Clearances for stove, possible mantel replacement?

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New Member
Nov 18, 2016
Richmond, VA
I apologize if this comes up often, but I've searched the forums for an answer or input and didn't come up with much.

My wife and I just purchased a Jotul F3 as a source of backup heat (home's all electric, no options for natural gas). The plan is to drop in a liner into the existing chimney and put the stove on the existing cement hearth. I would love to put the back feet of the stove up against the current cement lip of the firebox, but I made a poor assumption that the clearances for the top of the stove to the mantle were good, but we're off by a solid two feet, not to mention the hearth's depth as well. A few pictures.
I have scoured the F3's manual and did not see any mention of reduction of clearances above the stove if I used a mantel shield. Does anyone have input on this? Would a solid gauge of steel painted with engine enamel spaced off the bottom of the wood work?
If this doesn't lower the clearances enough, does anyone think that by replacing the top protrusion of the mantel with cement board (a la this thread), that would "solve" my clearance issues? (hearth is in the works to get enlarged)

Secondary note: I've got an appointment with a chimney sweep to repair the firebox masonry. I'd originally scheduled it b/c we were going to go with an insert and he said because of the heat behind it, the firebox should be repaired. But now that we've moved to a free standing stove, is getting that area fixed necessary?
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