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Old 01-05-2007, 04:26 PM   #1
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building a wood stove?

Have any of you ever considered building a custom wood stove? I have been revisiting the woodstove idea but keep coming to the same conclusion; which is I can't afford a $700 marine or minuature home model. My dad suggested fabricating a simple one, as it does not have to meet epa exhuast guidlines and be the most efficient.

The project seems doable, but deceptively challenging.

Or using somthing like this: ... stove.html

My concern is that it might not stand up to a mobile application. However it is designed to travel versus many woodstoves on the market.

I like the price, size and simplicity. A damper would need to be adapted to the pipe, but....

So, what do you all think.

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Old 01-05-2007, 06:13 PM   #2
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We have built several for ice houses. They are far from elegant, but you'd be absolutely amazed at the heat output of the ones we've done and theiur small size makes them easier to control. Even then, we often have to open the ice house doors to keep it livable inside. I wish I could snap some pictures, but the fish house is on a lake 60 miles from here right now. I can atleast try and describe one to you though.

Shell=about 12x12x20 made of 1/4 inch plate. Thick is good because it controls temperature swings better and doesn't burn through.

Door=Another piece of 1/4 inch plate suspended on some heavy duty hinges that are welded onto the body. You can get the hinges just about anywhere. The latch and handle assembly is actually a slag hammer. The hammer head is cut off. A hole is drilled through the door and the handle of the slag hammer inserted through a washer and then that hole. A tab is then welded to that such that it can rotated and lock against the inside of the shell. The latch is closed and the handle pulled back tight. The washer is then welded up to the handle so that everything remains tight (similar to a martack for you Toyota guys ). Then you heat the handle up enough so that it can bend easily so that it is parallel to the door front. Easy and elegant!

Damper=Located under the door with a slot cut in through the front. It is just a plate that is bolted on with a small handle such that it swings open and closed. Using the bolt to hold enough friction on it that it stays where you put it is surprisingly effective.

Firebox=Just a simple steel grate that has some bolts welded on it to keep the wood suspended so the air can flow up and the ashes fall down.

We just welded on a piece of pipe for the first foot or so above the back of the stove and then used furnace cement to attach a starter piece of actual stove pipe that goes up to a flue control. The whole thing is up on angle iron legs.

Like I's not pretty, but it sure does work. It actually gets hot enough for us to cook on the top of it. I'm sure you can find an equally easy solution. I just wanted to throw out how we did ours.
Skooling state at a time...
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Old 01-06-2007, 05:30 AM   #3
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Richard , I wouldn’t worry at all about the travel aspect of any type of woodstove .
Before this new age of School Bus conversions , where lots of people just build them for camping and fun…back in the day just about everyone who owned one , lived in it and had woodstoves for heat .

I’ve seen all sorts of woodstoves in buses , big ones and little ones…pellet and cob burning stoves ..yadi,yadi yada
The only stoves I wouldn’t install in a bus is a barrel stove or one of the thin steel sheepherders stoves. They get very hot so you’d have to watch them constantly and allocate a larger clearance area ( stove distance from walls etc. )

Other than those types, You can install any woodstove you want , you just need to make sure its secured down and you also have to make sure you have the correct clearances so you don’t burn your bus down.

As far as building one yourself goes , I’ve run into a few homemade stoves in buses and a really nice little one a guy made for heating his VW Van.
So its doable….but
I do live in one of the worlds most expensive places , but I’ve seen this in other areas .
Building projects are fun , but often after a project is finished and you sit down and crunch the numbers you find your project cost more or comparable to a pre-manufactured unit.
So crunch your numbers…

Northern tool has few inexpensive little woodstoves in the $127.00 price range. You can check out and you can also pick up used woodstove cheap ( classified ads ,ebay)
Are you questioning my Aaa-thoritttyy ?
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Old 01-06-2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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Agreed on the cost thing....

The only reason we ever builkt our stoves was because we had the stuff around. Thye last one was actually made out of AR plate (wear steel) used to make the cutting edges on ASV loader buckets.

One other danger of the barrel stoves aside from the fact that they are big and get hot....they tend to not last. They are made of thin steel and all that heat is just bad news. I've rarely seen one make it more than a year or so. On the plus side, the $50 kits they sell to turn a barrel into a stove can be easily transfered.
Skooling state at a time...
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Old 01-06-2007, 11:54 AM   #5
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Another Stove you don’t want to install , unless you like breathing in clouds of smoke is a Franklin Stove.
Our First School Bus , purchased from the 3-stooges ( duct taped together propane’s line) …had a Franklin woodstove.
Got rid of it right way and installed a little airtight.

One detail about Woodstoves and buses is ….a bus is pretty tight ,so under certain conditions , air is forced down you stove pipe and tends to send a big puff of smoke out the stove vents into the bus.
So it’s good to have a tight stove to cut down on smoke leaks …

In our last bus we had a great medium sized air-tight stove hardly ever had smoke leaks.
Are you questioning my Aaa-thoritttyy ?
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:41 PM   #6
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Light weight wood stove

We used stoves similar to your photo for horse packing in to base camps. They worked well heating a 14' x 16' wall tent. The only problem with the 1/16" sheet metal was that they would burn out in a season. We needed the light weight so it was worth it. Panther Primatives now also sells a stainless one that does last longer. The 1/4 inch plate mentioned in the second post would last far longer.
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