Fireplace Progress: Logs to Burn

by Josh on October 28, 2005 · 4 comments

in Fireplace,Living Room,Projects

My work stripping the paint from the fireplace continues at a steady snail’s pace. I figure that it’s taking me nearly an hour per brick to go from completely painted to satisfactorily paint-free. I’ve done about 48 bricks so far out of 112 total. Closing in on the halfway mark feels awfully good. I’ll have the final 8 bricks on the left half cleaned up by the end of the night, meaning it’ll soon be time to put the Peel Away on the right half!

Fireplace progress

In the midst of a tedious project like this, it’s helpful to create some incentives to get the work done. A big incentive for the fireplace project arrived today in the delivery of firewood to fill the new log rack I built for the front porch a couple weeks ago. Just thinking about relaxing on the sofa with a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire in the beautifully unpainted fireplace is enough to keep me going as I brush, scrape, wipe and pick the paint bits out of the brick.

Log Rack

I also saw a nice looking fireplace screen at an antique store today. The price was alright, so I may wait until payday then go back to see if it is still waiting for me. Some proper fireplace accessories would be another good incentive for this project.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne October 28, 2005 at 5:42 am

If you don’t mind me asking, where do you get your logs?


JimV October 28, 2005 at 9:57 am

Fireplace is looking great, I see you’re using a product called Peel Away, but I was wondering how its actually applied?

What are your plans for the bricks after you’ve stripped them all?

I just started a new site ( to catalog some of my home improvements and other adventures. I added your links. Keep up the good work, its looking great.


Josh October 28, 2005 at 7:49 am

Hi Anne, the firewood came from J&J Tree Service. I found them in an ad in the StarTribune, but now I’ve lost their number. It was $125 for 4′ X 8′ X 16″ of dry oak delivered, plus I paid an extra $20 for them to carry it up to my front porch (garage delivery is free). If I find that phone number I’ll let you know.


Josh October 28, 2005 at 11:54 am

Welcome the the blogosphere, Jim, and thanks for the link!

Here’s the deal with Peel Away: It is sold by the bucket (~$25/each) and includes the paper covering, gloves and a plastic applicator. The product itself has the consistency of mashed potatoes (Mmmm!) and will cling to vertical surfaces. You use the plastic spatula to spread the Peel Away over the surface to be stripped and then cover it with the paper covering.

After the Peel Away has worked for a day or two, you use the scraper to peel off the paper and paint remover along with a lot of the paint. The remaining paint should be soft and able to be scraped off with putty knives and profile scrapers. I have used wire brushes as well to get into the nooks of the fireplace brick.

Once the paint is removed, you wash the surface with a Peel Away neutralizer. This is supposed to remove a haze left from the paint stripper and make the surface ready to accept new finish. To complete the restoration of the brick, I will also wash the fireplace with a 50/50 mix of mineral spirits and boiled linseed oil to bring some richness and depth to the brick.

Another note: Don’t use Peel Away 1 on wood you don’t intend to paint again– it darkens the wood surface. Peel Away 7 is safe for wood that will be stained/varnished, but it is much more expensive than Peel Away 1.

Check back to see how my fireplace comes out!


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