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RE: HELP: 2" clearance around masonry fi

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This doesn't answer your specific question (and I, too, have some 
reservations about the wording in the code) but I would like to relate an 
experience I had several years ago.

I was inspecting an attic and in the attic there was an electrical drop cord 
with a bare light bulb at the end of it.  The light bulb, which had long 
since burned out, was resting against a wood ceiling joist.  Burned into the 
wood joist was a charred indentation the size and shape of the light bulb.  
Now, if the light bulb had not burned out, what would have been the 

Now, some of my questions:

What constitutes a chimney?  If, for architectural purposes, the chimney is 
many times the minimum required size, is it all a chimney?  Or, can you 
consider the "chimney" ending at the minimum required size as was alluded to 
by Architect Roger Davis?

Why are wood mantles permitted, yet framing requires a 2" separation?

What would we have to talk about if the codes were crystal clear?

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

>>Thanks to all who offered me advice. The detail of the beam seated in the
masonry exterior wall of the fireplace was already in place. The inspector
allowed me to cut out 2" from the masonry at the sides and top of the beam
to create the clearance needed.
I do understand the need for the clearance although I've never been
corrected on this in the past. The fireplace is 7'-0" wide while the firebox
is only about 36" wide. This creates a cavity between the firebox and
exterior masonry wall. The firebox is masonry and firebrick. I have done
similar types of structures where a steel column (pipe col) was embedded
into this cavity to support the end of the beam but in this case the
architect was adamant on having the beam seated to the masonry.
I believe this to be a very low risk condition although I will find an
alternative detail should the condition arise in the future.

Thanks again for all your help.