How do I build a kiva fireplace?

Some time ago, I was watching a DIY show (or something like that) that showed how to make a kiva fireplace. I'm interested in knowing how to prepare the actual plaster/cement fireplace and using an electric insert. Can you tell me where I might find instructions on this?
Submitted by t_g_henderson

A kiva (also known as a Bee Hive fireplace) can be a beautiful and practical addition to a home.  They were a traditional fireplace built with adobe and covered with plaster.  These days they are more typically made from clay or lightweight brick. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a DIY project.  You will be working with three pretty dangerous things: fire, electricity , and plaster.  You may not  immediately think of plaster as dangerous.  Real plaster, (not drywall compound ) has a high lime contents.  Lime is extremely corrosive to skin so it would be hard to recommend a project where you will have to create ornate shapes with it.  Also, you may want to use an electric unit in your new “fireplace” but who knows what future owners and guests will think when they see that cool looking fireplace.  If you really want one, I would suggest hiring a good mason who is qualified to construct this. Shop around for one who has experience with kivas--a good one is hard to find, and this is NOT a job for any Joe Schmoe to claims to have masonry experience to tackle. That said, I would look into a publication called Fine Homebuilding.  They have some excellent how-to articles written by pros for pros that will have the info you need.


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