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I had to house sit for some friends. Their house is heated by wood, so I had to keep it stocked up. I thought it was pretty fun to need to always make sure there was enough wood for the day and night, and to make sure that it was always producing heat. I would consider owning a house that needs wood to heat it.

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forgot to prep the wood for today so that meant wandering out into the cold to the wood rack behind the barn.  still learning lessons the hard way I guess.  thus far I've been able to remember that the stove is hot so I guess I've got that goin' for me.  :laugh:

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I heat my shop with a forced air wood burner.   Mine is home-made one copied from the ones the major home improvement ones sell.    

 

It takes about an hour to get it going (I don’t leave it running 24-7).  But once it’s going it will push you out of my 3 car shop.  I have to open the garage door and let some of the heat out after a while.   I guess thats the draw back of a home made one.   

 

I also have a electric fan on a timer that will turn on and off every 15 minutes to circulate the air around it which makes a huge difference in the garage.   

 

I burn pretty much anything, mostly seasoned oak, but have burned pine, maple etc (all seasonsed).  My chimney is a 8 inch gas main that is about 1 inch thick metal, so I’m not to worried about burning thru.   I also sweep the stack about twice a season.   

 

Opening the ash pan is the key to reloading for mine as well, once it’s gets roaring, no smoke in the shop.

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so today's experiment went sideways on me.  I carefully made my layers of burnables and then stuffed the rest of the space with cardboard like I've seen guys do on youtube.  but upon lighting the fire, it smoked a LOT and that smoke escaped out every door seal in the box.  now the house stinks to high heaven and I had to open the windows to vent it out.  I made the assumption that the box would seal in everything and that's just not the case.  so tomorrow morning I'm going to make a small fire purely out of 2x4 splinters and some paper and slowly heat up the box and flue before I add more to the mix.  we'll see how that goes.  I might have to just bite the bullet and load up a lot of wood the night before so that the box is still warm in the morning.  it's a waste of wood because it'll only warm a room that no one is in all night.  hampers my ash removal too because, well, everything is hot when I push the ashes around so they fall down to the pan and that kinda sucks.  oh well.  it's just a matter of finding out what works best for this household.  I'll get there. :D 

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My fire habits will be different than yours, my woodstove is in my living room, I have a very open Livingroom, dining area/kitchen. But, assuming I'm starting from cold, I put in two wedge shaped splits in the bottom. I put one good handful of pencil split kindling at the base of the valley. Then another of larger, finger or thumb sized splits on that. Then a couple of bigger pieces on top of that. Then I fire up a propane torch, and use that to light my fire. If I set it up so the torch flames shoot out the back, the heat column goes right up my flue, and it builds a good draw pretty quickly. I used to use newspaper as my starter, about 6 sheets twisted to sticks. Getting the air to fuel density is more important with the paper.

 

Since my stove heats my whole upstairs, I usually stoke it up at night, and damp it down so it's still going in the morning. Then it's raking coals and feeding it.

Of course, my heat pump is set at 60, and the stove is keeping my granddaughters warm. My bedroom door is closed, with the window open and a fan pulling outside air in. 

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I spent a year not that long ago living off grid (except for internet, gotta have that) at about 8500 feet in a two story (1200 sq ft) cabin.  I heated the entire winter with heat from a wood stove with the temp sometimes down to -15.  Getting a fire going fast in the morning was paramount.  On the coldest mornings the inside temp could down to the high 30's. 

 

Best way I found to start a fire was to wrap dry pine cones (the more pitch the better} in newspaper.  The number of pine cones in each couple of pages of newspaper determined by size of the cones.  Do several of these.  Then pile small kindling, usually chopped from the log wood I used to burn, 2x4's, etc. and then somewhat larger pieces of kindling up to one inch or so.  Get this going with the flu wide open.  Once that is blazing and coals are starting to develop ad in increasingly larger pieces of wood until there is a good coal base and then you can add in larger logs.  Don't damp it down until it's good and hot. 

