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First Wood Burning Stove Home Made

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Hi all,

I am new to wood stoves and am in need of a bit of help. I will start this thread by getting to the point and asking my questions so that those who do not want to read forever can quickly answer. After I ask my question I will give a little background on my previous methods of heating my garage/workshop and what has led me to wanting to try the barrel stove.

So far I have built the barrel stove and put it on my patio in the backyard as you are supposed to burn them a couple times out doors in order to burn out any old smells or chemicals. So I have now burned two fires in it out doors and I have noticed a couple problems.

1. When I open the door of the burning stove smoke billows out the front. It is not a big deal since I am outside but if this were in my garage it would be a problem with all that smoke coming in.

2. I can get the fire going pretty good but when I shut the door and have the vent in the front all the way open and also have the damper in the flu open the fire really struggles to continue burning. The holes in the front vent are not very large but I figure it should not need much since I hear of people using air tight stoves.

Bottom line I am confident that I am getting little to no draft like it is supposed to have. there appears to be no suction coming in from the vent/door and going out the top pipe. there is only one length of stove pipe on it so far and it is brand new so I can see straight down it and know it is not clogged or anything. I have attached a picture to help you all see the stove.

Now a little history on my previous years of attempts to heat this garage. This will be my 3rd year heating the garage. I don't need it heated everyday or all the time. usually just 3 nights a week so I can tinker back there. I live in MN so in the winter it gets very cold. Last winter we were -20 F on multiple occasions and were below Zero about a million days in a row it felt like. My garage is concrete floor but is insulated and sheet rocked. two years ago as winter was approaching I started really thinking that I wanted to get a heat source out there so I could comfortably hang out in the garage whenever I wanted all winter long. I did a bunch of research and given my budget and desire to have something easy I went with one of those 23000 BTU kerosene convection heaters.

I was pretty happy with this at first as it was able to keep my garage at 70 degrees no problem even on the coldest nights. The two major flaws were the smell/fumes and the amount of time it took to go from cold to comfortable. if I was planning to be in the garage on any given evening I would literally have to start the thing up and let it run for a solid 4 hours before i planned to be in the garage. It took that long to get it to room temp. Also the smell of Kerosene was very prevalent and I did not like the idea that I was breathing it in. I did a bunch of research and tried everything but could not get it to be odorless despite what some people said.

The next fall as winter approached I decided that I wanted something different from the kerosene heater. I purchased a 5000 Watt 240Volt electric heater from Fleet Farm on black Friday for only 75$ which was half off the regular price. I spent way more than that on wire and ran a 10/3 wire from my breaker box in the basement up through 2 stories in between the walls and into the attic. Then I swam through the insulation in the attic and got the wire all the way across the house where I was able to pop it through the ceiling into the garage and into the 240 volt heater.

This electric heater actually is pretty great. It is rated at just over 17K btu's and since it is electric it does not have the smell issues of kerosene. The electric heater did me well last year but again it has some draw backs. First it takes again like 4 hours or more to get the garage from freezing to room temp. This is not surprising and was not that big of a deal as all I had to do was switch it on well in advance of my garage time and then all was well. The biggest problem is the expense of running it on my electricity bill every month. Last winter my electricity bill was probably 200 more than usual per month and this was only running it 2 to 3 times a week.

So alas we arrive at present day. I have wanted to try one of these barrel stoves for a while as they are supposedly able to put out much higher Btu's than the electric or kerosene heater and therefore would heat the garage much faster. Also my father in law does tree removal so I can obtain tons of firewood for free. Also I just like the idea of building it myself and functionally using it. I also like the idea that if Armageddon happens and there is no electricity or kerosene that I can still get endless amounts of wood from tons of woods around here. I am not a doomsday prepper or anything so if Armageddon happened I would still starve in the winter but at least I would be warm while starving.

Anyway and advice tips thoughts or discussion is much welcome. Thanks for getting this far and reading my whole post. Hope to hear from you all soon.
[Thumbnail for stove.jpg]
Stove Photo
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Tom Rizzle ! Welcome to , our Sister site, and the Rocket and Wood stove forums !

This one is an easy one to fix, but some of your problems may come back after you move this wood fired heater into your Garage !

Start out by adding 5 lengths of stovepipe (30'' each) on to what you have now. The individual lengths will need to be fastened to each other with
at least 2 sheet metal screws per connecting point ! Your 'Draft' will magically be all you expected and more!

When you place your barrel stove inside your garage it is important to figure out how you are going to exit your hot stove pipe out of your garage
and then up the side of your building with standoffs to a point on the Lee or downwind side of your house, And at least 4 feet above the peak of
your roof, and any other nearby object bigger than a TV antenna !

