When Matt installed our wood stove years ago, he and Aaron spent a beer-fueled night in Aaron’s shop using angle iron, Quikrete®, cooking spray, and stone to make us a hearth and heat shield. After it was installed we promptly started abusing it. Before we (well, Matt, really) were willing to admit that fire starters are practical, we had to start all our fires with kindling. A lot of fires get started before it’s light out or after dusk has fallen, so most of the kindling was split in the house . . . on the hearth. After a year or two of hacking and banging and cursing we finally resorted to cheap, effective fire starters. But the damage was done.
Until I got bored yesterday.
I picked out all the loose stones and concrete chunks, leaving anything that was still firmly adhered to the chicken wire, and vacuumed and swept and vacuumed and swept (and pretended that I was an archaeologist).
Then I carefully rearranged everything and slathered on more Quikrete®. I used about twice as much water as the bucket recommended so that I had a frosting-like consistency to work with. Bare hands, it turns out, are the best applicator.
Today it’s still not totally dry, but very nearly there. Even if the color never fades to match the surrounding material it still looks better than it did – and it’s a hell of a lot easier to sweep!
P.S. Thanks again, for the woodstove, Dad!