I am currently trying to makeover my fireplace on a very tight budget...as 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?