Got this old Black Bart blown insert from my ex-brother in law two seasons ago before he decided to ex himself.
First month we ran it, it spiked our electric bill by a a few pennies over $60. The starting capacitor was the size of an Easter ham.
Took the motor out of one of our Lasko box fans and mounted that in it instead, and that consumption dropped to only $6 running it 24/7 at full bore. Great, right? Barely.
This model 'Bart has a firebox inside of a hollow core...so a heat exchanger. Air blows out the side vents, and one at the floor. Let's do some math here...ashes accumulate on the bottom of the burn area and insulate the floor of the firebox from heat, so all the air that blew out the bottom was merely room temp. And since fire burns UP and not sideways, we had to keep coal and fires burning on the sides of the firebox because that's where the heat exchange took place.
We installed some full thickness refractory brick on the interior sidewalls hoping that would improve things. It did. Barely. Barely.
So, with the aid of 4 drills that gave their lives for our heating needs (the last one caught fire next to my face and made my then-epic beard, not so epic) and some steel hole saws I hogged out 5 holes in the rear of the air box, and five in the face, and inserted 5 lengths of galvanized fence pipe and not having a welder, used refractory cement to hold them in place.
Voila! Now we've captured the attention of almost every possible BTU without making this into a contraflow device.
...except store bought ready mixed 1/2 gallon bucket refractory cement from Menards doesn't hold up to ash/oak/chinese elm/black locust over two seasons.
Thanks Tyler! In it's final form I'm converting the blower fan to a DC unit, and will be driving it from solar cells or a Peltier module running off the basement wood furnace. Currently our monthly heating bills are only $15 per month (cost of both blowers), but I want it at Zero.
Looks like I have have to further delay the Black Bart project a few more days.
Started a fire in the fireplace with some great Chinese Elm to make coals for oasting a chicken for dinner last night ( if you ever get your hands on some try it, I prefer it to hickory ), and when I went upstairs to start taking the hallway door out of the small bedroom we're converting into a walk in closet for the second floor ( we're knocking out every wall on the second floor and making it one big suite ), I noticed some whispy tendrils of smoke coming out betwixt the floor and the outside wall. Apparently at some time in the past the flue has suffered some form of damage and my recent thorough cleaning has reopened whatever ineffective patch job that was done.
Now smoke is traveling through the first floor ceiling/second floor boards, and traveling the length of the house, and wicking up the wall and out the opened baseboards in the new 'closet'.
So....a lining is in order. And since I can't afford a nice proper and full stainless steel liner with flue cap ( not to mention the expense of scaffolding or a scissor lift to get up there and install it top down ), I'm going to install lengths of standard HVAC 6" rounds from the bottom up, crimped end pointing up, one after another, until I just clear the flue liner up top. Not a 'perfect world' scenario, but it will get me through this season and permit me to to accrue the funds to do it correctly next year.
Based on your posts, you appear to be at serious risk of injuring yourself and others, now or down the road when your fabrications fail.
I hope you will soon consider learning good practice for the dangerous things you're doing - before doing them. The life you lose may not be your own. Combustion appliances and related building structure carry the very highest price for errors.
Welding can be learned. But a wood stove is not a place for OJT.
Flue/chimney theory (including materials) can easily be studied. The sheet metal "liner" you mentioned can leak and burn through with a wood fire. Have you heard of CO?
Gaining a small measure of understanding and maybe competence first will NOT prevent you from creating and building. It MAY make it possible to continue and enlarge your effort in good health with fewer _unnecessary_ regrets.
But...woodburner design is a complex and dark art. Approach with extreme caution. Also, modifying a commercially available wood stove almost certainly will make your fire insurance invalid. Ask your insurance agent just to be sure. Maybe that's a risk you are comfortable with. I have certainly done things like that. As a libertarian, I embrace and affirm your freedom to do so.
I would also note that the very well designed modern stoves are drastically more efficient. Our Sirocco 20 Blaze king uses 1/2 the wood of our previous "efficient" EPA rated woodstove, and yet produces more heat and much longer burn times, like 10-14 hours on a load. It was weird at first. Our previous stove rarely went two hours before needing more wood.
carbon monoxide is a killer - no smell, no taste, no colour can kill quickly or slowly depending on concentration was known as white damp in the mines . It kills canaries first so be careful when you modify your fire . I would not do this sort of thing myself . Much easier and safer to build a rocket mass heater.
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
Well, it seems now that my first nae-sayer has chimed in, and others have started with their well wishes and other tales of woe and charm, I feel now may be the time to perhaps update my CV somewhat set aside some concerns.
