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Feb 9th 2011 1:59PM Rich,
Once again your full of Sh#t, all firebrick tend to crack with the heat of the fire directly on them in the firepit, since this is the hottest point of the fire. But from cleaning fireplaces for 21 years I run into cracked bricks far and inbetween. Thats why IRC 2006 requires fireboxes to be built with firebrick with a minimum thickness of 2 inches. And the smoke chambers only have to be built with solid bricks with a minimum thickness of 8 inches. This is because obvisouly the firebox is closest to the fire, and the smoke chamber doesn't get the heat a firebox endures. Even after inspecting chimneys that experienced chimney fires with temperatures reaching the 1100 to 2500 degrees I've only found very few brick structures with failed bricks. So do the public a favor and stick to building fireplaces and keep your uninformed opinions to yourself.
Feb 9th 2011 1:49PM Rich,
Master builder maybe but very uninformed totally, for your records pine has been and still is tested and found to be no more dangerous than other hard woods. When seasoned pine burns its true it does burn hotter more quickly than oak which tends to burn slower but the construction if done properly will not deteriorate more quickly for pine than for oak. Actually seasoned pine produces less creosote than oak, due to the shorter burn period and hotter burn.
Any unseasoned wood is bad for your system but if your using well seasoned wood you can burn anything.
And your comments about chimney sweeps not being qualified for repairs is all wet, I have been in the business for 21 years and can find only 1 out of every 10 fireplaces i inspect that were built properly. There are more butchers out there building chimneys and fireplaces verses incompetant chimney sweeps.
I'll put my knowledge of construction practices up against your "Master Builder" knowledges any day.