Search This Blog

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Barrel Stove Version 2

Ok, so remember the wood stove from last year the barrel stove that overheated our home. As you can see Stormy modeling it for us...
      Now this wood stove did present us with a couple of PROBLEMS, I think the biggest was the use of space. It wasted tons of space, and going on the space theme, it also wasted space in the barrel. We only burned in the front of the barrel, so the whole back half was not being used. The other problem it presented was that we couldn't cook on the surface of it due to the fact that it had no upright flat surface. I think Silver has effectively solved all of those issues.   We have built a pot-bellied barrel stove.
    We started off with a new barrel stove kit bought for: $39.99             Got a new barrel that was food grade, and in case it had metal bungs a removable end on it. Silver was thinking if it had, had metal bungs instead of plastic we could just take the whole top off to clean it out once a month. We traded for the barrel but I believe it would have cost $15.
    We bought some screws with nuts that were 1/4-20-3in, this was to replace the screw that came with the kit where the screws would not be long enough we made sure to get about half of them flat instead of a rounded top to ensure that they would not interfere with the moving parts on the kit. That was $1.29 per package, we bought two packages.   We bought a sanding disc for Silver's grinder to take off the paint on the outside of the barrel. That was $4.99     We did find a really good furnace cement that is almost like a putty... this item we are going to remember for when we build our house and make the rocket mass heater, as it is like refractory cement. That was 16oz for $3.99.   We bought some (not wood stove) paint, for grills that are rated for over 2000 degrees at Loews for $5, to buy the stove paint would have cost us $10.  
  Now for the building process when we got the barrel at home Silver took the top off to see if whatever was stored in the barrel was flammable, I'm not sure if you want to call it good or bad luck; but our barrel had liquid vitamin E in it. ...btw... it doesn't burn. We had about half a quart of it still in the bottom that we smartly saved. Then Silver turned the barrel over to let what could drain out. Then we got a degreaser and washed the inside out.   Then Silver proceeded to use the sanding disc to remove the outer paint off the top first, and then painted it to make sure the top was done, then he did each section of the barrel separately to ensure that if there was not enough sand paper or paint it would not be partly done.   The next day, after the paint was fully dry (yeah I know it's spray paint and dries almost instantly, but it was almost sundown at that point) Silver started the cuts. He first cut out the section for the door.
  Then he rolled the barrel over and cut the hole for the chimney on the exact opposite side. He put in the chimney flange and screwed that in place. We spent almost twenty minutes putting the door on, as we started with it having a gap around it from 0-2 inches. We needed to shrink that as much as we could, so Silver kept on tightening the nuts on the screws in rotation. We discovered one thing, make sure you check that the door will close evenly, then discovered that our door did not close all the way after we finished tightening the nuts. So we had to go back and loosen the nuts until the door would close.     So the recommendation would be for anyone duplicating this to check your door as you are going through your tightening. Silver said if you don't have it closing properly you might have the door crack when you light the stove.   After fixing the door into place we placed the removable side back on,which we kept to the bottom because the bungs were plastic instead of metal. Like I had said before if they were metal we would have used the removable side on top so we could just take that side off for cleaning. However as we cannot keep the plastic near where the flames would be for obvious reasons. That's ok, it just gives me more cooking surface.  
     The next step we placed empty coffee cans on the bottom side of the stove, with the open end down. BTW the previous picture is after the cans...These are being used as part of an insulated “dead space” in the stove. Remember me mentioning the issue about all the wasted space? Well this way the extra space can be used to keep heat in the stove.   After putting in the cans we took a bag of course vermiculite and filled the spaces and just barely covered the cans.   Next we added another row of cans , these were the large fruit cans; smaller than #10 cans.   This was then followed again by vermiculite, that then we covered with a few cut pieces of concrete board we had left over from last year as a base for our burn chamber.   (the previous picture)We cut two pieces and set them inside in opposing positions.   On top of this we put down a piece of, I believe it's goat panel cut to fit over it; to be the reinforcing for the concrete mixture we are going to use in the burn chamber.   Next we opened the container of fireplace cement and used it in the gap(s) around the door, fitting it on both sides of the door gap. Including the bodies of the screws, which; you will want to use a cut off blade and remove the ends or you may cut yourself on them. I happen to like the fireplace cement, and I'm thinking it might have uses when we go to make a rocket mass heater in the house when we build it. As Silver said it is like a refractory cement, which is what is used to make fire brick. The cement will cure at high temperatures only, so it will only dry until then.   After filling the gaps in the door frame Silver mixed most of this bag of vermiculite:
  And about 5 pounds of cement, he made the mixture fairly wet; to make it easier to get into the opening. Using a trowel he covered the fencing and concrete board with the cement vermiculite mixture.   He smoothed it as much as he could and left it to dry. Now a moment to talk about the mixture, we tried out vermiculite concrete in our normal barrel stove last year in the bottom to protect it verses using the sand that the person who makes the stove kits recommends. It worked much better and never cracked. This time we used fine vermiculite, I do not know if this will change how it works but we will see. BTW use PORTLAND cement there are no stones.. we used standard cement and the stones are now coming loose.   The original idea was to cover the sides of the burn chamber with the concrete mixture, but we didn't. We did a test burn outside the second day after putting in the concrete. Yes, outside; do -NOT- test your ideas on stove making in your home, if you do you might burn down or blow up your home. The sides only blackened, the paint did not even burn off on the inside and the top surface heated nicely. We were sitting about 3 feet from the stove and we were getting hot outside the house. I'm sure it'll be much warmer than we need it to be in here however that's ok for me.   We have changed what goes around the heater as well, no concrete board this time as it's flimsiness bothered Silver. We are using cinder blocks dry stacked instead.

