Two Letters Re: Some Woodstove Experience

I’d like to suggest to Yvonne with the woodstove that she could mount a half inch thick [steel] plate to the top of her stove to get more cooking area.  The plate could hang out past the edges of the stove to give her more cooking area.  She could bolt or weld it on.  It sounded like she was tight on money, so this would be a cheap and easy fix. – Tim X.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Tom in Juneau is correct. Tulikivi soapstone heaters from Finland are the cat’s meow. They are the gold standard for contra-flow masonry heaters and I am sure worth every penny. But, for many readers of this blog their price tag is just not within their grasp. So, I would like to suggest that there is more than one way to skin that cat.

I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in owning a safe, clean-burning, and efficient wood energy appliance, or anyone interested in learning to build the latter as a meaningful profession, to do an internet search for ” brick masonry heaters “, ” Russian bell heaters “, ” grundofen “, ” kachelofen “, ” Finnish contra-flow “, or ” ” Russian stoves “. I’m sure I left a few out, but the point is, there are many designs, plans, and workshops available for building, heaters, cook tops, bake ovens or any combination of these. Finding the proper hardware, however, may require another extensive search. But, hand building these things from primarily locally available materials is feasible.  A wonderful condensed history lesson for many masonry stove types can be found at Low Tech magazine. They have been around for quite awhile, apparently due to the need to conserve fuel. Sound familiar ?

I have never met Tom nor have I ever been to Alaska, but I share his passion and enthusiasm for these increasingly important energy saving inventions. Thank you, for allowing us the space to covey this message of hope and encouragement as we face increasingly unsustainable fossil fuel consumption levels. – Henry L.