Wood stove Q's

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Good, that eliminates one part of the potential problem.

Getting a good fire going is important. If this is your first experience, it will take some time to get things right. Start out with about 1/4 to 1/3 full and get the fire going well. Once heated, add a bit more wood to fill it to no more than 1/2 to 2/3 full. The fire will use some of its energy to get the new wood dried and heated, ready to burn. Then you can finally fill it up for the night.
Since the wood is near the stove, over time it will dry more and be easier to burn, but that can take a couple of weeks. Never try to burn one big log. If you watch two logs, they sort of feed off of each other for a good burn.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

That makes sense . That way all the heat doesn't go into heating/drying the fuel .

I tried one big log before I added the hallway into the camper , didn't work out so well but then we weren't depending on the stove for heat . Now I'm splitting anything ove about 6" diameter , bigger gets quartered . I hesitate to split it too small , because I don't really know how small is "too small" . Most of the firewood is stacked outside , I guess I need a larger inside pile . I'm going to concentrate on standing dead trees as much as I can the rest of this winter , and plan better for next year . I had seriously considered using electricity to heat this year , but after seeing last month's bill I'm glad I went wood . More work , but then I have more time than anything else . In about 6 weeks I'll be able to draw SS , which will help keep the wolf at the door at bay ... and a damn good thing , because when tourist season is over up here everything else gets really slow too .
--
Snag



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I think you are on your way to running a good hot stove. The more inside time for the wood, the better. It will add needed humidity to the living area and dry the wood for a better burn. Just watch out for bugs as they can come out of dormancy when warmed.
I found that a mix of small and large logs works best as the small ones burned easily while heating the larger ones. It may take you a couple of weeks to get it figured out, but you will as you try things and see how they work.
As an experiment, put aside a half dozen pieces of wood for at least a few weeks to a month. You'll see the difference in that time. Use them on a really cold day at the end of January or in February.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Gotta gloat a little here , got a free chainsaw last night . It's a 14" Homelite , the giver said it hasn't been run in 13 yerars ... when I got it home last night I poured a couple of drops of gas in the spark plug hole and it fired on the first pull ... and died . So today I cleaned up the carb and this sucker runs like a champ . It's so old it doesn't even have a hand guard much less a chain brake . So instead of framing up the bathroom this morning I've been cuttin' and splittin' wood . One of the logs I chopped up has been on top of a pile of stuff for 10 years and it's still mostly sound . Since it's dry I only split it into halves except the part that was like 15" in diameter . Also cut and split a couple of 8 foot logs that I cut down to make room for the house . This afternoon I'll be looking for standing dead wood that's not too far gone . Ed , I really appreciate the advice . You've helped me understand the dynamics of wood stoves and how to get the heat we need .
--
Snag



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On 12/28/2013 1:21 PM, Snag wrote:

As Ed has advised, it takes awhile before you get the hang of it. It's not much of a curve but there is a curve. We have a 25+ year old Kent Tile Fire stove from New Zealand. You can see it on the internet with a search but they are no longer imported into the USA. Best way to describe it is a sheet steel (5/16" or 3/8") box with a double/triple wall around the exterior. The firebox can be cooking away at 500-600 degrees (flue temp might hit 180) and you can put your hand on the back of the stove (triple wall there) and it's merely warm.
The double walls on side and triple to the rear create very good air circulation in the room via convection. No fan necessary on the stove, just the ceiling fan in the room (24' x 26') to stir the air and bring it down from the cathedral ceiling.
The damn thing has a big glass door so you can see the fire burning. It's like watching it on television<g>. We wind up having to clean the glass only once or twice per season since the air flow in the stove's design tends to keep it sparkling clear.
Note: if you have a glass window on your stove that gets dirty, before you buy some fancy cleaner - like we once did - take a paper towel, wet it, dip it in the ash and rub it on the (cold) glass. Finish with a clean, damp paper towel. Cleans it like a champ.
Took a bit but we learned rather quickly to start small and work up. Once you get a good sized chunk burning in there, you can load it up, cut back the air flow and it'll stay nice and warm all night. We load it up for the night around 10PM with the equivalent of maybe 4 7" logs split in half that are your standard 16"-17" long and cut the damper way back. That keeps the house warm all night and leaves us with a great bed of glowing coals at 6:30AM or so that we toss a couple more pieces on and we again have a roaring fire in 10-15 minutes.
BTW, IIRC, the owners manual on our stove specifically stated to never use a grate. They recommend that when you clean it out - typically for us is about once every 5 or 6 days - you leave an inch of ash in the bottom.
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On 12/28/2013 12:21 PM, Snag wrote:

A new chainsaw is on the event horizon for me, a Husky 455 or 460 with a 24" bar. Got a 435 now with a 16" bar, but we just landed a deal with a guy who has 20 acres of juniper (HOT burning) that was burned slightly in a wildfire, just enough to burn the hair off the bark. The 435 will do good for most of it, but some of it is really hefty, and I will need a longer bar. Besides, I need one for some of the larger trees we get into. The owner had it all bulldozed, and it has been sitting for a year now. Soon as the mud dries up, we will be on it. We have been dolling our trailers up, adding toolboxes, and tie downs and all, and we're good to go. I have not heard a lot of good on newer Homelites, but have heard good on older ones. Run it a little oily on the gas. Get a couple of extra plugs. Better to be a little smoky, and not lean it out and smoke the engine.
Steve
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On Friday, December 27, 2013 6:42:31 AM UTC-8, Snag wrote:



