Fireplace Boiler Surround

I started a new project that I have had in mind for several years. I have loved Old Hickory furniture ever since we visited the Old Faithful hotel in Yellowstone National Park when we were first married. It is made in Indiana and has been in production since the 1800’s. I bought a side table years ago at a country auction. And I began purchasing some of the pieces in Arizona by finding a huge TV cabinet at an extreme discount in 2004. The doors did not fit exactly but the heftiness of the piece was impressive.

Purchased in 2004
Purchased in 2004

It is such a large piece that I have had trouble fitting furniture around it in the living room.

Moved to Colorado in 2014
Moved to Colorado in 2014

Finally I moved it so that it partially blocked off the hallway.

Back of cabinet over part of hallway
Back of cabinet over part of hallway

The new position allowed the best view of the new/used TV I bought when the monitor we had been using lost its audio.

Cabinet with new used TV
Cabinet with new used TV

The original plan for the stove was to build a wire frame and cover it with stucco to look like a kiva fireplace. That is such a homey look. But eventually I got the idea to combine the huge cabinet and the stove and still have the TV in the cabinet.

I delayed working on the plan because it seemed like a huge project. The cabinet is heavy and I knew I had to cut it in the living room creating quite a bit of dust. But after I finished the pillar I really wanted to move on to the another finish job in the room.

The boiler stove does not get hot to the touch. So the cabinet does not need the typical clearance between the flammable sides and the stove. I had a plan to dissipate the heat in the cabinet. I purchased ceramic fence insulators.

Ceramic fence insulator
Ceramic fence insulator

My plan was to use 1/4″ cement board to protect the wooden sides and space it away from the wood so air would be able to circulate around it and cool the sides.

Cement board installed
Cement board installed

But first I had to take the cabinet apart. The TV was relocated temporarily to a table on the other side of the room. And I began to remove the interior drawers, shelves and screws.

Taking the cabinet apart
Taking the cabinet apart

Once I had the cabinet apart I slid it over to the stove to calculate where the back of the stove had to be cut to allow it to push back to the wall and over the stove.

Moved to stove corner
Moved to stove corner

Then I used the reciprocating saw to cut through the wood. I thought it was oak plywood but upon further inspection realized the cabinet is oak veneer pressboard. But it is still very heavy.

First cuts of cabinet to fit around stove
First cuts of cabinet to fit around stove

Next I had to cut the middle shelf completely out in order to fit the cement boards at the sides and open the stove door. I left as much cabinet as I could in order for it to remain sturdy.

Cut out and pushed back over stove
Cut out and pushed back over stove

In order to get the cabinet pushed back over the stove I had to disconnect the plumbing and cut a hole in the side for the equipment to fit. Luckily I figured out how to disconnect the plumbing without having to remove the pump. I had to shift the cabinet back and forth to get the back leg around the equipment first.

Stove pumps and connections
Stove pumps and connections

Since I used shark bites it was possible to disconnect the piping and I will be able to reconnect it in its new location. Next I was able cut the metal studs to hold the cement board for the stone tile.

Framing started for facing
Framing started for facing

It was easier to remove the studs to install the cement board on the insulators. I still had to maneuver the drill around the stove. It helped that the cabinet can slide back and forth to gain space to work. Then I screwed the studs in with 1/2″ self tapping screws.

The most difficult part of the job was reconnecting the chimney. The pieces fit together very tightly and I had to try to line up the old screw holes. Where I could not use the existing holes I broke two drill bits making new holes for the screws. It took me all day to jockey the pipe enough to get it reconnected and screwed back together. While I was installing the pieces I cleaned the creosote from the inside. It was good to see that there was very little creosote in the pipe.

Chimney reinstalled
Chimney reinstalled

I temporarily placed some LED candles where the mantle will be. The TV will hang from an articulating arm installed above the mantel on a piece of the cabinet cut from the back panel. I need to have the TV swing away in order to check the pressure and temperature dial. After a few years of use though the stove does not exceed a safe pressure.

The beauty of the design is that the entire fireplace surround can be slid back from the stove just in case the stove needs some kind of maintenance that I can’t reach from the side opening. I’m very excited about the new look and additional area that this use frees up in the living room. Plus the style is exactly the cabin rustic I was hoping to have.

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