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'70's HomeBrew Stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Geoff, Jan 11, 2006.

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  1. Geoff

    Geoff New Member

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    My father built his own stove in the mid '70s (see the attached photos). He built it based on a design a friend of his had come up with. The baffle is mounted towards the rear of the stove so that air enters the front, gasses exit along the baffle back to the front of the stove, then back around to the rear where they exit. At the leading edge of the baffle there are some air inlets (visable on top of the stove) which were there to feed fresh air to the gasses to get a little more combustion. I remember it working well and seeing some flames on top of the baffle when it was running.

    Is this something that used to be on older stoves, were manufacturers doing this? Or is it an early form of a clean burning non-cat stove (except the secondary combustion air isn't pre-heated)? My late '70s stove dosen't have this extra air feed.

    It has a 3.5 cubic foot firebox and I think it used to heat our whole, leaky, 1840s farm house (which I'm guessing may be 2000+ square feet). It has also been overfired, check out the warpage in the baffle, some can be seen on the sides too. I won't say who was responsible for that but I remember my mother saying, "Its RED HOT!" doh! The door didn't have any gaskets but it was actually pretty tight and still is. The top and short ends didn't seem to warp.

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  2. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Wow...that thing being red hot must have been cause for panic. I wonder what the stack temp was at that point.

    I remember my parents Warm Morning coal stove getting the top a deep cherry red once or twice when the draft got left open after shaking. a little scary, as that stove held 80lbs of burning coal at a time!

    An interesting peice. Thanks for sharing!!
  3. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Are ya gonna fire that thing up?

    Or put it in the yard with some daffodils for spring?

    Actually, I think your father was ahead of his time.
  4. Geoff

    Geoff New Member

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    We just bought our house in the end of November. I got one stove installed in the house and I'm going to get the home made one going in the garage once I get time to work in there. I'll of course keep it running cooler!

    I wasn't scared of it glowing, I thought it was cool because I was a little kid! I'm sure there was some panic from my parents though... The hottest I remember it being was when 80% of the large sides were bright red. I seem to remember the stove pipe glowing, which isn't suprising...

    The stove is made from 1/4" plate steel. The baffle and the sides should have probably been thicker (and of course it shouldn't have been allowed to get that hot too).

    The funny part is that my father is an engineer but his friend that he got the design from is an artist...
  5. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    After seeing the title of this thread I was thinking someone used an old stove for homebrewing.
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I had the same original thought. "Woah...cool. Brewing and wood burning. It's a natural combo....Fire and alcohol. Primitive, both, but a good combo!! :lol: "
  7. zogboy

    zogboy New Member

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    Home Brew woohoo!
    We had the warm morning coal stove in Mt Holly NC and home brew too as the town was dry back then.
    I wonder what happened to the coal yards, I remember one by the tracks that had the office building made out of coal.
    It had a warm morning coal stove in it for heat, It was 1 room maybe 12 x 12 , the toilet was in a coal out house.
    I guess the materials were priced right for the owner.
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Geof In its day your fathers design was cleaver. It belongs in a museum.

    All the responses to your original post were polite. I too am trying to be polite but I observed the pictures
    and this stove is un fit to be fired. Let alone placement in a garage, which is expressidly prohibited By all national codes No and the code is that emphatic all solid fuel burning appliance are prohibited to being installed ina residential garage NFPA 211
    National Fire Protection Association NFPA
  9. home  fires

    home fires New Member

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    Building Inspector? Wasn't that BTK guy in Kansas a building inspector?
  10. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Impressive craftsmanship and design. Is that thing sitting on a single pedestal?

    Reminds me of many of the barrel stoves I read about in Ole Wik's book about building your own stove in circa '70's Alaska. Only this thing is much nicer being made of 1/4 inch plate steel.

    Your dad did a great job on it, but I'm not sure I'd want to fire it up, myself. A real conversation piece, though.

    Mo Heat
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Retired my barrel stove in the basement three years ago. I still have one of the VZ kits in the storeroom.

