Project: Wood burning stove.

dr rockerdr rocker Regular
edited August 2011 in Life
I have been wanting to make a wood burning stove now for quite some time to heat my home. I have had a good look around and one of the best ways seems to be out of an old gas tank - the stuff propane/butane comes in.

I have a few of them in the garden (dont ask how, they were there when I moved in) and a couple of months ago, I let any remining gas in them out, took the valves off and stood them upside down so any residials would escape.

Taking the valves off was a nightmare job (as it should be I suppose) - need a big brass drift, a big hammer and my big wrench.

Then I did other things for a few months.

This morning I decided to start up again, so I looked back and refreshed myself on my research, rather than going out and chopping metal up and making something that was not going to work.

As I will be burning wood, I will aim to make the stove clean burn by having hot fresh air enter the firebox in an area above the main part of the fire, so any unburned gasses in the flame have chance to combust - as most know, it is not the wood iself that burns but the gasses that are produced when wood is heated.

I then went to get my gas cylinders from my garden and take them to where I will be doing most of my cutting and welding. I will fill them up with water to drive any remaining gas out, let around about 25% of the water out then mark up and cut.

The rest of the daylight we had I cut up a scaffold bar into 14" leanths - these will form the legs and are part of the cleanburn and airwash system of the stove.

I have a stick welder which was cheap but is decent an a 'gassless mig' which I think is pretty shit - I wont need it anyway - when I do mig, I borrow a mates kit.

I also have access to a milling machine as couple of things I have ideas for need shit loads of drilling in quite heavy steel.

I have a few weeks in which to do this, but wont be doing it everyday - obv its christmas and have family - my cutting and welding area is outdoors where there is currently quite a lot of snow.

I am treating the first on I build as an experiment to test my hot air injection system. I then hope to go on and refine any good ideas until I have something I can put in my house and fabricate a water jacket for to be used as a boiler to run a couple of radiators.

I might get it all done in a week, I might get the stove built in the couple of weeks, maybe get the boiler working in 10 years time, who knows until I really get stuck in.

Does anyone have any experience constructing these things or using them to heat all or part of their home?

Edit: just saw the barrel stove thread - but think this is a bit more tecnologically advanced than that and I will be releasing plans / diagrames and photos of the build.


  • edited January 2011
    I don't have any useful info to share however make sure it will pass an inspection or else you'll have to take it out once you go to sell.
  • fanglekaifanglekai Regular
    edited January 2011
    That's a good comment.
  • dr rockerdr rocker Regular
    edited January 2011
    It is a very good coment, the fire surround will be built to accept a comercially available one - if mine ends up a piece of shit, it would be stupid to keep it for vanity.

    I have however, started cutting the bottles - throwing them around when they are full of water is not so easy and the best piece of advice I can give is change your grinder blade when it has lost 1/4-1/3 of its diameter and save it for other shit you want to grind but not do massive cuts on.
  • 100100 Semo-Regulars
    edited March 2011
  • UsernameUsername Acolyte
    edited March 2011
    I think this is a really cool idea. I used to have a woodburner/woodstove in my house. It worked very well, although there was a problem with circulation do to it being a rather large house. The three main rooms of the house were really warm but the back rooms of the downstairs would stay cooler. So make sure to keep that in mind. Good luck. :)
  • dr rockerdr rocker Regular
    edited March 2011
    Yes, with simlilar things I have had in the past they are better suited to agricultural buildings, I had been thinking long nad hard between one of those and a ceramic /Finnish/Russian brick heater for my house. The hardest thing is, the house was never really designed around an effecient heating system, rather on the redibility of combustable fuel to burn in each room.

    Maybe each room should revert to having solid fuel heating.
  • dr rockerdr rocker Regular
    edited July 2011
    Never let it be said that I start something and never finish it. However, feel free to say I start something and get busy with other things for several months before I go back to what I was doing.

    I made a start on the hinges today, as they are probably the most intricate part and I need to weld the hinges onto the propane bottle before I fully cut the door appature - I will cut three sides of the door, weld on the hinges and cut the last cut for the door - that way I know the door is in the perfect position.

    I used some flat bar, some rod and some tube. The plan was to cut sections of bar and weld them onto sections of tube. Three bits of this make a hinge - I will weld two ends of the flat bar to the body of the stove and one end to the door. I managed to make two pieces before torrential rain started and I had to pack my kit up.


    Below is a picture of the hinge pieces on the rod, to give a better idea of how this will work. I am using a no gas 'mig' and it burns the tube pretty easily at 30amps - using a gas mig at the same setting would give a much cooler weld - I did have a burn through on some of the tube on my first weld, but I just filled it and filed the inside of the tube.


    I made seven more like them.
  • edited August 2011
    Nice work.

    Any most people dont know that about wood burning. Another thing they dont know is that the char produced is a beautiful fertiliser.

    Theres some interesting work done around pyrolysis stoves that you might want to look into - theres ways to generate electricty almost entirely cleanly and create the fertiliser to help grow the next batch of fuel.
  • dr rockerdr rocker Regular
    edited August 2011
    Yeah, its called bio-char - lots of soils are famed for it - the terra preta soils and terra negra soils are a case in point. I think the free carbon means that any nutes in the soil have something to bond to rather than being leached aways. However, in most wood burners, the only end product as a solid is ash, which is not as carbon rich as bio char. I have a bonfire almost everyother day and bank the fire up when I leave it so everything cooks but is not fully combusted - next day, get any nails and bits of metal out and it goes on the garden.

    Lucky to have an almost inexhaustable supply of waste timber.
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