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Your opinion requested. (Improved discription)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by RickBlane, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. RickBlane

    RickBlane New Member

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    I have done the required reading so this is not a “what stove should I buy” post. I have a project however that I would like your input on.

    I am not a “new guy” when it comes to wood heat. I used wood heat as a primary heat source for 8 years, so I am well acquainted with the basics and the reality of living with wood heat on a daily basis. I however had to work with existing equipment so in that regard my education is lacking. So I come to you.

    What I would like from the group is a list of canidiates/sugestions I should consider or evaluate for use in my project.

    I have a need for a small (or larger?) freestanding woodstove to be the primary heat source for a remote/off grid small workshop/cabin. Gas and electric are not an option. Solar will provide what little electricity that is available and most of that will be 12v.

    This will be a year round 20x20 ft structure 18ft high with a loft. Plywood/stud construction, 6” walls and ceiling, highest insulation factor for the space available, almost air tight.

    Location will be the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains (NC, TN, GA) or similar area. Hardwoods (well dried) will be the primary fuel.

    I would like a stove that would give me an 8+ hr burn when full and damped down for the night so I can avoid a “middle of the night” feeding if possible. A stove that could produce 30-50% more heat than specs I have given so far would require. Just as a safety factor for the colder than expected winter or the add-on room I wasn’t planning.

    I understand I am asking a lot with the limited information I can provide right now. But I am not looking for the final answer but a starting place. I plan to spend a great deal of time researching the options presented. I’m just looking for some guidance and help in narrowing the field.

    Thanks for the help, and Merry Christmas to all.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If the place is really tight and well insulated, consider stored solar energy in thermal mass. For a wood stove, the first candidate I would look at would be a small Woodstock stove like the Keystone or Palladian. You may need to keep a window cracked open on some nights, but these are among the few stoves that will give the longer burn times in a smaller stove.
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Small + long burn times = cat + soapstone, IMO
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sounds good to me too.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Another suggestion is, if you are building this cabin to be air tight, you may wish to look at the OAK feature of stoves (outside air kit). Most houses (even air tight) have much more "room" for air infiltration than your small cabin will. I am not a big pusher of OAKs but this may be one application that will see an advantage from one.
  6. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    With it being that small its going to heat very easy. Getting a long burn in a area that small with out leaving a window open may be hard. Earlier this year my brothers were putting a new head gasket on a loader outside. They tarped it off about 15'x15' ten feet high with a little box wood stove we easily kept it 65 deg with it being 25 deg outside.

    I am hopefully building a 12x16 room entry way into a 26' travail trailer. If I get it up I will let you know how well it works out for me with 1869 parlor stove I am going to put in it.

    Billy
  7. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    With the cabin as small and as tight as proposed, I don't forsee you having any trouble keeping it warm overnight. It would seem to me that any stove (including a small soapstone cat) would run you out of the cabin if loaded up for an 8hr+ burn on all but the coldest nights. I agree, however, that a small soapstone stove is going to be your best bet. My thought here is that if you have some masonry mass, ie. the stove and maybe even some additional masonry for the hearth, you would be able to run the stove hot during the day with windows and doors open while you were up and about and then button the place up tight for the night as the fire died down and let the residual heat from the masonry keep the place warm without a fire going. This way at least you aren't getting up in the wee hours to close windows if the wind gets going or the temp drops. On very cold, windy knights, load 'er up and let 'er rip. You won't have any trouble staying warm with a modern stove in the proposed cabin, that's for sure.

    On a side note, the cabin sounds awesome. What are you going to be using it for (you mentioned using it as a workshop)? Sounds like a great project - I'd love to see some pics if you think to post them when you get rolling with construction. Best of luck!
  8. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Another small stove with a long burn is the VC Intrepid II. Also top loading.
  9. humpin iron

    humpin iron Feeling the Heat

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    Northeast
    Quad 2100 millennium, easy to use non cat, great clearances, will burn what you want based upon how much wood ya put in, decent price also.
  10. RickBlane

    RickBlane New Member

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    I have had enough inquiries about my project I felt it appropriate to elaborate a bit.

    I put together a small storage building/workshop in my (then) backyard about 25 years ago using the Star Plate construction kit.

    Ever since then I have had this idea that with just a small adjustment to the scale you would have a perfect small cabin. Over the years I have refined the design and built my “cabin” dozens of times, on paper. And, yes solar for both heat and electricity is part of the plan. But I have always liked the simplicity and reliability of wood for heat.

    Then I read this article http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1985-01-01/The-Starplate-Connection.aspx in the Mother Earth News and found that someone had built my cabin. The only two major (?) differences between our two concepts is that I do plan on using a center post and I plan to use expanding liquid foam for insulation. The foam (with some of the other techniques described in the article) should give me a very airtight structure.

    I did have an OAK feature in one of my more progressive versions and had a small brick “heat sink” under and around part of the stove. But I can see now that a larger masonry presence would be a plus and properly placed and additional safety factor.

    This overall design allows for easy expansion. I pan to (as time and funds permit and additional space needed) to add a second connected module on the North side and a third module on the East side of the original unit. Forming sort of a short “L” shape. This should provide enough room for our future needs.

    I am scaling the heating for the “central” section knowing it will provide for the entire complex 90% of the time. During extreme cold I can close off the “wings” and keep toasty on less fuel.

    The response to my inquiry has been excellent so far. Exactly what I was looking for. Please keep it up. More options are always good.

    This project was to be a vacation spot with retirement possibilities. The recent excitement in the economy has put off the launch date some but may have created an opportunity in land selection. I have started stockpiling materials as unusual opportunities driven by the economy present themselves.

    Out of this discussion I will build a “short list” of stoves that will get the job done and when I find the deal I can’t pass up I will add it to my inventory.

    Thanks to all who have and will provide input on this.

    Merry Christmas to all.
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