Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Show me your Fire Dragons


Recommended Posts

We keep ours in a metal box with a ceramic window in our house. I've noticed that they estivate rather than hibernate.  (They are active and eat a lot in the winter and go dormant in the summer.)  I expect that it will go through half a cord to a cord of wood this winter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty much all we have access to out here is softwoods; the few hardwood logs I can scrounge are saved for the worst storms.  Our house's primary heating system is thermonuclear with the woodstove being the backup.  Having the window on it means we burn a lot more wood than we wood if it was just metal sides. It's cool winter mornings but my wife can usually stay in bed till the sun warms it up.  Me I drink hot tea and wear warm clothes; unless it's cloudy, then I build a fire for my wife.  (We were watching a DVD last night of a Murder mystery; the victims spouse was going on about how they had been married for 8 years---and my wife and I burst out laughing, it's 36 so far for us.)

I sure wish I had access to bodark. I have some I split and waxed for handles/knife slabs back when we lived in Arkansas---moved in 1989 so it's probably dried by now...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh Baby I do love our fire dragon combustoquarium. This one has a ceramic window that's pretty dared tough. We typically go though 8-12 cord per winter. The house's furnace works just fine but there's nothing like wood stove radiation to warm the bones. Heat regulation is easy, if you're chilled move closer too warm back off some. For large adjustments open or close the draft, air is what makes the heat.

There are times I really wish I had some Red Fir, that stuff REALLY makes heat. Dad used to keep about half a cord in case things got really cold. The largest pieces he kept in the pile were less than 4" x 4". I think one or two broom stick pieces in the morning would be perfect for warming things up.

Otherwise we burn birch or spruce. The spruce bark beetle infestation that's wiping out forests up here makes spruce firewood hard to avoid.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a couple of slabs of soapstone on ours; if the morning's chilly and we didn't throw a log on in the middle of the night the soapstones almost perfect temperature for a handwarmer after going out and getting wood and rebuilding the fire.  Works well to keep my tea mug warm when the fire's going too, (and not boiled dry!) It backs up to the stabilized adobe wall separating the kitchen and Den?  (The south facing room with the cathedral ceiling  with double height windows that is the main solar collector and where most of our time is spent when indoors.) The stabilized adobe acts as a heat sink and was much cheaper than fire brick...

The few times we actually get snow it's a wonderful place to sit on the couch near the woodstove and sip hot tea and watch the snow fall;  or even cocoa and perhaps a bit of rum...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hah, with hedge wood I wouldn't be so sure it's totally dry yet.  That is some tough stuff.

I remember looking up tables about relative btu's in different kinds of wood and Osage Orange was top of the list on a couple of sites.  32.9 million btu's per cord.  need's to season for 2 years and it is a devil for popping.  can't really burn it in an open fireplace.  we regularly used it in our closed wood stove and it would get hot enough to get the cast iron slabs used to hold coal up to a dull red glow.  I left those plates in place because I didn't want anything that hot directly against the glass.  It was perfect for the long nights because I could load it up at night, dial the air flow back and when I got up all I had to do was toss another log on and open the air and it would catch in a matter of minutes.  the burner also had a catalytic converter in it and when you opened that up, you could get the basement up to 100 degrees.  The biggest downside was if the fire went out completely and there was no wind.  Without wind, the chimney would develop a column of cold air that made the whole thing act like it had a closed flue (the chimney stack was actually outside the house.)  I once tried to use the vacuum to force warm air up the chimney, but that just ended up getting a lot of smoke throughout the entire basement and setting off fire alarms.

Aside from that though, it kept almost 2000 square feet nice and warm when it was  below zero outside and with the power out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have the same cold stack problem with the wood stove downstairs. The stack is triple wall outside and comes through the wall about head height with a clean out trapdoor. I take a propane torch outside, open the trapdoor and heat the air with it. Only takes a few minutes and it's drawing fine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How old is your catalytic stove? I didn't think they made them anymore, when the converts got old they sometimes caused fires. We almost lost the house to one. We have a Jotul multiple burn zone wood heater now, a little warm up and you don't see any smoke out the stack.

A better way to preheat the stack or final combustion plate in ours is with a  paper shopping bag, I lay the fire and light the kindling, then light the shopping bag laid on it all. The paper bag doesn't develop a very high temp but it makes a lot of BTUs fast and just powers the cold air out of the stack. Of course the tie I spend with the fire door open on the stove laying and lighting the fire goes a long ways to breaking the cold air slug.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/9/2020 at 7:34 PM, Frosty said:

How old is your catalytic stove? I didn't think they made them anymore, when the converts got old they sometimes caused fires. We almost lost the house to one. We have a Jotul multiple burn zone wood heater now, a little warm up and you don't see any smoke out the stack.

Well, I don't own that house anymore.  The catalytic stove was probably from the 70's or 80's .  I think it was installed after the house was built in 1977.  I believe it was a Federal Airtight, built by Vermont Castings.  I had read about the catalytic and replaced it yearly around the same time we got the chimney swept and cleaned it once a month while using it.  It was designed to burn either wood or coal, you just slotted in a couple of really heavy cast iron plates for coal and removed them for more volume if burning wood.  I left them in place most of the time because we were burning hedge wood.

It was installed in the basement with the stack turning 90 degrees and going outside, into a small cement well, then straight up the outside of the house.  I think that contributed to the cold stack problem, and burning a paper bag just filled the basement with smoke.  That chimney had a topper on it, and if there was a 5 mph constant wind, it would draw fine.  On a still day though...

It had a main flue in the chimney stack and an internal one where you could route the smoke through the catalytic.  You had to get the whole stove pretty hot before routing the smoke through the catalytic, but once you did, heat output went up pretty quickly.

I miss having it though.  I liked all the fiddly bits of keeping the house warm with burning wood.  It felt Manly!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...