Proper placement of your stovepipe so that the prevailing winds of this next heating season hit your house first and then blow past your stovepipe.
It is very important to have a Wood stove that 'draws' continuously. Failure to achieve this simple, but possibly difficult step for your wood heater
may greatly limit the number of days that you can burn your wood stove !

The good news is most days will have periods of little or no wind, if you can be your own weather forecaster, and start you fires at those times a
hot wood stove will often continue to draft after it is hot !

Speaking of hot, a reasonable sized fire in your stove can be expected to have a discharge temperature at the base of your vertical chimney of
500 degrees Fahrenheit ! Attempting to warm up your garage quickly with a bigger fire will mostly just increase the Temperature of your exiting
hot exhaust gas temperatures !

Before you exit your stove pipe through a sidewall or through the roof, 1) determine prevailing wind direction over several days, 2) make the switch
over to an insulating or double wall pipe, this will protect the flammable wood elements at those locations and protect your stove pipe from loosing
so much heat that its 'draw' or 'draft' becomes poor !

Depending on your individual weather conditions you may need a storm hood or an other type of cap on top of your stovepipe !

For the Good of the Crafts ! This is as timely an answer as possible, I hope it helps you correctly and safely finish your installation !

Think like Fire! Flow like a Gas! Don't be the Marshmallow! As always your questions and answers are Solicited and Welcome ! Big AL
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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Yes, I too was gonna ask about your chimney.A decent chimney or flue, a SAFE one is essential!

As far as quick heat, you're thinking right. A thin-walled stove gives max output sooner.

So you'll need a good, safe flue, and probably protection for any walls to the side or end of your stove.

Seasoning your firewood properly is THE big thing you can do to reduce creosote, and maintain your sanity with wood that ignites readily.

Good luck!

Best, TM
Posts: 632
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Four things influence the amount and quality of the draft in a wood burning stove/appliance,

1. Height. This one is pretty linear. Double the height, double the draft. If it's still not giving good draft, put another piece of pipe on top. That's why your stove
won't draft right now. The chimney is too short.

2. Diameter, or, more properly, cross sectional area. If the chimney is too small, it won't work right. It it's too big, it won't work right either. A typical

barrel stove should do fine with a 6" chimney. Your mileage may vary. Every install is a little different.

3. Corners/kinks/angles less than vertical. If you have too many elbows, you will have draft problems, and you'll need more height to compensate.

4. Temperature difference. A chimney is a thermosyphon device. The hotter the fire, and the colder the outside temperature, the bigger the draft. One of the not-so-obvious consequences of this is

a chimney that runs inside the house until it goes through the roof, generally runs better than a chimney that goes out through the wall, and then up. The reason is the outside chimney looses a lot of heat,

and the draft depends on the temperature differential from the very top, compared to the stove itself.

The barrels last a lot longer if you put a layer of brick, better yet firebrick to protect the thin sheet metal right where the fire sits. An alternate method is to leave an inch or three of ashes on the bottom. Ashes are a surprisingly good insulator against fire.

It never hurts to get someone with experience to inspect your setup. Housefires -suck-...

Posts: 13
Location: Smoky Mountains of E Tennessee
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All great answers so I have only one suggestion and that is NEXT time you should consider making a barrel GASIFIER wood stove. I have built them with cooktops, water heaters and even ovens that will cook a 12lb turkey. A gasifier burns far cleaner and saves a lot of wood. You never know when your father-in-law will get out of the wood business and you will have to supply your own wood like the rest of us Woodies. An automatic thermostat and a very small blower like from a dishwasher (the "air dry blower" will also make a great improvement that you will love. I will try to post some of my plans on here soon or you can purchase a full set at my Ebay store under Fiskfarm cheap. I am always creating new and more efficient designs since the 70's and each one has been an improvement and a blast to use. Barrels are a great way to go and if you use the thin firebrick like Tim said, you should never see any burn thru. The only time I got a few small rust holes was running the aquaponics water thru a ss loop in the greenhouse stove too cold and creating liquid creosote (a very strong acid). Simple solution was a valve to slow down and therefore warm the coil. In your case just set a used HW tank next to it and thermosiphon thru a loop of 3/4" pipe in and out in one pass and attach it to the drain and a T at the top. Free hot water is a wonder to behold!
Hey have fun and use good common sense and you will have no problems. Been heating with wood for nearly 50 years now without a single problem BUT as a fireman in Maine I saw a lot of stupid. Don't be stupid and remember that "if your going to be dumb you'd better be tough" That was our favorite expression when we were pulling bodies out of the lake. Sad but true.
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