I really didn’t think I was going to get to this project until September. I mean, I knew it had to get done, and the sooner the better, but the way I’ve been procrastinating lately – well, let’s just say I’m surprised.
I think it was two Sundays ago when I said to Laura, “let’s go.” And we ran off to Home Depot to pick up the stove. I figured we’d grab it, let it sit for a while and then get to it when we got to it. Apparently, my brother’s personality in me kicked into high gear sometime between the time we bought the stove and today, because for some reason, I just “had” to finish this up.
I’m going to be honest with you here when I say that I was a bit intimidated. I’ve never put together a wood stove system before and now that I have, I still say it’s a tough project. Every house is different and getting lucky with structural layout is most likely a rare occurrence. I just happened to park the stove almost directly between two of the many beams that hold up the roof. The big black support box that needs to get screwed up there needs to be between those beams. That, my friends, was luck. I actually thought I was going to have to configure things differently, but Laura ended up making a suggestion that made sense. Sometimes I wonder where I’d be without her.
Things went smoothly. I began putting together the hearth, then finished it and moved the stove upon it. After that, I tore some of the ceiling down and put up the chimney. It’s real sweet – and straight – and level. Just the way I like it. Take a look.
I know those pictures are dark. If you click on them, they’ll get bigger and might be easier to see. We still have no light in that room, so getting pictures to look good in there is difficult.
On the flip side of things, taking pictures outside is remarkably wonderful, even in these Maine day of off-again, on-again rain and sunshine. At least it’s warm. That’s all I can say.
Here are a few pictures of the chimney. I still have to purchase one more two-foot section of pipe and a support bracket, but that’ll take about ten minutes to pop up there. This thing is finished.
If you look closely, you’ll notice two shingles above the chimney flashing that don’t match the rest of the roof. I had some spare black shingles stored above the garage and decided to use them. They are on the part of the roof that’s rear facing, so I think the birds and crickets will have to get over it. They work well though. All my caulking, shingling and sealing kept out the water from one of our mid-afternoon sprinkles. Better than yesterday, when I was up there in a rain storm. These things come out of nowhere.
Okay, let’s go back inside for a second. I’ve got a few up-close shots for you. First, we have the finished hearth. I decided to use cedar 4x4s, purchased from a friend up the road. He’s got a saw mill up there and I figured that buying the wood from him would be nice and they would give the hearth some character as well. I may clear coat the wood in the future, just to keep things tight. Also, if you notice the screw heads, please also notice that they’re six inches long and penetrate all the way through the sub-floor. The wood is rock solid.
As for the box that connects the interior stove pipe with the exterior chimney, that was a job and a half. And I did it alone. Let me tell you, it’s not easy holding the box at a specific height, level and plumb, with one hand while attempting to measure a length of stove pipe. I don’t know how I got that done, but I did. And it’s straight – again.
Once that was installed, the rest was easy. Attach the pipe, screw it together with self-tapping sheet metal screws, paint it up a bit and seal it together. Looks brand new.
I tried to start two fires already and failed both times. All I did was make a lot of smoke. I need dry kindling. I thought some cardboard and thinly split Ash tree wood would do the trick, but it didn’t. The fire smoldered out both times. Now, I think I’ll get busy with the kindling situation.
Hopefully, we’ll be better this coming Winter than we were last Winter. While the pellet stove worked well, I’d like to reduce our use of electricity as well as the expense of the pellets themselves. I’ll always have a few tons of pellets on hand, but I gotta say, finding firewood is much more fun. There’s something rewarding about going out there and hunting around some, only to locate a wood source that will eventually turn into heat during the dead of Winter. I like that.
Testing Out the Wood Stove
If you have any type of heat issue in your house (meaning not enough heat), I can suggest that you get a wood stove. I’m testing out our new one right now and all I have to say is “wow.” That thing puts out some heat. Granted, it’s 63 degrees outside, but still, as soon as I enter the log cabin room – BAM – right in the kisser.
The separation of cool to warm between rooms does give me concern, but as Steve suggested, a fan may cure that problem. Just sit one on the floor at the bottom of the steps and blow the cold air in. There is another issue though, that I’m concerned with and that’s not having enough seasoned wood. When I started up tonight’s fire, which was wonderful with my new kindling, by the way, I heard some hissing after I threw some logs in. After a while, the hissing disappeared, but I don’t like the fact that I used wood that’s been sitting in the shed since December and it’s not seasoned yet. Things may possibly turn better with the onset of Summer, but I better have a plan B just in case. Purchasing seasoned wood? BioBricks? Nah, that would be so bad. I’ll get my wood seasoned soon enough and I’ll have a good time burning it.
So, why did I start a fire in May? Well, I wanted to see how the stove burned. If there were any issues, I’d like to solve them now as opposed to when the snow is falling. Also, I wanted to feel how warm things got, such as the support box up above and the hearth down below. Here’s my report: The support box gets warm, but not really all that warm. And it may be because the box is situated directly above the stove, which is really hot. As for the hearth – man, all that hubbub about the hearth. The hearth is cool to the touch and so is the base of the stove. I really don’t think I’ll have a problem in that area.
Tomorrow, I’m going to climb atop the roof again to check things out. I want to take a look at my caulking job as well as the chimney pipe. I’ll see if everything is a-okay and if it is, I’ll really begin collecting wood. It’ll “be time.”