Cutting into the Chimney Bricks in the Basement

Tonight, Liz and I resumed our post-work house work schedule. Our goal now is to be focusing more on the basement in the short term, trying to get a lot done before the weather gets too cold.

Bob helped us get started with the chimney down here, and marked our cut lines. He also did the hard work of removing the first few bricks, giving us a starting point to remove the remaining bricks once we’re done cutting.

It’s hard to see – but just inside each of the cut lines, there’s a small chisel mark. I added these per Bob’s instructions, on bricks that overlapped the cut line. As I understand it, these cuts help introduce a point of weakness prior to the cut line, to lessen the chance of the bricks breaking at a point past the cut line. Not a guarantee, but something to help minimize the chance of that happening.

The bottom of the chimney, with a bit of rubble from the first bricks removed.

The grinder, which I’m slowly getting better at using. It did kick up on me once or twice, at the very start of the cutting… which was a little surprising. But I realized those kicks were a result of me going in a little too deep with the blade. After that happened, I was much more mindful of how far in I was going, and didn’t experience any additional issues.

Liz, who helped with the cutting by manning the shop vac throughout the process. When I worked on the back basement on my own, it resulted in a lot of concrete dust getting kicked up. It made for a really smoky environment, after all the work was done.

With Liz’s help (she shadowed my cuts, and pulled in almost all the dust/debris), the basement was in really great shape afterwards. It didn’t look like we were lost in fog, and you could barely tell we’d been cutting lots of bricks.

The first cuts!

After the cuts were done, we started in on chiseling away the mortar and removing some bricks. We didn’t get too far in this part of the process (which seems really slow going), before we had to call it for the night.

Watching Bob chisel away, he made it look so easy. If the rate at which we removed bricks holds steady, it’s going to take us a really long time to get this adjusted (there’s yet another layer of bricks behind the first one).

Funny thing I just realized: we’re essentially trying to hurry up and break into this chimney, before things get too cold.

Basement Bricks
Prepping the Back Basement

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