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I have a cast iron open fireplace which is (loosely) attached to the chimney breast in my living room by the mantle piece. There is a small but significant gap behind it where the bricks have been hacked out so it will fit. What should I fill this gap with? Currently any soot which forms can fall down behind the fireplace.

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Can you add a picture? –  gregmac Mar 21 '11 at 16:28
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a picture would help, but i sense that no matter what i will recommend you to use cob - that is, building with earth. i didn't understood exactly what gap you need to fill but cob can fill everything, it's cheap (cost nothing!) it's fixable, and it can stand the heat (with guaranty - in the past i have built some ovens with it).

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