Hearth Update

Follow-up to the recent follow-up: After casting the hearth and grinding out the flaws, and then leveling the depressions with cement slurry, I was unsatisfied with the resulting variation in color and texture:
(I know i could make the polisher lines go away, but the major blotches weren't going to "buff out").

So my mother and I built a new form around the existing block:

and poured (this time right-side-up) and troweled some new mortar (one batch for consistent color).  I tried really hard to get it reasonably smooth and pit-free, but tolerated some bumps (which i could later sand down).
 It poured well, but unfortunately in my haste I tried to sand it again before it was sufficiently cured.  Worse, I did it in a highly visible area.  Because of the cold, two days was not enough (even with a space heater in the garage), to get it to sufficiently harden.  I mangled it pretty severely.  Very sad.  I think i'm done trying to make it perfect now -- we'll see good i can make it look when it's ready for sanding.
 Vexed at my inability to make progress on the heart itself, I returned to the box it will sit on, which has just been 2x4s.  With some help, I added tile board:

And then put some ledger tile on it.  I actually just used construction adhesive, since i had some laying around and the area wasn't that big.  The rock snippets came already glued into larger panels, i just had to cut them to shape.   The wife kindly got some prefab corners which made it a lot easier to look nice (although the corner pieces are pretty tricky to cut to size).

Pretty happy with the look here.  A little concerned about overshadowing it with a hideous concrete slab.  We'll see.


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