Old Potbelly in a Small Space Help

ChainsawDave

New Member
Nov 5, 2017
10
Upstate NY
Hey everybody,

I'm new to wood stoves and this is my first post. I wanted to run some things by the folks here to see if this project of mine was a going to work out. I've been researching like crazy, which I always do on my homestead projects, but wanted advice because there's more danger involved with wood stoves than the usual stuff I do.

I have an antique pot belly stove ( W.H Landers Co. Hustler #12 from Syracuse, NY). My buddy found it for free on the side of the road. Other than being rusty (which I'm taking care of), it's solid. There aren't any cracks or thin spots. I want to install it in my 14' x 10' cabin. The cabin isn't insulated or air sealed at all. I'll mainly be using the stove to warm up a bit on days in the early spring and late fall when I'm working on the land. Thus, I'm not concerned with fuel and usage efficiency, like if it were a houses main heat source. My avatar picture is of my cabin.

I've read through a whole lot of posts on this forum, the NFPA 211 and info on woodheat.org, and feel confident I can install it safely. It will take up a lot of space and use a lot of sheet metal for the wall protection but I think I can live with that.

So my questions are:
Even with small fires and considering the cabin is not insulated or sealed, does the stove still seem too big? I know there are small stoves on the market now for tiny homes and the like but they are way out of my budget for the time being.

Is it even a wood stove? If it's a coal stove could I use it with wood?

Does anyone have any Ideas what the hole in the bottom of the side is for? It opens into the ash clean out chamber. It's the only thing about the stove itself I'm not sure of. It's simply a hole, about the size of my thumb, with no signs of other missing parts. You can see it in the second picture.

Lastly, when measuring for clearances, should I measure from the widest point of the stove's belly or the part the stove pipe attaches to? You can see in the first picture how far it sticks out on the back.

The pictures are not my stove but I'm almost positive it's the same one.

I'll want to run the rest of my design past y'all but for now I'm just trying to see if this is even a good idea.

Thanks for giving this wood heat beginner your time,

Dave

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,921
South Puget Sound, WA
I suspect it's a coal stove. The little hole might be for inserting a shaker grate handle. Is there a socket or a square shaft in the hole? What do the grates look like in the stove?

For described use, it may work. Not ideal due to clearances and design (if coal), but it will shed some heat in the cabin. Make smaller fires when you don't need much heat. Most important will be making sure the installation is safe and proper.
 

ChainsawDave

New Member
Nov 5, 2017
10
Upstate NY
Thanks for the reply begreen! I had to look up what a shaker grate is and it seems likely that that's what the hole was originally part of. There is no socket, square shaft or anything around it. I'll add pictures of the grate on my actual stove tomorrow. For now, I've found some pictures of a different model stove but it's the same manufacturer. There is a handle coming from the hole. I would only be burning wood in it, so maybe I could patch the hole. I'll have to research how to do that.

I'm not one to skimp on safety and know this installation isn't something to take lightly. If I determine this stove is usable I'll post a sketchup drawing of my installation design.

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ChainsawDave

New Member
Nov 5, 2017
10
Upstate NY
So it looks like somebody modified the grate to make it more suitable for wood. Anybody see an issue with this set up? The pictures below are my actual stove.

I'm still unclear about where to measure from on the stove regarding clearances. I assume I should use the widest part of the belly but the stove pipe outlet sticks out pretty far on the back. You can see it in the picture on my original post. Measuring clearances from there seems excessive to me but I really have no idea. And likewise, on the floor pad design, should I measure from the widest point on the base of the stove? Most of what I research deals with box shaped stoves and this potbelly has some irregular shapes.. Maybe I'm making it too complicated but like I said I'm inexperienced and want to do this as safe as possible.

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ChainsawDave

New Member
Nov 5, 2017
10
Upstate NY
In case anyone ends up reading this thread in the future... I decided against using this stove in the cabin. It's just to big, and with un-certified stove clearances, it would take up to much floor space. Also the wall protection would be enormous for such a tall standing stove. I should have known it was a coal stove all along by the size of the door. I'm thinking I'll still refinish it and use it outside to heat a bath and maybe it could double as a meat smoker too. There's definitely another use for it around here somehow. We'll see this summer.
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,582
Indiana
Wise decision.....
 

FishKiller

Member
Jan 25, 2013
96
clearances are measured by the closest part of the stove to the nearest surface.
I know that they seems a little extreme when you look at a round stove, but your better off sticking with those numbers.
 

FishKiller

Member
Jan 25, 2013
96
disregard then... your update came as i was posting a reply. you will be much happier with a new stove anyways
 

NJBourne23

New Member
Feb 28, 2017
7
PA
In case anyone ends up reading this thread in the future... I decided against using this stove in the cabin. It's just to big, and with un-certified stove clearances, it would take up to much floor space. Also the wall protection would be enormous for such a tall standing stove. I should have known it was a coal stove all along by the size of the door. I'm thinking I'll still refinish it and use it outside to heat a bath and maybe it could double as a meat smoker too. There's definitely another use for it around here somehow. We'll see this summer.

You can use the stove but give it at least 36" if you don't fire proof the walls. You can use simple rock slate or non river rocks along the wall and floor to set the stove by. If you do that, you can have the stove up 24" safely. If that doesn't work, cut a small hole in the wall and have the stove sit in it's own fire proof box area. It will still provide heat. Best of luck
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,028
central pa
You can use the stove but give it at least 36" if you don't fire proof the walls. You can use simple rock slate or non river rocks along the wall and floor to set the stove by. If you do that, you can have the stove up 24" safely. If that doesn't work, cut a small hole in the wall and have the stove sit in it's own fire proof box area. It will still provide heat. Best of luck
You need 4" of solid masonry to get the 1/3 reduction a simple ventilated heat sheild is easier and gives you 2/3 reduction down to 12". And alcove installs are a whole different animal it would all have to be masonry