This fireplace wall was built with three sets of bricks sticking out to support a beam. I purchased a 7 1/2” x 5 1/2” fir for the 104″ beam, which the intention to cover the double upper and single lower bricks. The beam weighed over 100 lbs., and I decided to trim it down to 5 1/2” x 5″ and let the lower bricks be exposed. The beam was stained with a reddish tint to make it look a bit more aged, and was finished with two coats of Watco oil finish. The upper course of bricks were made with holes in them, though which I was able to secure the beam with 4″ bolts.
Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the mortises that slide down over the top row of bricks. To make them, I first used a circular saw, entering from the back of the beam, then carefully dropped the running blade lengthwise to make the top of the cut. Always be careful to not stand directly behind a circular saw in case it binds and jumps back. The harder part was continuing the cuts with a reciprocating saw without going too far. Once the three chunks of fir were removed, I cleaned up the cuts with a vibrating multi-purpose tool.