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welded in a length of 6-inch diameter steel pipe. He 16ft a stub sticking out to attach a regular stovepipe to. With a proper flue, Peter can heat a tank of water as hot as he likes in an hour or less.

interfere with the draft, catch a lot of soot, or make the stove hard to clean. Too much pipe in the small firebox of a range may leave little room for fire- wood.

by 24-inch log in! For smaller stoves, you’d probably want to use a single loop of ¾-inch or ½-inch pipe. Our stove will heat 30 gallons of cold water to near boiling in an hour and a half.

I had cut the bottom out of a leaky, old wringer washing machine, cut a hole for a door, and turned it upside down for a firebox. It was way too big for the fire I needed, and the sheet metal door I made for it didn’t work very well. I rested my firebox on bare earth. This was not a suitable founda- tion for a 300-pound water tank. I had to tie the tank to a post to keep it from falling over on someone. Even so, I never felt comfortable around it.

I wish I could be more specific, but even books about woodstoves don’t have room for more than a few examples. Figure 3 shows a view of the interior of my stove’s firebox as it would appear if the left end of the stove were removed. It’s a modern, Washington

An Irish idea

My neighbor, Martin Palmer, lived for many years in rural Ireland. He says many cookstoves there have a hollow, brass reservoir at the back of the firebox, instead of the loop of

A Backwoods Home Anthology

Peter had built a proper foundation. Then he set a short length of 18-inch diameter iron pipe on it vertically for a fire-box. The tank fit perfectly on top of it. With his torch he cut out a door and welded on hinges and a flange around the door. He even made a screw-type draft control, just like on a woodstove. It’s a real thing of beauty, but more important, it works. Peter’s tank is outdoors. He uses it as an open system, filling it before each use and draining it afterward.

Figure 3. Cast iron pipe arrangement inside a firebox.

Indirect water heating

It’s more convenient to use heat from a woodstove to heat your water. There are three ways to get heat from a woodstove into a hot water tank. You can pipe water directly through the firebox, or you can run it through a coil either in or around the stovepipe.

Which one you choose depends on many factors. It may not be easy to run pipes through your particular stove’s firebox. Cast iron can be real difficult to cut a hole in. If you must drill cast iron, use a slow drill speed. Make sure the metal is not cold. Castings can chip or break easily and are impossible to fix. Welded steel plate is very tough to cut without a torch. Sheet metal is easier to drill, but harder to caulk safely.

Exact pipe location

The exact location of the pipes is also important, especially in a cook- stove. Improperly located pipes may

Stove Works’ “Alaska” model cook- stove with a very roomy firebox.

In it is a “W-shaped”, double loop of 1-inch diameter, plain iron pipe. The pipes enter the firebox at the rear through holes drilled with a heavy- duty, 1¼-inch hole saw. The holes were drilled through both layers of sheet metal and later caulked with stove cement. They don’t leak.

The pipes were placed at the oven side of the firebox, where the draft draws the flames past the pipes. The shaded part of figure 3 is the area where smoke travels over the top of the stove. As you can see, the top pipe does interfere with the draft. To lessen this interference, the pipes are placed about an inch away from the side of the firebox, allowing the draft to cir- culate on both sides of the pipes.

This further restricts the size of the firewood we can fit in there. But the firebox was so big originally that it hardly matters. I can still get a 6-inch

pipe, and they heat water much faster. The reservoirs are quite expensive, being made of brass. Copper is too soft, and reacts with any iron it touch- es, causing both metals to decompose.

I have a 90-year-old Home Comfort cookstove we use for canning that I’ve been wanting to plumb for hot water for years, but I never could figure out how to do it. There are a couple of covered ports in the back of the fire- box that are obviously intended for pipes, but 1 haven’t been willing to drill through the cast iron firebox liner. Also, the diagonal placement of the ports puzzled me. Pipes run through these holes and connected with a 180 degree bend would com- pletely block the firebox.

After Martin told me about Irish stoves I figured it out. The rear casting is removable, and can be replaced with a reservoir! The diagonal place- ment of pipes is exactly what you would want in a reservoir to promote

The Best of the First Two Years


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