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Old 10-27-2021, 08:23 PM   #1
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Largest wood stove possible?

I don't think a conventional household wood stove is a great idea, for two reasons, one is enormous weight ( I just moved one and nearly died and that was with help ) and secondly, too much heat.

I wonder what's a good wood stove for a conversion - I prefer something on the large side because you can fit standard 20" pieces in it. I would hate something tiny that you have to chop into tiny pieces.

So, I want lightest possible, smallest possible, not too much heat output so that the walls or the ceiling catches on fire but at the same time large enough to last the entire night without refilling it and feed it full size pieces of firewood.

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Old 10-27-2021, 08:28 PM   #2
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How big is your bus?
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Old 10-27-2021, 08:46 PM   #3
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In the process of getting a 32-passenger Starcraft F550 shuttle bus.



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Old 10-27-2021, 09:23 PM   #4
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Do you stay mostly in coal country? Tiny tot heaters are cool looking coal stoves. I would have used one if I lived near coal.
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Old 10-28-2021, 08:40 AM   #5
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I am not in the coal country, but not too far from it.
Firewood is cheap here and everywhere. I cut my own, split it, stack it.
What's a great wood stove that takes at least 20" pieces, maybe even 26" but is not elephant heavy. I do not get up during the night and want to have some heat when I wake up. The tiny ones I've seen seem to be a PITA overall.
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Old 10-28-2021, 09:54 AM   #6
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The Brick Oven Bus, St Paul Minnesota, have wood fired pizza ovens in each rig.



Little buses, too.
Not heavy. Ha.



Not for fiberglass, whether insulation or shuttles. Only school buses, please.
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Old 10-28-2021, 10:24 AM   #7
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That is precisely what I need.
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Old 10-28-2021, 10:38 AM   #8
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Wood stove in a fiberglass bus -- seems like an invitation to a bonfire.
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Old 10-28-2021, 11:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmythomas View Post
Wood stove in a fiberglass bus -- seems like an invitation to a bonfire.

Seems nothing like it.


A bad installation anywhere seems like a bad day, true for any insulation type.
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Old 10-28-2021, 11:49 AM   #10
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Old 10-28-2021, 02:09 PM   #11
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Insurance companies are really starting to crack down more on wood stoves, not writing and canceling policies. If you have a wood stove, it is all the reason a company will need to deny any claim.
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Old 10-28-2021, 04:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
The Brick Oven Bus, St Paul Minnesota, have wood fired pizza ovens in each rig.



Little buses, too.
Not heavy. Ha.



Not for fiberglass, whether insulation or shuttles. Only school buses, please.



....And we dare to wonder why insurance companies/roadside assistance companies are reluctant to cover DIY conversions
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Old 10-28-2021, 05:23 PM   #13
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I am not in the coal country, but not too far from it.
Firewood is cheap here and everywhere. I cut my own, split it, stack it.
What's a great wood stove that takes at least 20" pieces, maybe even 26" but is not elephant heavy. I do not get up during the night and want to have some heat when I wake up. The tiny ones I've seen seem to be a PITA overall.
Coal is a terrible idea, not sure who came up with that.

Coal burns hotter than wood, true; this means you'll need to throttle down your stove in the bus, which starves combustion and creates perfect conditions for carbon monoxide production.

Carbon monoxide is over two hundred times as likely to bind with our hemoglobin than O2. It don't take much to kill.

The scenario is you fire up the stove with coal; it takes a bit longer to get to temperature (because coal is slower to light); then it's roaring, so just when you're ready to go to sleep; so you choke down the stove and crawl into bed.

More risk than wood. Truly a terrible idea.
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Old 10-28-2021, 05:49 PM   #14
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Coal is a terrible idea, not sure who came up with that.

Coal burns hotter than wood, true; this means you'll need to throttle down your stove in the bus, which starves combustion and creates perfect conditions for carbon monoxide production.

Carbon monoxide is over two hundred times as likely to bind with our hemoglobin than O2. It don't take much to kill.

The scenario is you fire up the stove with coal; it takes a bit longer to get to temperature (because coal is slower to light); then it's roaring, so just when you're ready to go to sleep; so you choke down the stove and crawl into bed.

More risk than wood. Truly a terrible idea.

Well I have heated my shop for many years on coal, not dead yet...Think of all the cabooses that used coal for heat. Will have to say if I was to use coal, anthracite(hard coal) is much cleaner and will give a nice slow burn without smoke.
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Old 10-28-2021, 06:53 PM   #15
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Well I have heated my shop for many years on coal, not dead yet...Think of all the cabooses that used coal for heat. Will have to say if I was to use coal, anthracite(hard coal) is much cleaner and will give a nice slow burn without smoke.
I'm not arguing against coal heat for the sake of argument. It would be irresponsible not to point out the very real and specific danger of carbon monoxide poisoning from burning coal in a confined space. I'm glad you haven't succumbed!

