Trying to size up an old fireplace that hasn't been used in 25 years for a wood burning stove. My first choice if I can fit it is a Jotul Oslo. If I can't fit the Oslo an insert will probably be going in instead. Reading the manual for the Oslo it calls for at least a 36" clearance to combustibles off the left door. I called Jotul for clarification on this for my current setup and was not impressed by his answer, so I am asking the professionals here. My goal is to have the Oslo sit as far back in the fireplace as possible where I can still utilize the side load door function. I know the idea of a free standing stove is to have it as far out into the room as possible but it's a rather small room hence I would like it to sit as far back as possible. My main question about the combustibles is the wood bookshelf and the wall behind it. Since the wood bookshelf is approximately 12" away from where the stove will be sitting wouldn't this be in violation of the 36" to combustibles? Jotul's answer was that it was OK because it is flush with brick fireplace. If it were proud of the brick then it would be a problem but since it is flush it is OK. He didn't seem too confident on his answer and before I go buying an Oslo I want to make sure that it can burn safely. If the wood bookshelf is in violation if I removed it would the wall be in violation as well? The other question I had was with the cracks in the mortar. It's tough to tell in the picture but in the fireplace, specifically at some of the angle points, the mortar has failed and there are some large cracks that the previous owner has tried to fill with backerod/compressible filler. Obviously I will have to fill these in with new mortar but how do I know the rest of the mortar inside the chimney that I can't see is ok? If I'm running a liner all the way up the chimney will the possible loose mortar be a problem? The wife wants to do a veneer because she thinks stripping the paint is going to be a ridiculous project. Anyone have any experience with pulling paint off brick? We bought a tub of peel away but it says it's harmful to children. I might need to send the wife and kids to the in-laws for a weekend. Any other advice that you guys can send my way would be greatly appreciated. I know I'm going to have to extend my hearth out some but do you guys see any other problems with this setup? Thanks in advance for the help.