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Old 05-18-2018, 05:24 PM   #1
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Wood Stove Questions

Hello! I recently acquired Buster, my little 1991 Lewis 4 window Ford/International. It's been interesting modifying my "fantasy" floor plan (made before I had a bus, when I was convinced I would end up with something slightly larger) into something that's going to work. The living space I'm working with is about 12'6" long, 6'6" wide, and 6'8" tall. Right now, I'm confused about wood stove placement.

The photo isn't my actual stove, but it's very similar in size and shape. It's about 21" x 19." If I had my druthers I might choose a smaller stove, but this one is free because I already own it. That fits my non-existent budget perfectly, and its look is in keeping with my vintage/antique aesthetics as well. I'm trying to figure out where to put it, though.

I had though I would build a stand for it that straddles the wheel well on the passenger side. But Buster has 2 gas tanks that sit in the center right between the wheel wells, one just forward and the other just behind. I like to live dangerously, but my father the firefighter might take issue with my installing a stove right on top of the tanks were he alive to see it, and I try not to piss off my father's ghost.

Where would YOU put the stove?
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:17 PM   #2
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Most people put wood stoves on the drivers side and it is a few feet away from the gas tank.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:29 PM   #3
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That is quite a challenge you present there. Where to put the woodstove?
I'm thinking with such a small floor space, rather than in a corner or maybe against a front bulkhead, see how it looks in dead centre of your floor. Then build around that but keep the stove open enough that it radiates to all four corners. Chimney location is optional then also.

On second thought, I would not use that stove myself in a gas powered vehicle. Diesel maybe but that is not an efficient woodburner. If you need a woodstove, find the best airtight you can in a size that will work for you.
Your dad was onto something wasn't he? He's still watching out for you!

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Old 05-19-2018, 10:01 AM   #4
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And that stove is cast iron. I wouldn't want a cast iron stove in bus because cast iron is brittle and I've seen at least two cast iron stoves that were broken by some moron trying to stuff an over-sized piece of wood in. If I were you I would look for something steel, and more air tight as BlackJohn pointed out. Cast iron stoves are attractive, but they're never airtight.
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:32 AM   #5
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Is there any chance that you could find that same style stove with a single top? You would save space , and I bet you could swap it for yours.
I think the smaller stoves were used in a rail road caboose
Good luck
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:40 PM   #6
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Hmm, lots to think about.

I don't really care about being able to cook on the stove. I'm not big on cooking. I will be in a region that gets mighty cold in winter, though. Maybe I need to rethink my heating options. As much as I love the idea of a wood stove, I'm wondering if it really is the best thing given the tiny footprint.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:50 PM   #7
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You haven't filled out your profile so where are you located and where is this cold region?
I would definitely keep a woodstove in mind but not yours. Could be a matter of life or death at some point, just sayinn..

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Old 05-19-2018, 03:00 PM   #8
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Hmm, lots to think about.

I don't really care about being able to cook on the stove. I'm not big on cooking. I will be in a region that gets mighty cold in winter, though. Maybe I need to rethink my heating options. As much as I love the idea of a wood stove, I'm wondering if it really is the best thing given the tiny footprint.
How cold is "cold"?
Just a reminder, make sure your plumbing and tanks won't freeze!
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Old 05-19-2018, 04:48 PM   #9
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Wood stoves were used for lots of years in train cars.

Cast iron is brittle when cold or hot on one end cold on the other, after a year working in a foundry beating stove parts out of mold casks with a sledgehammer I can tell you they are hard to break. Badly treated old cast may have micro cracks and break along those, but a good stove can be warmed up and beat with a hammer without breaking.

If you want air tight, strip that down to parts and use fire place gasket. The cloth king of stuff

I fully intend to use a cast iron stove if I can find one I love in my budget
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:18 PM   #10
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I recently found a cast iron frying pan in a thrift store that had a crack down the sidewall and about a third of the way across the bottom. The crack started directly opposite where the handle was attached, and there was a little flat spot on the rim of the frying pan where the crack started from. It was pretty obvious that it had been dropped.

