Paradise ponders... Yesterday was another very busy day. I was really tired by the time I went to bed!
I've finished the fireplace door mortaring. The first step was to mask off all the beautiful hammered steel. The first photo below shows that process underway. It involved most of a roll of duct tape, a few square feet of polyethylene film, a pocket knife, and a few bruised knuckles. :) The second step can't be seen in the photos. It involved cutting up pieces of 1/2" hardware cloth to make “armatures” that I could place mortar on. An aside: when I went to our local hardware store to buy the hardware cloth, I couldn't find it. So I asked a store employee – an older fellow who specializes in hardware – and he had never heard of hardware cloth! So I described it for him, and then he led me right to it. His face, when he saw the roll was labeled “hardware cloth” was absolutely priceless! :) I needed these armatures because in several places I had 1" or larger gaps, too big to slop mortar into without something to support it. The third step was to actually place the mortar. This I did by mixing small batches (a few pounds at a time) of relatively stiff mortar, and then making little balls in my gloved hands and shoving them into place. I have much more control with my fingers than with a tool; this worked really well. I could squish mortar into some fairly small crevices this way. Once I got enough mortar into any given location, I used a finger to smooth it out and leave a rough-finished texture (like the rest of our fireplace). Finally there was the cleanup. The photo at right below shows the aftermath of that, along with the primary tools: a bowl of water and some rags. Much elbow grease was involved in this operation! This afternoon, after 24 hours of curing, I'll be removing the masking – and we'll know whether to celebrate or cry. :)