing the sub-floor of the SIPs out - not an easy job since it was Superglued (or whatever they use) to the 12-inch-thick hard foam insulation of the SIP. (And, yes, you do see wood resting in the rafters of our bedroom . . . but that's a story for another day.)

Finally, it was 12 inches of insulation up to the top deck of the SIP and then the zinc roof shingles. And, this is where the story gets interesting! ;)

When the SIP installers have to cut out any portion of the hard foam insulation, they use this "iron" which melts right through it. The thing must kick out about a million BTUs, and the smell of the melting foam is HORRID! Talk about releasing carcinogens! But, point being, it's a handy tool. (Here you see Tom using it deep in the hole through which the chimney will pass.)

H-O-W-E-V-E-R . . . in hindsight, we now realize we'd only seen it used outdoors or when there were no windows/doors on the house. And, with good reason: VENTILATION.

As my dad is looking on, noting the dangerously hot bits of melting foam falling down onto Tom (yes, some did land on his arm and burned it, I only discovered this past Sunday - a good week later) and commenting on the toxic noxious fumes being released (and that he'd do the job with a saw) . . . we notice the cloud of gasses that, for the third time, was building up in the hole. (See photo below.)

Then, WHOOM!, and the gases IGNITED, shooting a massive fireball out of the small, concentrated space down at Tom!

Is everyone okay? Everyone's fined - just a little freaked out! The hard foam is crackling to beat the band. Is it on fire? If so, will the fire spread along the roof - caught between the zinc shingles and the sub-floor of the SIPs? Where's the fire extinguisher, just in case?

The final picture is of Dad finishing out the job . . . this time with SAW in hand. The electric iron was, by this time, cooling outside on the wet front stoop, and we will not, needless to say, be using that in an enclosed space again.

Ah, yes . . . well, at least it's never boring! ;)

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