Witches Bend in Chimney

The slanting of chimneys in older houses is common in this area. It is called a Witches Bend. Supposedly it kept witches from flying down the chimneys. I guess it worked, because I never found any signs of witches during my inspections. Anyway, does anyone know of a practical reason why chimneys were built this way? :-k

witches bend.JPG

So that a rafter or ridge board doesn’t have to be cut? That’s my guess.

That sounds about right. :cool:

Agreed, Also to accommodate specific roof structures.

A few more good responses here;

http://www.nachi.org/forum/f23/does-chimney-shape-serve-purpose-41549/:)

I was looking for more reference info online and came across this image of a carved brick chimney. Not really related to the initial post but quite an amazing piece of workmanship here.

Wow Chuck. Thanks for the image!

Any known details about it?

Wow…500 years old.

[quote=“bsmith, post:1, topic:52963”]

The slanting of chimneys in older houses is common in this area. It is called a Witches Bend. Supposedly it kept witches from flying down the chimneys. I guess it worked, because I never found any signs of witches during my inspections. Anyway, does anyone know of a practical reason why chimneys were built this way? :-k/QUOTE

I am a mason and build chimneys ,mostly repairing them ‘‘rebuild’’ from the foundation up and exterior mostly.
I have done chimneys like yours.
This chimney has had years of neglect and should have been repaired years and years ago.
Thats all.
I have never seen a chimney that was not plumb. (straight up and down) no curves or bends in the masonry.
It would make its draft inefficient and more prone to fires from creosote build-up.
It is an old home I see the ball and knob insulators.
Old wives tall about witches bend.
The home shifted over the years pulling the chimney with it.
Thats all.

Robert - Thanks for your reply. The chimney ( and several others like it on other older houses in this area) didn’t shift from settlement. It was straight from the basement up to the attic and then slanted from there. Chimneys like this are all missing flue tiles, and generally need some form of repair. This one was relined with a metal flue. I got the “witches bend” concept from a local mason, who couldn’t offer any other explanation for the design except for the old wives tale of keeping witches out. Whatever the reason - it always makes for an interesting inspection.

Look at the roof decking .
Its new as compared to the rest of the wood that has a dark staining. Meaning its old.
The roofer did not touch the chimney they worked around the chimney. for the home owners did not want to repair some thing that is no longer in use or if it is its expensive to repair and they where most probly told its OK to leave as it isand install a liner…
I see a safety hazard from it myself. REALLY.
NOT SOON BUT IN 5 TO 10 YEARS.
Its a furnace chimney I think and please do not listen to old mason.
I said it was the attic only and if not I meant that as my statement.
I have worked on many chimneys like the one you are on and HAD many pictures but they were all lost when my PC crashed and I lost almost everything.
I wish I could show them to you and will look for example.
It is colapsing and thats a fact.

Robert,
Since you and I have first exchanged words on this MB, I have tried very hard to give you the benefit of doubt.

Your statements above have just cemented my belief that you are not a credible person to take seriously.

I don’t give a rat’s arse how long you have been doing what you have been doing. Just because you have never seen it, does not make it wrong. You obviously fit into the category of all the other GC’s that have been doing it wrong forever.

That is the biggest crock of sh*t I have heard in a long time on this MB. I see these chimney’s virtually weekly. Except for being in need of some tuck pointing, and possibly some flue liner repairs (if a fireplace chimney), most of them are in excellant condition. As others have stated, they are designed this way to accomodate differing roof structures.

You have just earned the honor of being added to my very short ‘ignore’ list.

Don’t like what I had to say? Reality sometimes sux. Deal with it!

Okay, now that I’ve vented, you would think I am feeling much better, right? Wrong! I am getting awfully sick and tired of these so called ‘experts’ giving others that need help “bad information” and then giving some lame a s s excuse why they can’t support their position. Awww… your friggin computer crashed! Poor baby!! Uh, let’s see… your computer must have had the only documentation in existance, right? Let’s see, you posted to the MB, so you are on-line, so GOOGLE the info and post it here!!!

And BTW… why the hell would a roofer repair a chimney anyway? He’s a roofer, not a mason!!!

My apologies to all other ‘professionals’ that had to endure my rant. Sometimes, enough is enough, and this time, the line has been crossed one time too many.

Jeff

[quote=“ryoung7, post:9, topic:52963”]

[quote=“bsmith, post:1, topic:52963”]

The slanting of chimneys in older houses is common in this area. It is called a Witches Bend. Supposedly it kept witches from flying down the chimneys. I guess it worked, because I never found any signs of witches during my inspections. Anyway, does anyone know of a practical reason why chimneys were built this way? :-k
[/QUOTE

I am a mason and build chimneys ,mostly repairing them ‘‘rebuild’’ from the foundation up and exterior mostly.
I have done chimneys like yours.
This chimney has had years of neglect and should have been repaired years and years ago.
Thats all.
I have never seen a chimney that was not plumb. (straight up and down) no curves or bends in the masonry.
It would make its draft inefficient and more prone to fires from creosote build-up.
It is an old home I see the ball and knob insulators.
Old wives tall about witches bend.
The home shifted over the years pulling the chimney with it.
Thats all.[/quote]

Saved for future reference, before it get’s edited again.

Saved for future reference, before it get’s edited again.

[size=5][FONT=Arial-Black][size=3]masonry chimney installation instructions](http://fmisupport.hcents.com/supportdocs/WS%20125279-01A.pdf)[/size]
[/FONT][/size]
[FONT=ArialMT][size=2]This chimney system may also [/size][/FONT][FONT=ArialMT]include offset chimney blocks for use when requiring [/FONT][FONT=ArialMT][size=2]offsets to chimney vertical runs.[/size][/FONT]

Now Jeff. Try to be nice. They did write a song about him after all. :wink:

I see these in commonly in Colorado too. I don’t know why they bend, but it’s obviously intentional. I mention it when I see it, say I don’t know what the bend is for, and disclaim it.

:D:D:D

You are right the home shifted was the wrong statement.
The roofing system shifted is the wording I should have used.

Have I seen this. Yes.
Have I rebuilt this type of problem (yes.)
In America no
That should have been my statement.
I tend to drag it out by learning to explain.
That is my error. I Will take note.
AS FOR YOU!!!
Am I am expert No. There are always people that know more.
I am here to learn.YES
44 years thats my experience in building.
I was taught by some very good trades men.
You are as good as you teacher and your abilities. Thats all.

A little more about J.Jonas

You tend to forget Mr. Jonas you do not make the world go around although your EGO does think so.
You have ‘‘very low quality’’ about yourself.
Challenging not with intent on learning or teaching but to belittle.
As you do so you only belittle yourself.
Yes sometimes people use wrong wording and need guidance.
Big deal I say.
Help them our father says. You do not know him ( for sure)
I have meet and known , known , people like you and thank God there is NO PLACE FOR YOUR THOUGHTS IN HEAVEN.
Our father will humble you one day.
Till them enjoy yourself oh pompous one.
See its an open forum for people to interact and learn from.
Thats all.
Not a forum for J.Jonas to view this ethical standards.
I see you do it all the time.
Maybe you have something to say but I can only here your ignorance.

Good basic info for those not familiar with “older” chimney construction…

https://environment7.uwe.ac.uk/resources/constructionsample/Conweb/heating/chimneys/section3.htm