Due to the age and shape of my house and crawlspace, etc. I decided a RMH was not for me and went more conventional wood stove. I bought the Katydid, which is the newer stove just out by the same people who make the Kimberly. The Katydid is black steel instead of stainless and is said to have double the BTUs. It is about a foot wide, a foot deep and three feet tall.
I have now had my Katydid installed for a few weeks and can comment on some of its features and characteristics, though durability long term is not one of them. It does feel substantial and sturdy despite its light weight. The bolt holding the handle on does get loose, and I tighten it periodically, but that has been the only weak spot I have encountered to date.
The packing for the Katydid was stellar. It arrived in a solid wooden box with supports inside that kept the sides of the stove from touching the sides of the box. Once removed, I reassembled all but one side of the box, and my miniature goats are enjoying using it to jump on and get in.
I installed my Katydid near the center of my 100-year-old house in a corner. It is in the corner at an angle, and the rear corners of the stove are each 8” from the wall. Between the stove and the wall is a heat shield. The heat shield sits 1” out from the wall on spacers and consists of a 1/2” sheet of Durock with stamped tin-plated steel ceiling tiles as the facing. Thus, the Katydid sits 6 1/2” from the heat shield.
With respect to safety of combustible surfaces, the surfaces around the back side of the Katydid do not get hot. Not only does the wall not get hot, the heat shield itself has not gotten hot. The metal on the heat shield has not gotten any warmer than luke warm, running the Katydid at full throttle. The double-wall chimney pipe does get hot, but I can touch the pipe. The length of time I can touch the chimney depends on how hot I am running the stove. Sometimes it is indefinite, but most of the time it is a quick touch. The guard at the ceiling in this short room (7’ ceiling) gets no more than a little more than room temperature, and the ceiling does not get warmer than comfortably warm -- probably no more than 80-85 degrees F. That extends only a few inches out from the pipe area.
My 100-year-old house is not particularly well-insulated and is choppy and crazily designed. There is not a single hallway. The house was originally four square rooms down with two smaller rooms centered above. Then an addition was added from a step-down porch, adding two bathrooms and a laundry room on the south side and a larger 400 square foot room with a basement added on the east side. All told, the house is about 2,000 square feet. The Katydid sits in one of the original 4 rooms. The thermostat in the house is in a room diagonal from the Katydid. There is an Ecofan atop the Katydid, but there are no fans circulating the air otherwise right now.
The temperatures have ranged from a low around -13F to around 35F in the past few weeks -- mostly well below freezing as the daily high, and the Katydid has kept the coldest room in the house no colder than about 60 as long as the Katydid is cranking. Other rooms have generally stayed above 65 without the furnace or any other heaters going. Today is the first day we have been above 40, and the coldest room in the house (except the basement) is 73, with just the Katydid going. The basement is a tolerable temperature and the upstairs is very warm.
We are burning a combination of hard wood and compressed sawdust logs. The hard wood burns hotter and faster and produces less ash than the sawdust logs, though the sawdust logs are good for overnight when the stove won’t be tended, as they will burn at a lower temperature and smolder longer. I have been throwing a couple in the stove just before bed, and that has kept me from adding much to it during the night. I do usually wake up at least once during the night and add another one or two when I do wake.
Granted, I did not get my stove installed for the full heat season, but it has been an unusually cold year. Assuming temperatures continue to be cold for the next month or so and that we will need regular or periodic heat through April, I doubt that I will use a full cord of wood and a pallet of sawdust logs in it this year. If I had been using it the entire season of unusually cold and enduring cold weather, my best guess is that I would use approximately 1 1/2 cords of wood plus a pallet of sawdust logs for the entire year. A typical year might be more like a cord of wood and a pallet of sawdust logs, which supposedly equates a cord of wood.
If Katydid is an approved (EPA) unit, you should have received an installation manual. The installation manual, as well as the required nameplate on the back of the unit are very clear about clearances to combustibles. Don't ignore them. The consequences of ignoring them will be felt if there is ever a fire related to the stove or chimney, which cause structural damage, injury or loss of life. Insurance companies have been known to not pay damage claims caused by installation errors of either the stove or the vent system. Not only that, most locales require a building permit for solid fuel heaters, and your insurance may not pay if you do not have the required permit.
I'm fascinated with the stove and have been trying to figure out the basic design so I can try and build one for a tiny house. I understand it's a gasification stove but have not gotten a grasp on a practical idea for fabrication. Is there any info that may steer me in the right direction?
I need long burn times and am building a small stove with a catalytic combusor and secondary burn tubes in an effort to get clean burn and efficiency. A min 10 hour burn is my goal out of a stove with an 18" diameter(water heater tank"
Hi Murray...a while back I was designing a future small space stove in my head and found info on the Kimberly just to see how it compared to what i was dreaming up....what i was able to access was a downloadable manual with exploded view for parts.
I think What these stoves do is spread out the combustion in a way by restricting the burn on the fuel with an adjustable air intake and then reburning the gases on another level where the preheated secondary air is injected through a combustion plate....above the burn chamber...convective push+restriction+more air at just the right spot
I have been curious how these concepts would translate to a rocket mass heater application as well and if it would provide enough convective pumping action....i know one of the challenges being had in the rocket mass heater world right now is dealing with so much concentrated heat and having materials to withstand such tremendous temperatures....maybe if heat was spread out slightly more by adding secondary air at just the right spot.(maybe airline could run up the heat riser between the insulation)..the heat would be spread out as well yet still providing the desired efficiency and enough heat for a thermal battery. .
Where i live it can be cold one day and 80 the next in the winter at times so it may not be the best pace for a large thermal mass. ...sorry to ramble off topic
Thank you for the review Lucy....i was interested in this new stove as well
I found the parts list and drawings.
It looks to me like there's a catalytic cumbustor at the top.
I starting to weld up a stove made from a water heater tank. It will be 18" diameter by 5' high. Pre heated combustion and secondary air with a 6" round cat with a bypass flap. Sort of a expanded kimberly. Hats off to the inventor of a neet stove that inspired me to try me own.
Lucy, can you give us a review of the long term service of your Katydid woodstove, please? The ups and downs that you can remember? I'm researching into replacing my existing woodstove, and am very interested in the Katydid.