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Wood Burning - Lessons from Experience  RSS feed

 
Erica Wisner
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Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
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books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
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So we're well into the wood heat season.
By now you have figured out how dry is your "premium dry firewood", and had any last-minute adventures fixing up your chimney or woodshed.


I did a lot of reading while I was writing "The Art of Fire," and there were some sites that went into tons of great detail that just wouldn't have fit the book, even if I had wanted to plagiarize them.
(If you'd like to just plunk the art of fire on your digital reader, you can get it here: http://www.scubbly.com/item/76711/?affid=8105 , or email or PM me to order the printed version as a mantlepiece or coffee-table book.)

All The Experts Agree:
- Get your wood into dry storage at least a year ahead. Tarped-to-the-ground woodpiles DO NOT COUNT.
- Make sure your hearth and chimney are in good working order (hearth might be a fireplace, woodstove, masonry heater, or wood-fired furnace)
- Smoke coming out anywhere is a bad sign - even the cheapest woodstove should not emit visible smoke for more than 5 to 20 minutes when you add more fuel.

Here are a few of my "wood heat" geek sites:
www.chimneysweeponline.com - their "Sweep's Library" is awesome, I particularly like how irreverent they are as they try to get people on board the basic facts about creosote and dry wood.
Some of my bookmarked sub-pages there include:
- Firewood BTU comparison chart: http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm
(Most firewood is about the same fuel value by the pound, but densities and volumes can vary by a factor of 2 or 3 between different types of wood)
- A fun article where they compared woodstove emissions with diesel engines: http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/hoarticl.htm
- Firewood FAQ's - this is one place I go to find out theoretical BTU values and compare one type of heater with another. http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howetwd2.htm
#1 most-repeated advice: ONLY BURN DRY WOOD

WoodHeat.org is another good site, takes more of a professional tone and has some detail on Canadian as well as US codes:
- How Chimneys Work: http://www.woodheat.org/how-chimneys-work.html
- Ten Steps to Perfection: http://www.woodheat.org/10-steps.html
- Outside Air Myths: http://www.woodheat.org/outdoor-air-supplies.html
#1 most-repeated advice: IN A PROPERLY INSTALLED CERTIFIED STOVE

Fire geeks might also want to know about DIY stoves for heating or cooing, like
rocket mass heaters,
or The Good Stove for improved open-hearth cooking in rural India. (There is another "good stove" site about biochar stoves:

Jim Buckley at Buckley Rumford Fireplaces (www.rumford.com) is a long-time mason who supports traditional methods in a big way.
Here's an article he did on Rumford fireplaces specifically: http://www.rumford.com/articleRumford.html
and here he is on masonry chimney code: www.rumford.com/articlefireplacecodes.html
He is one of those rare builders who is actually taking the time to attend conferences and try to get the code improved, not just carping about it.

Lovely folks like the Bryants take great care restoring museum-quality antique stoves to full function: http://www.bryantstove.com/
Maybe you want to visit someplace like that in your region: http://www.forgreenheat.org/resources/antique_stoves.html

With the techniques in the Art of Fire, you should be able to achieve a clean burn even in most older woodstoves, and these antique models are unquestionably gorgeous.
(There is just no comparison for looks between cast-iron artistry and our modern sheet-metal budget versions, whether square or barrel-shaped.)

Check out Paul's wood burning stoves 2.0, a set of 4 DVDs from our workshops in Montana.
I can sell you individual DVDs from the set, for example just Fire Science or just the portable cookstove/forge title "Hot Rockets."
Or you can get all 4 either from me or Paul, and he's got the digital streaming version working now too. http://www.richsoil.com/rmh-dvd.html


We also have some resources up from Calen Kennett's rocket mass heater instructional video, specifically scenes that show materials textures and some common tools: http://villagevideo.org/products/rmh/scenes/

Now this thread isn't intended to be entirely promotional; more of a massive steaming pile of wood heat information.

I'd love to see some pictures of your clean heat technologies, or stopgap solutions.
Proud of your woodshed? (I WANT PICTURES!)
Got a new toy this year, like a thermal mass jacket, or fancy mitten rack, for your tried-and-true woodstove?
Enjoying artisan pizza out of your new wood-fired oven?

Got any questions about your wood-heat setup that we might be able to answer?

Feel free to post other favorite resources here, too.

Yours,
Erica W
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
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Erica Wisner wrote:So we're well into the wood heat season.
...
- Smoke coming out anywhere is a bad sign - even the cheapest woodstove should not emit visible smoke for more than 5 to 20 minutes when you add more fuel.
...


That's smoke coming from the chimney. 20 minutes of smoke into the house is never acceptable.
 
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards
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