The OP did not mention what kinds of roads he plans to drivie on, but I know what kind of roads I drive on around here, and some of them are extremely rough. I would be very concerned that one of those cast iron legs would snap off on a rough road, so I would never put a cast iron stove in a bus, no matter how much I liked its looks.

Train cars don't hit bumps like we have on the back roads around here, so to me how long cast iron stoves used to last on trains is irrelevant.
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:30 PM   #11
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I've seen many cast iron stoves in larger bus builds, and I haven't really heard a lot of stories about them cracking on the road, so that part wouldn't worry me too much if that was the only issue. But I am concerned about floor space and I'm starting to think this stove might be overkill for the size of my bus. I'm curious: does anyone use a parking heater in their small skoolie? I can't imagine one would use much fuel for such a small space, yet I don't think I've heard about these being used too much.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:26 PM   #12
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A wood stove in a gas powered bus is at best an accident waiting to happen.
You had better make sure your gas tank and fuel lines are in top shape, all the time. Those vapours can intrude into the cabin in so many ways and then you have problems. Tanks vent, tanks get pin-holed from rusting when not kept full and gas lines are famous for leaking.
If you value your life I would shelve the whole idea until you get a diesel powered bus.

John


Correction: Reading your other thread I see your bus is diesel powered.
Why don`t you fill your profile out correctly and save us a lot of hassle and guessing.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:55 PM   #13
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A wood stove in a gas powered bus is at best an accident waiting to happen.
You had better make sure your gas tank and fuel lines are in top shape, all the time. Those vapours can intrude into the cabin in so many ways and then you have problems. Tanks vent, tanks get pin-holed from rusting when not kept full and gas lines are famous for leaking.
If you value your life I would shelve the whole idea until you get a diesel powered bus.

John


Correction: Reading your other thread I see your bus is diesel powered.
Why don`t you fill your profile out correctly and save us a lot of hassle and guessing.
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Why don`t you fill your profile out correctly and save us a lot of hassle and guessing.
Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:34 PM   #14
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I will throw in a couple of my thoughts. I grew up with only a wood stove for heat and there is nothing like it, but I wasnt in a bus...

Here are some reasons why I wouldnt do it

You need to have a lot of wood to burn and I am not sure where you are going to put it, hopefully you will have the vehicle boondocked at a location that you can store the wood outside of the bus. If not, you will spend a lot of time searching for dry wood if you plan to travel around.

The problem with small stoves is that they only hold a small amount of wood so you are going to have to stoke it up every couple of hours to maintain the temperature. Given that the bus is so small, you are going to have more heat than you know what to do with while it burning well.

You need to figure out a way to secure that stove to the bus. If you are ever in an accident and come to a sudden stop you will have a 100 lbs of cast iron flying at you.

that stove will need room behind it, above it, and about 2~3 ft around it when it is burning and as you know, these short buses lack the square footage to have anything unnecessary on board.

Here are the reasons I would do it/ how i would do it.

It would be great to have a nice wood stove to come back to after being on the ski hill all day, nice heat, cook some food, dry out the gear. Just the novelty of it and the cool factor by making your bus unique is pretty sweet.

If you have access to the wood, it is heat for "free" mainly just your time.

I would put the stove in a back corner, that way it is close to the back door to get wood in/ ashes out. You could run the stove pipe out the back wall instead of straight up through the ceiling. That would be easier to seal and not open up a place for water to get in through the roof. It would also make it very easy to put on a very tall chimney pipe on the outside that could be removed when you are travelling. It would also be the place furthest from the fuel tanks on the bus and it would give you two walls to anchor the stove to.

