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I am finish the basement in my house built in 1926. Underneath the main level fireplace there is an angled section which is what I assume is for the ashes to fall down into a small door in the basement wall for ash collection. A portion of that angled section is below the bottom of the joists, and to the inside of the new framing.

My question is, can I notch the 2x4s (see photos and video) so the ceiling drywall can lie flush? Or are they load bearing and I should cut the drywall around them leaving some rather aesthetically unpleasant blemishes.

angled view

from side up near joists

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Yes you can notch them. No I wouldn't pour ashes down the basement anymore with wood walls.

A better option is just get rid of vent so someone doesn't accidentally use it. I would close it from above and just take out the pieces. We might need to know more about how it is made though.

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