Project: Warm toesies and warm puppies
Well, I already documented the wood-burner in the RV. Only real downsides to the unit at first were the lack of a grate. Solution, install a grate. DONE
Second off, no flue damper. Of course, to make one was next on the agenda. If you can’t control the flow through the stove, you burn through wood at a tremendous rate. There are two dampers install on the stove from the factory. One in front and another identical to it in the rear. There is also an ash drop in the bottom that had to be tightened up to cut air flow through that. Simple job to do. Just tap the rails it rides in with a ball peen and tighten them up.
I went to my dads for a day (another story all together) and when I came back, my priority was to make a flue damper for the stove. Sadly, with the time dwindling, I did not take pictures of the process. I did use the lathe and mill for this but the entire process could be completed with a saw, file and hand drill. I had in stock a section of 1/4” rod and bent the handle on it, about an inch away from where it would go through the flue wall. This is more to keep it manageable when adjusting. Otherwise, these things will get hot enough to cook the skin clean off your hand. Second off, I milled a section of it flat, roughly in half diameter to accept a plate. The plate I cut using a 2” hole saw and clean up by chucking it in the lathe. I milled the flat on the bar to accept this by the old tried and true, “ doesn’t fit, mill a little more” method. I measured nothing by rule or micrometer, everything is by calipers or slip fit: flue dampers don’t need the accuracy of a carburetor butterfly. About the only ‘accurate’ cut made was to drill the holes to accept the rod through the flue. I did use a centering guide to make sure it was centered as close as I could get it without busting out a center finder or edge finder. I then chucked the rod in the vise, used a mill clamp setup to hold the plate in place on it, then drilled the two holes to tap for the screws. I hand tapped those and made sure that everything fit together cleanly. It did.
I then hand cut the threads on the end of the rod to accept a 5/16X16 nut. Assemble the whole thing, compress a spring on the rod and install that nut. Voila! Flue damper. (and yes, I did drill two holes in the plate to allow some air flow even when full closed.)
About this time, I was going to take pics, but the sun was falling rapidly, and the temp was falling faster. I had a pup that was sitting there looking at me with ‘that look’ telling me to hurry up. So, no pics of the pieces, but here is the finished product in use.
I am testing the burn rate now as I type this so I have no conclusive results yet, but I can say, empirically, it seems to slow down the wood consumption to a good degree. It also allows me to control how hot it gets in here. I let it run wide open for a couple of hours, and the temp was high 70’s. With the damper at an apx 30 degree angle, and the front damper ‘cracked’ the temp is down to about 65 but I think the burn will last several hours longer.
Maybe I am asking a lot of this little stove, but I really would prefer to not have to feed it every couple of hours. Makes for a long night with little sleep to do that. (And that is why I have several blankets on the bed. Would rather burrow and forget about it until morning. The pup is the warning that it’s getting cold.) While the insulation in the RV is great, these cheap ass windows are the real leak source. Single layered panes, with the R factor of zilch. Well, that is going to change when I build my own place, but that is not here and now just yet.
Next project? A Stirling powered fan to move the heat around. Yeah, I know they make them for purchase, but I have the means, the knowledge, and the tools; why waste hard earned FRN’s for something I can make and take pride in, as well as scale to my needs. I am using a 12v fan right now, but why not tap into an energy source in multiple ways? Heat the house and power a fan to move the air? Win-win for me!
(I checked temps after I took that pic. Top of the stove is around 480, pipe to the flue damper is 300+, above the damper roughly 6″ is around 200 and at the top is only 130. The barrier is sitting at 98. Good to go!)
Updated as per request. Note, warm toasty dog.
>> Morning update>> Woke early in morning, around 1:30AM had a great bed of coals. Went ahead and reloaded stove with two large large logs (large for this stove roughly 3″ d and a foot in length) went back to bed. Woke at 6:30AM and stove was still hot. Smaller bed of coals but was able to restart stove on them. Temp in house was a respectable though chilly 55. Much better than the 28 outside for certain. Even Voodoo was happy about it, especially after sticking his nose outside, Brrrr.