If you have purchased a wood stove for your home or workshop, you will need to install the fire bricks prior to firing up the unit. Properly laid fire bricks are essential to the efficient operation of your wood stove. Since the fire bricks are somewhat fragile and can weigh up to well more than 45.4 kg (100 lb), many stove manufacturers pack them separately from the stove. If the bricks are already installed in your wood stove's firebox, you might consider removing them to make your wood stove placement easier. Once the stove is in place and the chimney pipe connected, you are ready to lay the fire bricks.
Sort the bricks
Pull on your work gloves and spread out a few sheets of newspaper on the floor near the wood stove. Sort the fire bricks into groups of similar size and shape and place them on the newspaper, so the specific pieces are easy to identify as you progress. There may be rectangular pieces, some with slots cut out; square pieces; or smaller rectangles. The standard firebrick dimensions are 11.2 by 22.5 by 3.1 cm (4 1/2 by 9 by 1 1/4 inches), so your bricks will be full size or various cut-down pieces.
Pick out the baffle pieces, which are to be installed on the ceiling of the firebox. They are easily identified by their perforated, waffle-like appearance. Baffles are designed to direct and diffuse heat for greater efficiency. Set these aside.
Check your wood stove manual to see if there is a diagram for the placement of the bricks. Refer to this diagram as you proceed. Keep in mind that the fire bricks will be set in such a way that they require no glue or adhesive but are largely held in place by other bricks. Depending on your stove manufacturer, there may be brackets that need to be tightened after placing certain bricks; please see your wood stove manual for details.
Set the bricks
Start by laying the rows of fire bricks on the sides of the firebox. Consult the manual diagram to see whether these bricks should be placed horizontally or vertically. By using a light hand and a lick of patience, you can establish a solid foundation for the row(s) above as you complete the sides.
Lay the bricks on the back wall. They should go in the same way the side bricks are situated (horizontally or vertically). Do not force a tight-fitting brick into place; try pulling its neighbour out to make room, and then carefully replace it.
Set the ceiling baffles into place. They will need to be positioned in such a way that they are secured; consult the manual's diagram for specific directions.
Lay the floor of the firebox, working from the back to the front. If your wood stove has any type of ash drawer mechanism, carefully select the correct bricks to fit so that the mechanism can operate freely (see your diagram).
Finally, slide the remaining fire bricks in the front of the wood stove next to the door. Your firebox is ready to operate at its efficient best.
If you are replacing non-standard sized fire bricks and need to cut bricks to fit, try using a masonry blade in your circular saw, or an all-purpose blade in your reciprocating saw to cut.
Whenever you need to cut a fire brick, wear appropriate protective gear. Aspirating bits of fire brick can lead to respiratory disease.