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I thought I had the only one of those still operating. My thermostat never worked from day one. It is either all open or all closed as selected by th e operator.
Ashes through grate: I have the same problem when burning Willow and Box e lder. The ash is too light and fluffy to go through the grate on their own. I used the poker or the side of th ash shovel to rake them down occasional ly. burning Black Locust the ash is heavier and goes down by itself.
Burning wood is not a "fire and forget" operation. One needs to keep an eye on it and make adjustments often or get run out of the house by heat (or f reeze, my wife thinks 80* is "chilly").
Harry K
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Tell her she's right! Below 78, we freeze here.
Actually dry air gives a sense of being cold in a 'hot' room.
The absolutely BEST heat [at least to me] is glowing, radiant heat like a fireplace, or Markel electric heater provides. You sit near and you're warm. Get up and move about, the air is cooling and refreshing. Yep, best of both worlds.
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On 12/27/2013 08:42 AM, Snag wrote:

You need to use seasoned wood and keep your flue cleaned.
If you don't take such common sense measures you will end up with a fire in the flue and burn your whole place down.
As to the grate: Yes you have to keep it clean.
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philo wrote:

Did you miss the part where I said this was a late-breaking decision ? Next year we'll be using seasoned wood , this year it's whatever I can get - a few trees I cut for the construction <cut abt 3 mo ago> and standing dead trees from the woods around us . And the flue IS clean .

I've seen a flue fire , believe me when I say that ain't likely to happen , because I'm monitoring the creosote buildup . None to speak of so far , but we've only been using the stove for about 2 weeks .

I'm new to thuis type of stove , last wood burner I used was a potbelly stove with a grate you shook . Looks like I'll have to fab some implements ...
--
Snag



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On 12/27/2013 10:34 AM, Snag wrote:

I figured it was better to err on the side of caution

I do not have a wood burner myself but have a good friend who I see often and it's his sole source of heat. I don't know if he cleans the grate every single day...but he does have to clean it often.
As a matter of fact, I am heading over there in a little bit.
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I talked to my friend who uses wood heat and he said that if the wood is not well seasoned a once a day cleaning sound in order. He burns seasoned hardwood and has to clean it every two days...but he says some of his friends can go a bit longer.
His wood burner does not have a grate beneath the logs but merely a 4" (or so) hole and an ash collector below. I suppose if I were more clever I could even think of a joke.
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On 12/27/2013 9:08 AM, philo wrote:

I know a lot of people don't, but I keep my firewood covered. It can soak up a lot of water quick, and if you have it all nice and seasoned and dry, it will suck up a lot of water with a few days of light rain. Tarps work okay. Something permanent works better. I have a fifteen foot by thirty foot steel awning on the side of the house that covers the wood racks and the propane tank, and garden "stuff".
Steve
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When burning wood, most or all of the air is supposed to go overthe top of the fire. Grates are for burning coal.
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harryagain wrote:

You'll forgive me for disgreeing with you ... it's been my experience that the best fires have plenty of space between the logs/splits for air flow .

Well for sure they are good for that . As far as grates in wood stoves , we've had them in one form or another just about forever ... andirons for example .
--
Snag



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On 12/27/2013 7:42 AM, Snag wrote:

I have two wood burning stoves, one at the house, and one at the cabin. I will soon have one at the shop.
They are simple devices, yet not maintenance free. A good practice is to empty the ashes when they get a couple of inches deep, the deep being up to where it interferes with the air intake for the bottom draft. You can make a small shovel out of sheet metal, or find one at a yard sale. It is also good (!) to vacuum the bottom inlet very well with a implement that can get in there and get the dust. It will look clean after you have shoveled all the ashes, but that little bit in the hard to get area might be what is messing you up. A blaster will clean it out, but that would only be in a shop environment. Inside you can use an air nozzle, and have a shop vac going, but you will only get some of the dust, and the rest usually settles on SWMBO's best antiques and collectibles, don't ask me why.
As for the damper, it has different functions. The main one is to regulate the fire so that all the heat does not go out the chimney. It is a fine balance between the top and bottom draft so your fire burns long and hot. Once you find that point, it is easy to remember.
Chimney and flue pipe cleaning is proportional to the type of wood and amount. Different woods produce different amounts of soot, and that soot has differing amounts of residual flammables in it, and a buildup can cause a flue fire. Check the facts on the woods you burn. Around here, cottonwood and aspen are good, so is juniper. Pine of any species has lots of pitch, and I have seen some hellatious looking fires in the stove being fed from pitch coming out of the log, sounding like a blowtorch, and approaching scary.
Cleaning just depends on your setup, but it is good to run a brush through there once a year at least, or have it professionally done. I have to do the one at the cabin this year, and I have to go get two sets of scaffold jacks so I can get way up the pipe to make entry. (A-frame setup on that end.) The roof is like 45 degrees or more, and I don't climb any more. I am going to check out having someone do it, cuz by the time I do all that, I coulda paid someone. My time is very valuable nowadays, and I don't bounce as well as I used to.
Making this short by putting the answer at the end, I bet if you vacuum out the air passages on the bottom of the stove more frequently, it would work better. Mine sure does, and I can notice it burns entirely different when it is clean. I had to make a small little device to get in there for my Eureka Mighty Mite. Also, fire ash will stop up your filter very quickly in a vacuum, so clean it after you use it for ashes. I have a galvanized bucket with lid, probably 6 gal. that I put ashes in. Never assume they are out, put the bucket somewhere safe for a couple of days, then spread the ashes in your garden or yard. Some plants do well with ashes, check your local nursery.
Let us know how it shakes out.
Steve
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