Think of who read this forum. Maybe, people who have never operated a stove before in their lives, kitting out a bus with the best insulation and air infiltration advice, and cranking up their cool cubic with some coal for the first time while sipping wine and watching the seashore from their Instagram view.

I doubt a caboose was very air tight. Also, you illustrate another good point in that you've burned coal for years and have experience using it to heat a structure-one, by the way, that you probably don't sleep in...

Fair?
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Old 10-28-2021, 07:11 PM   #16
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Coal burns with a hotter surface temperature than wood -- albeit wood that has burned down to coals begins to approximate coal's surface combustion temperature under similar circumstances.


Thing is it's the BTUs released per hour which are of interest. These can be the same for wood, coal, propane, diesel, kero, gasoline, or charcoal. The reason coal would take longer to light is the bulk temperature of the coal needs to be raised to ignition for ignition to be self sustaining. For wood, you only need to raise the surface temperature because the bulk of the wood insulates itself from the heat released by the burning surface, why wood can be lit with a match where there'd be a really fine line between coal particles small enough to light with a match and a dust explosion.



The combustion characteristics between a coal fire and charcoal fire are more close, I'd start a coal fire as a charcoal fire with lighter fluid or electric starter and then put coal on that. If the thought of using lighter fluid inside your bus does not give you the willies...


But CO poisoning does not befront me -- if I have combustion heat in a built up structure, bus or house, I have two independent monoxide detectors going. They alarm on battery low or ( I presume ) carbon monoxide presence.


I suppose I really should buy a CO cylinder and crack it at them, see if they go off.


https://www.amazon.com/Carbon-Monoxi...OKE_FIRE_ALARM


Carbon Monoxide Detector Tester, Aerosol
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Old 10-28-2021, 07:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
The Brick Oven Bus, St Paul Minnesota, have wood fired pizza ovens in each rig.



Little buses, too.
Not heavy. Ha.



Not for fiberglass, whether insulation or shuttles. Only school buses, please.
And to think I was worried about a little old 100 gallon water tank
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Old 10-28-2021, 07:49 PM   #18
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And to think I was worried about a little old 100 gallon water tank
Relate your water weight to a 125-150lb student. 100 gallons is 800lbs, or 6 students. Seems almost irrelevant when looking at it that way.
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Old 10-28-2021, 08:02 PM   #19
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Slowing the fire down doesn’t create CO. Cutting the air off to the fire and not also dampening down the chimney properly for a good hot firebox is what invites CO.. many people stop their fire down at both ends properly without issue.

Homes used to be heated with massive coal furnaces.. people learned how to get a good solid burn out of their furnace.. anyone with wood stove experience can make a clean burning controlled fire.. the idea behind coal is that it burns very hot so a smaller fire or a stocked stove can last a good long while..

All this assumes you will NEVER burn your stove while driving…. THAT is how busses burn to the ground or CO is introduced..

Insurance? Good luck.. and not telling them about the stove ? Invites you for the lawsuit of your life if something goes wrong..

That said I’m sure you could set up a coal / wood fired external stove as a boiler that you would pack up and carry woth you when driving to your next campsite if an ins co won’t insure you with an onboard stove..
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Old 10-29-2021, 07:15 AM   #20
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My Father remembers well stoking the coal furnace when he was growing up, and remembers weekly coal deliveries to each house on the street, as this was the way houses were heated in Philadelphia in the 1940s.

Let's be real about this and set aside the fear mongering.

Is coal a good idea? I did seriously think about it for our bus. As mentioned already I have used it for many years, both for heating and for steam engines.

The good:
A lot more heat per pound than wood, less tending to the fire than wood.

The bad: way more ash to dispose of. It is not as forgiving to keep burning.

As far as CO, any wood or coal stove will be vented outdoors, and a CO detector is a wise idea.

If the plan is to burn coal buy, or build, a stove designed to burn it. Burning coal in a wood stove does not work well, they are built differently. The primary difference is a wood stove the fire is built on firebrick with the combustion air coming around and above the fire. For coal there needs to be a grate the coal sits on and the combustion air comes up through the grate. I would not even try coal in a cubic mini, just not made for it. But a properly designed coal stove can be done safely in a bus if a person was willing to do so.

Ultimately we chose propane, easy and mess free, with easy availability on the road. If we wanted to use it as a winter cabin parked for many months then a wood or coal stove would have been our choice.
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