   So, lets see...  
   I now have a heater that has a use for all it's space, I can cook on it. Also it takes up half the space it took last year. All for about $56.70 instead of buying a $180 small box heater with two small burner spaces... if you wanted to use them as such. ...or of course going back to a standard barrel stove.   I think this will work out much better for us this winter and if there is a problem we do have our old barrel stove as backup.  

 Be Well Be Safe and Blessed Be...    

Update 11-1-2012

Heya Folks!

Been a while I know, but again with no internet we tend to have to chose what has a higher priority. Doing the blog isn't as high up as say gathering info about our various projects. Also, seeing as how we tend to only stop maybe once a month for internet if I don't get a chance to post something it'll just have to wait.

...and yes I am sorry I don't post more often. I certainly hope everyone out there that does read this is excitedly waiting on my next posting (Tink told me people have been asking HER about when I'll be posting next).

As for our garden, I have started my fall tilling of the main garden beds; including the addition of some lovely compost from one of our large old oaks that got struck by lightning about 2 months ago. It was one of those really big oaks that gets hollow once it hits old age, then composts from the inside out. A bonus for my garden, also it was a tree that we had been wondering if we needed to cut down. The other big plus is that “mother nature” decided to be nice and drop it into the forest instead of into the clearing.
Even though it's not really producing nice ones to eat my tomatoes are still churning out fruit, we have figured that even though the “pots” we are using are big... they aren't big enough for four tomato plants apiece. Next year we'll be doing just one per pot.
The jalapenos I planted did well as well and are still producing even though the plant got snapped by my luffa gourd when the remains of Issac came through. Silver thought the Brussels sprouts had a wonderful flavor. He anticipates it would have grown more and produced more if it hadn't been for the drought.
My luffa gourd has tons of them on it, one is huge I think it's over a foot long and really round. We do have a few more large ones but that one is the biggest. Once the plant is fully dead I'm going to find a way to hang them so they can finish drying. We did manage to get some dried beans from my Tiger's Eye beans that I planted on a whim this year. Considering I planted maybe six seeds and got back about ½ a cup I think it was a good return. An odd thing though they were suppose to be bush beans but they wound up vineing.

We used the wood stove for about 3 days at the beginning of October, and it worked out well. The base did not get overly hot. On October 15th the lady bugs were swarming for their winter hibernation areas.... I have a question for everyone. On the main day for your local lady bug swarming did you have a large amount? I know that the whole front and side of the building was covered in them. This is the largest amount I have seen since we have moved here before winter starts, and I wonder if it will be a tell of a bad winter this year?

On the 19th we went out and did some “yard work”, we fell back to the premise that we need to stop waiting to do all our work when we have ever possible thing we need to build or work on something. So we went out and mostly cleared an area for the pig pen we are hoping to have next spring. “Mostly” cleared as pigs need shade and with oak, hickory, and butter nuts in the area the pig will eat those things on their own so might as well keep them so they have some browse in their yard. We also started the “finished” clearing for the good chicken coop that we will be building over the winter. We are also going to plan ahead for a barn and mixed pastures, and these pastures will have a lot of trees in them as we are not planning on many cattle. A dairy cows or two and a few long horns... which btw eat almost anything.

Well, we have finally done it here... we are now trying out the “no poo” challenge, which refers to no shampoo. This is because lately we seem to be getting more allergic to soaps that are commercially made than before and since starting the challenge The allergic affects have dropped. I will say there has only been one downside so far... it has been harder to brush my hair. I have very thick curly/wavy hair and getting a brush or comb through it after just using water and nothing else made it very hard to remove the tangles.
Now I know this might be a tad late when I post this but...
The hurricane Sandy as it approaches NYC and the shore, a local organization here; Convoy of hope. Has sent a semi full of water and microwaveable meals. While I applaud them sending food and water, I'd like to ask people to think a moment. If the power totally goes out what will the microwaveable meals do for someone who cannot cook it? How about pallets of canned tuna, and fruit? Peanut butter and bread? To me that makes much more sense.

Last bit of news is kinda a explanation, I am setting out 2 blog posts today; the second is about our wood heater this winter we brought it in and set it up on Oct. 4th. It's very cool and we will keep info about how it does over the course of the winter.

Well that's about it for now.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...