Wood is Good

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I’ve been researching wood stoves (for heating more than for cooking, but that too). The coal stoves that are made in Pennsylvania and in coal country have a different purpose and design than I have in mind and with a near endless supply of pine near the White Wolf Mine, there is no need to go to coal or wood pellets. A chainsaw and an afternoon and I can do what I need to do with pine logs before I stack them for curing. (wet pine causes creosote to develop in stoves and chimneys and that’s not a good thing)

There seem to be three varieties available:

  1. Stoves made in China that are up to Chinese standards and are sold at attractive price points.
  2. Stoves made in America such as those made by the ShipMate Stove Company (for a ship, mine shack, or a small cabin), and they are vastly more expensive than the Chinese junk.
  3. Antique wood stoves that have been refurbished.
To me, price is secondary to quality.

Given that inexhaustible supply of wood, it only makes sense to use wood to heat the shack there at the mine compound, in a series of wood stoves and/or fireplaces. There is the main shack, the casita for guests and another out-building that will serve as a workshop. And the Chinese manufactured items are not on the radar. 
Do you, the reader, have any insight on wood stoves that you would be willing to share here?
If you’re going Galt, you need to have a plan.

27 thoughts on “Wood is Good

  1. I wouldn't know a wood stove from shinola. As for going Galt, best of luck with that. After awhile, you have to start wiping your butt with leaves, and that's where I lose interest. Gotta have my Sharman.

    If money is no object, you should contact a good blacksmith, who can custom make your stove for you, make you a built-in, etc. Pine is great wood for show, not great for long lasting fires. But an endless supply is always a plus. If you had an endless supply of oak, you would be in Fat City.

  2. check out barrel stoves. inexpensive, effecient, easy to make from recycled material, and they really do last a long time…my dads garage heater lasted over 30 years.the chimney pipes ere replaced twice in that time.

  3. I grew up with an old fashioned wood burning stove, "non-catalytic" and a couple of vents in the front, I'm pretty sure we could have moved the Titanic with that thing.

    I researched them a couple of years ago when I thought I might be sent home – could not believe the prices. They are actually heavily regulated in WA and OR, so I was looking at a few black market smuggling operations…I plan on having a big one in the main area, and a small one in the bedroom. A wood cooking stove – the price of a small car, but a must in Galt's Gulch. I bet there are abandoned cabins all over with classics just waiting to be salvaged.

  4. Surely it has to be a Rayburn? qualitystoves.co.uk/product_info.php/rayburn-216sfw-solid-fuel-wood-burning-cooker-boiler-p-1232?gclid=CKzk3sb37c0CFUa4Gwod4vsNLg
    Still, as a Brit, what do I know…

  5. Kuma. We bought our Kuma when the designer and developer, Mark Freeman, was working out of a small building (almost a shack) in Hayden about 19 years ago. They've gotten pretty big since then.

    It's a fabulous stove.


  6. We had a coal stove that would heat the entire house (and could likely get the Titanic up to five knots in a wicked sea state). I'm sure that is still around somewhere, but where? I think that you're right. The first thing to do is cruise the local salvage yards and yard sales in the outlying areas.

  7. I have not foresworn toilet paper. The kind with Hillary's face on it works, but it leaves fang marks on your rear.

    Your advice re, a blacksmith and the other advice (below) is all food for thought.

  8. I was thinking along that line for the workshop. It would be fun to build my own. The parlor needs something slightly more "polished".

  9. They're still pretty much made one by one, as in the "old" days. Spend some time on their site. Want to know my biggest love about the stove? Because of the design, the window never gets dirty. It will get a teeny tiny bit of haze and a simple spray of window cleaner and it wipes right off. The stove in my last home would get so black I'd have to use oven cleaner to get it clean.

    During one power outage, I even cooked on the top of the stove since it's flat. It worked great.

  10. Try a furnace with water coils. I have seen these installed in utility rooms with small wood loading door to outside. Keeps the wood mess out of the main living area. You can run some ductwork to distribute the heat. Free hot water preheater. Can use long logs for long burn time. Not familiar with this brand but this is representative.


    I enjoy your writing and your choice of Galt area. Kelly

  11. I hadn't considered this option, but it makes sense. More than one wood-fired heating system in the residence makes sense as well.

  12. If it gets that cold, I'm sure there is a Holiday Inn somewhere near by. The thought of chopping woods does not set well with my couch potato mentality. I prefer to pay to have someone do it for me. But, then, I am old and don't need that stress in my life. Knock yourself out. As for toilet paper, what is good for the Afghans is good for you, left hand logic.

  13. My days of camping out for a living have passed, but a chainsaw and good axe are still in the cards.

  14. I like knowing the people who made the stuff that I use. If there's a problem I go back and say, "There's a problem." I can't do that in China.

  15. Whether barrel-type or not, I have to second xtron about locally made, simple stoves. There are usually local welders and craftsmen who build them, even to your specifications, and can even "art" them up quite nicely. Generally, functionality is pretty good without dropping a fortune on exotic manufacture. Just my opinion, though.

    For example, Gruntessa and I were just drinking with Solaratov in his deep woods Missouri bunker on Sunday, and his simple barrel stove is the centerpiece of the 'parlor', meaning, of course, where the dogs lay. It wasn't lit this time, of course, but I've been in there before in the dead of January with the stove glowing nicely. Not high tech, but perfectly wonderful.

  16. Might want to take a look at the mountainviewoffgridliving.com/Kimberly-Stove.php and the Katydid. The Kimberly with the optional Thermo Electric Generator can create electricity to recharge batteries, run lights, laptop, etc.

  17. That's pretty space age, Brig. I cook on a Cobb stove (incorporated with that stove) when on the trail, so I'm very familiar with that component.

  18. Truth be told, the (currently emerging) home design is a long way from a "shack", but building my own or taking this and that to a competent welder and say do this or that is my vision for the shop. House items are likely going to be a bit more refined.

  19. Truth be told, Solaratov's 'bunker' is a long way from a 'shack', too, but on the other side of the spectrum. Still, very comfortable for a bachelor, his dogs, a few random cats and assorted possums that may or may not be living in the ceiling.

  20. Here is a good review,

  21. That looks a lot like the old coal stove that I referenced above (used as a kid) in terms of general design. Except this one is new and airtight. Great call, Jon!!

  22. Don't give in to the Chinese. While the price is right, the steel they smelt is POS. Years back, I bought a bunch of Chinese fencing blades. Every last one of them snapped in two within a couple of weeks of use. Those were supposed to be high quality steel, but it was way too brittle for a proper blade. I suspect that all Chinese steel is quite brittle.

  23. Had a barrel wood stove which definitely heated the house but it's messy plus pine is such a soft wood you will have a lot of ashes. We switched over to a pellet stove with a nice fan which is very low maintenance (except for the window) warms the house and no ashes. I vote for pellets!

  24. I've had universally bad luck with products made of metal or wood in China. Their view of quality control is "good enough" – and it never is.

  25. Pine is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the creosote that forms from a fire that's not hot enough to melt (and gassify) the creosote. And yes, there are lots of ashes. But pellets defeat the whole concept of free wood. I might as well burn grid electricity or run the diesel generator which creates electric power.

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