Fireplace Summer Cover

For some reason, the previous owners replaced the original fireplace summer cover with a modern brass fireplace surround. Luckily, the original cover was still in the cellar, albeit covered in a million layers of paint.

BrassPlating
Detail of the stripped fireplace surround – the piece that holds the summer cover in place.
FireplaceHomeDepotCover
This is was in place when we bought the house.

Before the stripping process, it was hard to tell how detailed this hunk of metal really was. But as we got down to removing the years of thick paint, we realized it was actually pretty intricate – which means it was absolutely beautiful and also an astounding pain to restore.

CoverWIP
Some of the original brass plating survived. I don’t like brass at all, but since it’s original to the house, I’ll learn to appreciate it.

We worked on this on and off for a number of years, using pretty much every stripping process. I started with PeelAway 6 (which they don’t make anymore and I do miss immensely and don’t tell me SmartStrip is the same because it’s not, but I digress), then moved to PeelAawy1, then ZipStrip (with a side of heat gun).

Buffing
Towards the end of the process, we gave it a buffing with a metal cleaning compound.

It may seem like a small and inconsequential thing, but swapping the fireplace covers made a huge difference in how the front parlor feels. There is still a ton of work to do, but one step at the time…

OpenFireBox
The modern insert was removed
InstalllinOldCover
And the original one re-installed. (I think we left the candles in there for a future generation to find).
RestoredWinterCover
So much better! (even if the photo is crooked…)

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