Opening up the old fireplace. Pointing etc myself vs professional

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Hi all,

Total amateur here and I've zero experience of pointing or brickwork etc.

We live in a 180yr old cottage which has a smallish closed in fireplace with mortar over the chimney breast, painted etc.

The mother in law lives in the one down the road, and they opened up their fireplace to reveal the original one with a lovely arch and some original ironwork. We want to do the same.

So one Friday night after some wine we grabbed my lump hammer and cold chisel and carefully got to work. Pic shows current status.

So we've confirmed we have the arch too and can see the fireplace will open up plenty like the MIL's. Next step was to get the local bricky in to make it safe and open the rest up, then get it looking smart.

However a mate of mine said it's easy to do it yourself, and that the thing isn't all going to cave in if we carry on opening it up then sand and re-point it ourselves.

I'm more than happy with basic DIY and having a go myself, but am also aware people hone these skills for a living to do this kind of thing right.

Do you think I should crack on removing the old mortar, sand it then point it, then remove the rest of the bricks from inside the arch? Or should I just get the professional in before I accidentally bring my chimney down?

Thoughts welcomed, thanks.
 

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The arch bricks and immediate surrounds have been attacked with a chipping hammer so they'll never clean up to look nice.
You might be better pointing up the defective mortar to stabilise the bricks then get some brick slips and cement them onto the face of the existing old brickwork so's they form an arch and supporting columns. This'll bring the surface forward by an inch or so but you can make a feature of that with a nice bit of stained woodwork. The upper brickwork can either be replastered or stripped back.
 
Joined
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Messages
103
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1
Location
Warwickshire
Country
United Kingdom
The arch bricks and immediate surrounds have been attacked with a chipping hammer so they'll never clean up to look nice.
You might be better pointing up the defective mortar to stabilise the bricks then get some brick slips and cement them onto the face of the existing old brickwork so's they form an arch and supporting columns. This'll bring the surface forward by an inch or so but you can make a feature of that with a nice bit of stained woodwork. The upper brickwork can either be replastered or stripped back.
Thanks buddy this is super helpful. Wonder why they went at it with the chipping hammer... To make the plaster bind to it more?

It's a bit disappointing as it'd be great to keep the full length of brickwork (rather than plastering some) but first-world problems and all that.

Also I didn't even know brick slips were a thing... That might be just what we need! The stuff we took off was quite thick so slips coming out an inch would be fine.

Appreciate your advice cheers!

Matt
 

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