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-

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Wood Stove Update or the Adventures of Tom Swaim and his L'il Smokey Stove

This is an update on the stove I wrote about a few days ago.

I was warned. I read all the reviews. "This stove will smoke if the top cap is left on". The diameter of the stove pipe is very small (2.75 inches ID)(7cm). All you have to do is remove the cap.

So after three days of hard usage with excellent results both indoors and out it surprised me. I was caught completely off guard and it took hours for me to remember the warnings. It must be my Scots/Irish blood or maybe the Dutch part. Who knows why my brain will reject perfectly good advice given by those who know.

Anyway this morning when I went to stoke up the fire more smoke came out the front than went up the stack. The stack couldn't be plugged could it? Nah. Maybe it just got cold, build the fire higher. More fire, more smoke...hack, hack, cough...more incomplete combustion. The answer, build it even higher. After several hours and several evacuations and possible lung damage I then and only then decided to heed the warnings. Such is the life of a know it all.
That space under the cap is supposed to have open holes

Knowing in my heart that nothing ever goes right on the first go I had left the ladder up so I could easily get to the stack. On removing and inspecting the cap I found the little holes in the spark arrester had become even littler holes. No wonder it smoked. Of course when I removed it the problem went away instantly. Today will be a day of removing that plate with the non-existent holes.

For those who asked:
I ordered this little stove from T-motorsports internet store for the grand sum of $62.99 and shipping charges of $24.95. With a grand total of $87.94. So forty percent of the price was shipping but still within my budget. I ordered on a Wednesday and it was here early the following Wednesday. It came overland by truck. It weighed thirty pounds.

The delivery was timely enough but not spectacular. There are some quality issues. I had to re-tap several of the screw holes and the door doesn't fit well but those are minor items to a maker. Included were six foot of pipe in four sections, that useless cap, a poker and a small hoe as stove tools. Everything fits inside and the top rack folds up to make a carry handle. It only took about ten minutes to unpack and put together. Being basically a gypsy I love portable stuff. Why complain about your neighbors when you can leave them behind. It appears those days are not over for me yet.

It will take a five inch log eighteen inches long but that is tight. You can find the stoves at several places on the internetwebtubes including Amazon by googling "portable military camping tent steel wood stove heater" or practically any combination of those words. The reviews will come up with that also.

It is good to have the smell of a wood fire in my hovel again. I have a very primitive section in my brain that needs a physical fire. Pictures, holograms and electrics just don't do it. Oil fires don't cut it either as they bring end of the world smells with them. Being warm is not all there is to it. I need a fire that is alive.

Now that it has stopped smoking I guess I will stop calling it L'il Smokey. I think I'll call it Calcifer now after the fire demon in "Howls Moving Castle".

"Howls Moving Castle" is a full length animated movie for you fantasy and mechanical freaks out there. It is a visual delight with plenty of steampunk and magic. If you have any imagination and are fascinated by likely and unlikely mechanical things you are going to love this. I watch it over and over just see the castle walk around. I am so easily entertained.
All is well. No smoke and the kettle is on for tea.

8 comments:

Emmy said...

mmmm....tea :P

Steven Cain said...

"Spark Arrestors? We don't need no stinkin' spark arrestors!"

My house stove's pipe will choke down with creasote up near the top come about February when I most enjoy being up on the roof cramming a brush down its throat. She'll let a little smoke back then, if you open the doors before you open the dampers. The shop stove burps on occasion... I've yet to figure that out. Probably a down draft situation I'm not privy to. I've got twenty feet of 12 inch, steel sewer pipe for her chimney... all of it outside... exposed. Talk about a bear to get warm enough to draw.

I'll have to get one of those little stoves for my Gypsy wagon... I'll be down, say March, to pick ya'll up!

John Romeo Alpha said...

A cold, dark night with a living fire awakens something that is lacking in a digitized mass consumption styro-plastic world. Cover me in mud and hand me a spear. I want out.

Wood Stoves said...

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Johann Rissik said...

It has to be real fire.
It's like showering in solar-heated water, it just feels different.
Being fair to this intraweb thingy, without it we would never have heard of one another.
Keep those stories coming.

Oldfool said...

The latest on the stove is I knocked the screen out and stuck the cap back on. The stove was hot at the time and it worked just fine. Later in the day after the stove had cooled down I cleaned out the ashes and started an evening fire. It smoked again so I pulled the cap. Apparently even without the screen the opening is not big enough when the pipe is cold.
I use to think that "fire" was a man thing but once when I was trying to decide on my next toy for the boat I was choosing between a small fireplace/stove and something else, I forget what. A very dear girlfriend summed it up like this. "You'll get laid more with the stove". I installed the stove.
Johann: The first guy to bring fire into the cave was probably burnt at the stake but we've been hooked ever since and you are right about the internet thingy. Most all my friends reside here in this little box under my desk.

kfg said...

I don't know about Tom Swaim, but when Stan Swaim talks I generally listen. Funny thing is, I have the same problem with application of advice from time to time. Wat's wit dat?

I sometimes use Howl's Moving Castle as a screen saver. With an LED screen I don't need a screen saver, but Howl's be cool and shit. I just like to have it around.

Lord Wellbourne said...

I'm with you....give me the real thing and keep your pseudo-flame crap. I want to hear it, smell it, feel it. I like that it makes me get off my lazy butt to stir it up and haul more wood to it.

I LOVE that kettle!

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