I am a master builder having retired at the age of 37 from shepherding over four hundred and fifty families into new homes in four different subdivisions, in two different states. That is while working solely for other companies as a lackey and in a servile mode doing the bidding of others.
While employing myself, and a small staff of fifty or so in-house, there have been several commercial properties ( large and small apartment complexes, strip malls, retail complexes, et cetera ) re-worked and put back into full running capacity.
All while adhering to local, state and federal laws, regulations and ordinances.
This morning I sliced onions and peppers for my morning omelette with a kitchen knife made from chainsaw chain Damascus steel from my own forge, fired from the scraps of wood gathered about my feet after turning urban logs into slab lumber (that have later been turned into 30" wide plank heartwood only black walnut flooring, counters and shelves in said kitchen) using my own hand-built 101cc Husqvarna chainsaw mill (built both the Alaskan style rig and the powerhead, bolts up ).
It's well known that single wall black stove pipe is used indoor on free standing wood burning appliances. Yes. No Zinc. Did I mention I would pre-treat my lengths? No. Probably should have.
Moot point anyways. I'm abandoning the project in the mean time to improve the blower efficiency on the basement wood burning furnace
Just worried about somebody that started arc welding w/out knowing arcs produce lots of UV. = sunburn. It's OK when those "welds" in the stove crack and leak? Please ensure lots of ventilation in the room w/that stove.
Stove pipe may be used in the open as a flue connector. Not inside a chimney or anywhere else. Can't tell from your post what exactly you put into the chimney, but you're right, it's probably better than nothing considering your chimney leaks like a sieve. But it's a serious risk. Hope you do something safer soon as you can.
I thought about whether to comment. Decided best do it. I've worked with guys who can get away w/anything and make it work, for them anyway. They're smart, quick, talented, creative - and dangerous to be around. Because their inner guardian angel only guards _them_.
A casual approach w/out regard to conventional safety guidelines and procedures or taking time to study up will turn out badly for most people. Attitudes, methods that you yourself can make work, somebody else young and gung-ho takes your example as license to just jump w/out thought or respect for the job or materials (worked for him...) and gets into trouble, maybe big trouble.
So I post a comment which might slow somebody down and save them real grief. You could do it better - the heads up, that is - if you would, if you understand what you're doing. Please do. People who have skills and talent, who understand stuff, have a responsibility when displaying and publishing to give some nod of respect to what they're doing, the reality of it. So young people who might be impressed and admire you will have a chance of not screwing themselves over - because they are not you. They don't have your guardian angel. IMHO.
A parable can't be read as one if it's announced first hand.
Telling someone not to do something is the quickest way to get them to do it.
Ever see a child run toward a hot stove or a frayed electrical wire just after being warned off.
Sure we have.
So, my narratives like most, start at the beginning, have a meaty middle section with some gristle to entice a firmer bite and bits of marbling to enhance the flavor to those sitting down to their culinary repast.
When we first sit down, our table is set to a wood burner modified with galvanized fence pipe set in place with refractory cement. At best, a goulash of items from the rear of the refrigerator, a potluck we would call "Cream Of Cooler" from my earliest working days as a chef ( my first career path started at 13, and departed by 25).
This appetizer seems to be quickly glossed over, rushing headlong into the main course; inexperienced welding. And what happens when we take too big bites. Indigestion.
The soul focuses on things within our own finite wheelhouse, guided by experiences unique to ourselves. Though a butterfly and a moth both flap, neither fly the same path.
Tales of caution are appreciated. Though avoiding other facts to support a hot line thesis is sloppy reporting at best.
Caution was thrown not to kill anyone due to sloppy welds. Yet, completely missed is that galvanized fence pipe was held in place with refractory cement for two years before a much more appropriate application of welding schedule 40 pipe in place was to be adopted. If a logical argument were followed, then assuredly by now my home would be littered with corpses, heating season after season.
No note was taken that the aforementioned narrative (complete with pictures of progression of welds, grinds, re-welds, grinds, re-welds...), was not yet complete, but in fact a work in progress.
Though I appreciate tales of caution, I prefer that factual data be included, cited and annotated. Keeping personal feelings out of it means fewer people get their feelings hurt. Especially if fewer people point the finger of J'accuse! at others intimating they are determined to kill kith and kin alike.
Also....the constant use of quotes around such words as "welds" and the like is a form of minimization meant to hold one self above another as an authority without directly saying so. I would rather be presented with such phrases as, "Your welds are shite.", than any passive aggressive schoolyard hooliganism. It's just plain unsightly and rude.