If it is installed properly and you have the appropriate equipment available in case something does start to go wrong there is no reason you cant put one in your bus. I have a furnace in my bus that is just a small flame thrower. If I leave a blanket over the wrong part of that I will have the same fire and problems that you would if you do the same with your stove. Just be smart and balance your values for what is on your bus without sacrificing your safety.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:37 PM   #15
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I've enjoyed reading this thread. I burn wood in my house in a Woodstock Soapstone fireview wood stove and love it. Ive only done it around 4 years, but I love heating the house with wood heat. I have a short bus (diesel) and I've wondered how I could heat it with wood heat. Everyone has brought up the same concerns I've had. I had a crazy idea tho (so please feel free to shoot it down) Has anyone ever thought about building an external stove and duct in? I have a rear door on the bus so i would mount on one side (passenger side) My thought is: to build an insulated firebox that i can use for different uses. I would like to be able to use it as a grill, smoker or to heat with. The firebox would be insulated (double walled). Only thing coming into the bus would be two pipes. (From the back window area most likely) One will pull or push air with a small battery powered fan to pull/push air around the fire box and brings warm air back in? This saves valuable space in a short bus and also leaves the mess outside. I would most likely still have a propane heat (backup) of some kind. Note: I live in Kansas so I don't have as cold of winters as some of you do. Has anyone ever thought of this or see why it wouldn't work?
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Old 05-23-2018, 03:45 PM   #16
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Yeah, I've thought about something sort of like that. There's a fairly large squirrel cage fan out of an old oil furnace laying around my dad's place. He wants to haul it to the dump, but I'm always thinking about things it might be good for whenever I see it.

My most recent idea was using it to blow heat from a woodstove outside into a small bus. But, as I conceived it, this wouldn't be portable, though. It would be too heavy and bulky, so it would be at a place where my bus was parked frequently, and I spent time there regularly, like at my dad's place maybe..

I came up with this idea, because, with a small four window bus like it appears I will most likely be getting soon, I don't think there's enough room for a wood stove.

I know there are people on this forum who have installed stoves like the Mini Grizzly into small buses and just love their little stove. But I spent a lot of years heating with wood when I lived in NW Canada, where it can get extremely cold. I remember one winter in a cabin where the stove took 8 inch wood, which I cut all winter long with only a hand saw, an old fashioned 6 foot long crosscut that came with the cabin.

It took some practice to get used to using a saw designed for two by myself, but after I got the hang of it, I could cut through a 2 foot diameter log in just a few minutes. I cut a lot of wood that winter. There was no road into that cabin, just a foot trail, and the only dry wood around was a stand of cedar trees about 24 inches on the butt that had all died at the same time. That cedar burned real fast, but each block I cut warmed me twice.

After that winter I got a chain saw, but now I'm pushing 70 and have not used a chain saw in about 20 years, so I don't think there will be a wood stove in my bus. But putting a stove next to the bus is something I just might do someday, especially if I end up back in Canada.

Back in the 70s, there were people building things called HAHSAs. HAHSA is an acronym for Heating and Heat Storage Apparatus. Often these were small cement block buildings with a metal roof supported by steel trusses. The building was completely full of dry sand. There was a woodstove sticking through a wall with an outside door to put wood in and a pipe circulating a glycol solution through the sand to collect the heat, which was then pumped to the house to circulate in a floor slab.

What I envision for use with a bus was inspired by the HAHSA concept, but would be much smaller and utilize hot air instead of a heated glycol solution. The amount of heat stored would be much less, but the amount of heat this apparatus needed to produce would be much less than that required to heat a large house.
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Old 05-23-2018, 03:50 PM   #17
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That squirrel cage fan will likely draw way too much air to be feasible.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:01 PM   #18
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It was originally used to circulate hot air from an oil furnace through a 1040 square foot house, so I think a somewhat smaller and newer motor with a speed control could be adjusted to circulate an appropriate amount of air and heat into the bus.

But this would be a permanent installation, though, and I'm not sure I will ever build it.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:09 PM   #19
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It was originally used to circulate hot air from an oil furnace through a 1040 square foot house, so I think a somewhat smaller and newer motor with a speed control could be adjusted to circulate an appropriate amount of air and heat into the bus.

But this would be a permanent installation, though, and I'm not sure I will ever build it.
With modifications to the set up it can be made to work.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:17 PM   #20
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Another thought I had was to bring the flue into the bus and use a section of it it to release heat inside with cooling fins, etc? However I didn't want a hot pipe to come in and/or another hole in the roof..
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