Sunday, 27 April 2014

Fire Screen to stop little cats going up the chimney

A few days ago I awoke early one morning at around 5AM. I went down stairs to make coffees and sat for a while in my living room watching breakfast TV. I was joined by Anna the cat who is a totally black cat. She sat on my lap awhile and then got off. I heard her mooching around opening cupboard doors and the like. Next minute she appeared standing on the fire (which wasn't lit) staring up the chimney. The next thing I knew she had disappeared up the chimney and bits of soot and brick dust were falling down. Now the fire is gas powered and there isn't a great deal of soot up there but I was dumbfounded. "What do I do if she gets stuck?" - I thought. I had visions of firemen dismantling the brickwork of the chimney to get her out. Fortunately she emerged a few minutes later none the worse for her experience. I had noticed in the past that there were occasional black foot prints on the carpet so it must have been a regular thing for her.

So to put this to an end I stopped all the jobs I had in the shop to make a Fire Screen. I told my wife Elly I would just cut some plywood as a temporary stop gap until I could buy a wire mesh fireguard. Then I thought why not just make one from hardwood. I had some oak and some crown cut sapele ply left over from a previous project so I just knock together what is in effect a door without hinges. Construction is mortise and tenon joints with grooves to hold the ply in place. Finish is with shellac under ArmRSeal.

At the moment the screen is held in place with wedges but the intention is to have rare earth magnets in the screen engaging with some tiny, unobtrusive, steel brackets mounted on the brickwork.

As we very rarely use the fire it can remain in place. When we want to light the fire the screen simply lifts out and can be put behind a chair.

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