This thread grabbed my attention because staff were getting involved.
I think there still needs to be some cleanup in this thread, but I want to comment on the stove stuff.
If I were putting this much work in, I think I would build a rocket mass heater. But, then again, I'm pretty bonkers about rocket mass heaters. Okay, so I'm gonna pretend I'm not bonkers about rocket mass heaters and the old school firebox is the way to go.
I have seen a lot of home made stoves, and "improved" stoves. And I remember the double barrel stove that folks were excited about in the 70's:
I remember that these stoves turned out to be a serious problem because they would rust out from the inside pretty quickly. Usually after about three months of use. The thing that this tells me is that there is a lot more to wood stove stuff than meets the eye. Without knowing these bits and bobs, the innards can get rusted out.
Burning wood releases a lot of water. And if you have oxygen in your system, that accelerates rust. Further, at a temp of about 1500, the metal doesn't melt, but it does start to spall (which is a different kind of rust (not orange, but more of a gray flaking)).
Next up is stuff like trying to prevent a chimney fire - so make sure you burn the creosote. And it would be mighty convenient to burn the smoke. One place where the conversation comes up over and over is with this thing:
These do pull a lot of heat out of the system, but a lot of folks worry that it puts more creosote in the chimney, leading to more (and worse) chimney fires.
This is where there is a lot of magic in a rocket mass heater. Rather than letting the heat out right way, it insulates all that stuff first - making the fire go above 2000 degrees - burning the creosote and smoke. Then you start to harvest the heat.
With a fire box, you extract the heat immediately - and depending on the burn, the temperature might not get hot enough to do either. And then if you cool the box by extracting the heat faster, then you get more heat off of the box (which is good!) but at the trade off that the fire might not get hot enough to burn the creosote and smoke (bummer).
Here's a video from five years ago that might help with some of this.
Galvanized pipe: when I first read this I thought "oh no!" and then later I saw that you were burning off the galvanized stuff. Whew! I have used galvanized stuff in the past for rocket mass heaters and have sworn it off because of the toxic, green smoke it makes.
Unlike some of the other comments here, I enjoy seeing folks trying stuff. And I hope that by posting here, folks will appreciate your efforts and we all get to learn bits and bobs of this sort of thing. And maybe a few wordy bits here and there will improve your tinkering velocity.
Paul....I'm going to shake you to your core with this one...
When we bought this house it was October, we were heavily leveraged across many, many thresholds ( most through helping other people. We're the "we can do for ourselves in any 'climate' and money always comes types ), and that winter came upon us with a voracity that was almost preternatural in it's speed. The house had absolute zero insulation, 99 years old at the time, balloon framed brick two story in essentially an open field with no windbreak. It was cold. The house was bought from the bank in your typical Detroit stripped of electrical, plumbing and HVAC goods and amenities. We needed heat and we needed it quickly.
Someone had a Vogelzang kit on Craigslist for $20, and I had an old barrel already.
That sufficed for the basement alright. Kept the new pipes from freezing and the first floor warm, but did damn-all to heat anything else anywhere else.
The 'Bart was then put in, but with that wheezing OEM fan it barely kept the first floor about 68 degrees. Meanwhile the second floor was a meat locker.
..which worked just fine and dandy until I decided to process an ash log for firewood instead of slab lumber. Man, did that ash burn hot. I was splitting with a maul when wifey came casually pacing past me with the ash pail full of wood afire mixed with bits of curbed clay pieces. Turns out we had blasted the ass-end out of the the clay chiminea.
Survival being what it is and being what it was, I quickly adopted this in it's place and weathered the rest of the season with it:
I would like to encourage you to have a look at the rocket mass heater stuff. We are coming up with some really cheap and quick designs that use far less wood. Cheaper and quicker, probably, than what you have put together. A little knowledge about this stuff might buy you a large amount of peace.
Actually Paul, I'm already gathering materials for one in the garage to heat the new all season greenhouse going up. Already have ductwork and the 450 pound wood fired furnace in the basement so it's another season in the house with that beast ( just discovered I have a mere 643 CFM blower on it with a port not much larger than my smartphone, so there will be another thread soon on it's mod with a proper squirrel cage ).
Next year though, you'll see a proper RMH in the basement here, with a huge thermal bench, forced air, thermal water tank storage, as well as that Peltier generator I hinted at. It's going to be a somewhat long 12 months, but by this time next year, it will all be in place.