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Old 10-17-2012, 10:45 AM  
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Default Brick mantel on brick!

I am currently trying to makeover my fireplace on a very tight in there is no more budget I have to work with what I have. I removed the monstrous brick hearth with no issues...but now I am faced with removing the brick three tier mantel that appears to be built into the rest of the brick. The issue is I can't just take a sledge hammer and start pounding because I cannot damage the surrounding bricks. All the brick is going to be covered but this fireplace is believed to be load bearing, so I cannot remove the brick. But i was told that I could "make the flush with the rest of the wall"...but how. I tried removing the mortar/grout with a hammer and chisel and it took thirty minutes to do around one brick....thinking this would make it easier to break the brick....that sucker isn't budging. Any advice on how to do this?

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Old 10-17-2012, 11:20 AM  
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Not sure what load would be on the chimney but I have been surpised before.
You could put a diamond blade in a saw and do a starter cut in the joints.

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Old 10-19-2012, 09:13 AM  
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I once saw a mason take a dull non-carbide blade mounted backwards in circular saw and cut out mortar. I wasn't there for entire job, he may have had to use more than one blade. Use an old saw if you have one, lots of abrasive dust, protect eyes and lungs. Take breaks to prevent blade from getting too hot. Carbide teeth are liable to break if run backwards.

If you do not have power impact chisel, masonry bit with diameter slightly smaller than mortar line will go thru mortar quick. Series of holes, knock out mortar between with hammer and cold chisel. Mortar behinf brick may be holding it in place, try a few relativly light taps on it, see if it breaks free. You might have to break a brick with hammer and chisel to get it out, then you can probably get chisel behind next brick. Once you get a couple out, others shouldl be easier.

Only "load" I can figure is lower part of chimney protruding into room is bearing upper chimney. So take a look in attic and above roof compare dimensions.
Measure twice, cut once.
Look at the nail, not the hammer. Watch the fence, not the blade.
If you hook your thumb over your belt you won't hit it with the hammer or leave it layin on the saw table.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:28 AM  
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Neal has the right approach for zero damage to surrounding brick. Angle grinder with diamond blade will cut everything like butter. Hold it firmly and take it carefully. The structural issue is more important ... Without pics and a sense of the structure there is no way to advise you here.
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