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2 minutes ago, rokinn said:

I spent a year not that long ago living off grid (except for internet, gotta have that) at about 8500 feet in a two story (1200 sq ft) cabin.  I heated the entire winter with heat from a wood stove with the temp sometimes down to -15.  Getting a fire going fast in the morning was paramount.  On the coldest mornings the inside temp could down to the high 30's. 

 

That sounds like quite the adventure. Would you mind sharing more of your experiences when you did this?

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3 hours ago, 89 MJ said:
3 hours ago, rokinn said:

 

That sounds like quite the adventure. Would you mind sharing more of your experiences when you did this?

Happy to.  Might take a day or so to get to it.

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I pride myself frequently in building one match fires.  You can't cheat the basics without alot of propane.

 

Pete look into top down fire building. It will help greatly. The key is starting the fire high in the fire box to encourage the draft to find its way up the flue not into the room.

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I tried a top down for the first one and it went poorly, but I've learned a lot since then and think I'm ready to revisit the concept. :L: 

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You want the draft or oxygen to move through the fuel and flame.  That's why forest fires burn faster and hotter when the there is wind.  Top down is slow and ineffective.  Get it going and build on it.  You don't need anything but dry combustible material, air flow, and a match.  Sort of like the internal combustion engine.  Spark, more air flow and fuel = bigger fire or...bigger explosion and and more power = more heat...just one you don't need or want to cool with a radiator.  You don't need an electric fan.  The one presented earlier in the thread gets the blades turning by convection from the heat generated by the stove itself.  Sort of like forest fires creating their own weather phenomena.

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today's experiment went good!  after sifting out the ash I ended up with a small amount of coals upon which I built a quick fire of crumpled paper and 2x4 splinters.  cracked the ash tray and let that burn bright for a bit, then added more splinters.  got a bright and blazing little fire going and that was enough to heat up the flue so I could then add bigger things without smoke escaping.  :banana:

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2 hours ago, Pete M said:

today's experiment went good!  after sifting out the ash I ended up with a small amount of coals upon which I built a quick fire of crumpled paper and 2x4 splinters.  cracked the ash tray and let that burn bright for a bit, then added more splinters.  got a bright and blazing little fire going and that was enough to heat up the flue so I could then add bigger things without smoke escaping.  :banana:

My stove didn't have a tray for the ash so I just left the door open a crack which created a source for air flow up the chimney.  Once it was going well enough I could close the door and when it was really going well I could damp it down.  Mine had an after burner which was also nice.  Less wasted fuel up the chimney.  :beerbang:

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11 hours ago, rokinn said:

You don't need an electric fan.  The one presented earlier in the thread gets the blades turning by convection from the heat generated by the stove itself.  Sort of like forest fires creating their own weather phenomena.

 

If I didn't live in Georgia I'd be all about that. :L:  but I don't expect the cold weather to last for much longer.  one of the benefits of being in the south.  :D  February is springtime!  :banana:  (but then again summer arrives in May so there's that. :( )

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3 minutes ago, Pete M said:

but I don't expect the cold weather to last for much longer.  one of the benefits of being in the south.  :D  February is springtime!  :banana:  (but then again summer arrives in May so there's that. :( )

I'm a little bit jealous of you whenever you say that. I love the heat, and no rust. I do like the snow, but not the cold that comes with it :roflmao: 

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we just trade 4 months of staying inside because it's cold for 4 months of staying inside because it's hot.  :dunno: 

 

can't argue about the rustfree junkyards though.  that's pretty sweet. :D   I do NOT miss the michigan 'yards. 

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today's lesson is write down all the steps so my half-awake brain can't forget to open the flue first:laugh:  there were some coals left from yesterday and the fire flared into life a bit sooner than I actually wanted and the flue escaped my brain for a couple minutes while I tried to figure out why it was smoking so bad. :roflmao:

 

 

 

learning-is-fun.jpg

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