New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.
-Mark Twain-

My new years resolution is the same every year and I always keep it. It is "I resolve to make no New Years resolution". -tom swaim-

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Stove

There you have it installed. Wood box behind it, kindling on the left.The aluminum plate it sits on is an old back splash I removed and replaced in my wife's kitchen five years ago. The back plate is a stainless steel plate I bought in Lancaster, California thirty years ago. Never throw anything away. Never mind the white booties they are what I had- thrift store twenty five cents. That green thing above it is a hot air engine and it will really crank up if I set it on the stove.

This old bus had a red modern fireplace in it when I bought it over thirty years ago and it was all we had for heat when we left Seatle, Washington on our journey south. My faithful girl sidekick Genie and I packed a fifth of a cord of oak in one of the belly holds and away we went.

That thing was ugly and inefficient so it was soon out of there. We ended up on a mountain side in southern California for about ten years overlooking the beautiful Mojave desert to the north. A place over populated with such exotic cities as Mojave, Lancaster, Palmdale and our nearest town Little Rock. Looking out to the north we could see Edwards Air Force Base, sort of. In winter it was a cold place. I wasn't there to be cold. I was there to lose a lot of money on horses. The horses are another story this one is about staying warm.

First I tried using a Japanese made Kerosun stove. It was a nice little stove but not near hot enough even when helped along with electric heaters. It was finicky too. It only wanted the very best vintage of kerosene which was only slightly less expensive than gold. I could have heated with burning money cheaper.

Then I had the smallest airtight wood stove I could find delivered. That did the trick. On a very cold night we could be naked in perfect comfort with all the windows and doors open. After a while we learned to damp it down a little. We were naked a lot as we had a wood heated old wine cask hot tub. Woo Hoo. I saw a lot of naked people in those days. Unlikely ones too. Most people just need an excuse. A little wine, a hot tub, a cold dark night with lots of stars. Magic.

Here in Southeast Louisiana we don't need that kind of heat. In fact I've been getting by with electric heaters but at great expense. So I needed something about the size I had on my boat.

I couldn't find one. At least I couldn't find one that didn't cost it's weight in gold. So I looked for camping stoves and that's when I stumbled across this little tent stove. It's perfect. Big enough to take five inch logs 18 inches long although I don't ever intend to use anything that big. It's small enough to build a five stick fire (stick you can get you hand around) to take the chill off.

The photo taken outside is of the "burning in" process. I built a fire that took it to maximum temperature to burn the paint off and boy did it. The paper wrap about half way up the stack was to see if it would get hot enough to ignite. It didn't even get to hot to touch. I burned and impressive pile of hard wood without incident.

The pan underneath is to collect the ashes. It has an ashhole in the bottom just like the rest of us.
Surprisingly you can touch the legs at anytime without getting burnt. The tubes are for extra thrust attained by injecting rocket fuel and hanging on or roasting foil wrapped food of your choice. They are easily removed. The top will take quite a large pan.
The Stack is ten inches from the shelf so I moved the books I had there elsewhere. There is nothing there now that is heat sensitive. If you look closely you'll see a tea light candle there. It's my mine canary.

I know, I know I didn't go up through the center. You figure it out.

Look at the size of the original smoke stack. This stack is only 2.75 inches (6.35cm).
This is my wood pile. There is a large amount of seasoned oak in there along with the lizards frogs and snakes. I have been working my way into that jungle at the end. The Plant is SWMBO's (she who must be obeyed) a "Shell Plant" and that's all we know about it. It goes away in the winter covering the fence and everything else with dead vegitation but in the spring look out here it come. Don't stand still because it covers everything in sight. It's trying to take the bus as I write this. I can hear it just outside saying "feed me". It's only two plants and covers a fence 100 feet (30M)long.

So there you have it a nice new stove and night time temperatures in the mid 60's (15C). Bummer.


Steven Cain said...

Good write Boss. I love that stove. I got to get a pan of water on mine... I feel like a damn raisin this morning.

Northmark said...

Beautiful stove. How do you keep the rain out? And are you good at regulating the temperature? I've learned some tricks, but mostly I just oscillate between sauna-like heat and sub-zero temperatures.

Rat Trap Press said...

Nice stove. That bus looks like a cool place to kick back and relax.

I don't throw anything away anymore. Unfortunately my garage is filling up.

John Romeo Alpha said...

I bet junk mail burns really well in that. I would feel a little better about receiving it if I knew it soon would be keeping me warm.

Ben in Texas said...

Good find son!! Several years ago I had a mini potbellied stove in a rent house. It was about 3 feet tall and not much bigger around that a Pony Keg. We burned oak chunks in it it would run you out of the big den area. When we moved from there I took it with me, planning to use it in my workshop/barn. never did but wish like hell I had never sold it in that yard sale.

If I had one now, I would just put it in my unused fireplace and run a pipe up inside the chimney .

Oldfool said...

Stevin-One thing I don't have to worry about is it getting too dry. SWMBO however complains about it year around.
Northmark-As you see it in this post I haven't yet sealed the stack at the roof line. For now I have a handcraft aluminum foil stack flange to shield the crack from most of the water. I intend to add some muffler repair putty today. The makeshift flange doesn't stop all water but it's enough to keep from having a really big mess.
My temperature regulation is about like yours presently but in the past after I became acquainted with the various stoves I did get a little better.
RTP-I hope to never have to live in any other dwelling. One never knows what the future holds but I wish for no more than this bus.
John-There is nothing quite so satisfying as warming your hands by the junk mail fire.
Ben-You should have kept that pot belly. Wait unil you see the price of a new one.

stephanie said...

Love the anarchy-quotes :)


rlove2bike said...

34 here at 6 pm and has been around 20 in the morning's. The wood stove burns as I am typing this. We are forecast to have an unseasonal warming spell this weekend...possibly mid 50's. Another very nice post.

Lord Wellbourne said...

I would just about kill to have that stove right now. It's 20 degrees here and the wind makes it even colder.

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