    Darn thing sure put out more heat than the Jotul I replaced it with. And talk about clean burn, five years and not one speck of creosote in that chimney. I put a second barrel on top of the old barrel stove and turned it into an outdoor smoker.
  12. Geoff

    Geoff New Member

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    Home brew: I know my parents were making some around the time they first built that stove. I seem to remember some conversations about it not being legal to do so at the time though ;-)

    I didn't know that about wood stoves in the garage, thanks for the tip elk. I know it would take a lot of space in there anyway (distance from wall, distance from cars, etc.). I've been tempted to install a stove in the garage, but it really makes more sense to invest in a small portable heater. Does that code apply to barns as well?

    Building inspectors: We don't have one in my town, let alone zoning! However, I tend to aim to keep things environmentally friendly andsafe. Theres no tar paper siding or duct tape holding my house together... well... not much at least!

    As for the stove's current condition.... I was excited to pick it up because of how well I remember it working when I was young, but when I saw it I sort of said to myself, "Hmmm.... I remember it being in better condition...." I think I may try to drag it out into the driveway and get it running sometime, just for fun. I'm sort of half tempted to build another one with a thicker baffle and sides andapre -heating channel for the secondary air supply. I'd design it using some Computational Fluid Dynamics software for optimum efficiency. But I know it wouldn't be as efficient as a nice new stove that I could buy that has been tested and re-designed, it wouldn't look as nice (except to me, having done all the work on it), it wouldn't be UL listed, I wouldn't know how efficient it really was (because I wouldn't bring it to a test lab), and I'd be hesitant to even install it. But its always fun to think about!

    It stands on three legs, one at the front and two at the rear. That's the reason for all the ash being on one side... when I was unloading it, it got a little tipsy.

    Another function I forgot to mention about it is that the main air intake is on the door but there is also a lower one for feeding coals. There were two pieces of angled steel (one, out ofplace, visible in one picture) that were placed along the bottom plate of the stove. These held logs up out of the ash and the coals would fall down below the logs, into the ash, where they could be fed by air entering in the lower air inlet.
  13. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Hey Elk. I have a question. two actually... first. is the no wood stove in garage for attatched only? (also, why not)...and the next question. What about wood burning furnaces. My gas water heater and my gas furnace are located in the attatched garage. What if I wanted to put a wood burning furnace in there as well?? Like the Eagle Yukon or one of those Englander add onn furnaces?
  14. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Dave go back to the post by Jake. In that post the NFPA 211 code is written section and word for word. It explains the regulations concerning garage installations. It was not posted by me but by another chimney sweep. There are codes that govern furnaces and hot combustion hot water heaters locations in a garage. Without g re typing the actual wording, all burner heads or combustion chambers must be elevated 18" above the floor. Also all appliances have to be protected from acccidental collisions witha motor vechicle. Meaning inbeaded lally collums or suitable inmovavle objects or barriers prevent this collosion from happening. Gassoline fumes have the strongest concentrations near the floor level and 18" or air space allows minium dillusion that they usually do not combust above 18". As for the wood heater? Read the code and the heater manufactures specs for approved installation placement.

    Geof I did not want to be the one to take the air out of the ballon, ruin the party. I just wanted you to thing the whole process threw.
    I am more than willing to help advise you the safest possible install for you your home and familly. I believe this stove was not affording you that.
  15. zogboy

    zogboy New Member

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    You could use it to make a really nice pork bbq

    Just place some blocks on and around the base to keep it from tipping over.

    If you garage is detached and you don't use it for cars or gas you still wouldn't want to burn logs in there.
  16. michael

    michael New Member

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    I'm thinking use it as a smoker.

    Put a couple of racks in there in you're ready to go!

    MMMM....I can smell the smoked venison right now.
  17. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    How about Maple syrup? Years ago I had an old Woodsman stove I cut the top off, placed an old beer keg on top with the top of that cut off, and boiled maple sap into syrup. You go through alot of wood boiling sap.
  18. Geoff

    Geoff New Member

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    And I do like making maple syrup! Its best to do inside becuase you can get a little sweet aroma, plus some humidity into the house.

    Time to go convert the "tire shed" into the "sugar shed" :)
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