Letter Re: Solid Fuel Stoves

Hugh, Our home is located in NW Wyoming, at an elevation of just under 6,000 feet. We have operated both a coal stove (Hitzer Model 30-95 EZ-Flo Hopper Stove) and a wood burner (Blaze King Princess Catalytic Model) for a number of years. The wood stove is on the lowest level of our three-story log home, while the coal stove provides emergency heat for our storage/pantry building. Over the years, we have learned a great many tips and techniques for using solid fuel heaters. The most important step in installing and using one of these stoves is to get the advice and help of a qualified chimney and stove installer. After hiring a couple of “experts” who had no idea what they were doing, we were fortunate to contact one of the best outfits in NW Wyoming. He corrected the glaring and dangerous mistakes of the bumblers and installed both of our stoves. He used Selkirk “Ultra-Temp” stainless steel insulated pipe with a rating of 2,100 degrees on the exterior sections and double wall chimney pipe for the interior location. To deal with draft issues, he installed “Vacu-Stack” chimney caps. And, since there are very few “chimney sweeps” in our … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Two Letters Re: Review Of The Jøtul F 50 TL Rangeley

Hello! Regarding FT’s review of the Jotul stove and her concern about dealing with removing and cleaning out the ash pan daily as they advance in age, I can only share my own experience as a youngster in a small southern town in the winter. In keeping with her observations about the merchant trusting her to pay for the stovepipe after installation, might I suggest that in regard to respect for elders, you’re not in California anymore? I recall my parents advising (ordering?) me to go down the road to our elderly neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ward, every winter day after school to empty and clean their ash pan from what sounds like a similar stove for the same reasons. When I (foolishly) questioned my father as to why I had to do this on top of my regular chores, I was told “Because they can’t and you can, and that’s reason enough to help a neighbor”. If you make effort to engulf yourself in your new community, you might very well find things have not changed in Appalachia as much as you think. – Jason in TN o o o HJL, We have heated with wood only for over … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Letter Re: Review Of The Jøtul F 50 TL Rangeley

Hugh, Our primary heat for our home is wood. When I bought our home in 2011, I replaced a used wood stove with a brand new Blaze King model called the King. The company offers the Princess, the Queen, and the King. All three can be regular or catalytic type. Ours is the catalytic version. We will start burning wood in September and burn through mid-April, and we have done this since we installed the stove. We burn only birch wood that has been split and stacked for a minimum of two years aged. I buy a load of logs that will have 66 logs in the load. The wood supplier guarantees a minimum of five cords in each load; I’ve never had less than six cords. The cost is $880 per load, and we could go and cut it ourselves if we wanted. I’ve seen home heating oil sell up here for as high as $6.60/gallon and as low as $2.45/gallon. We loose power every winter for at least two weeks and one year for three weeks at a time. The catalyst has held up now with no signs of failure, though I do keep a spare, and it … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Letter Re: Jøtul Woostove

Dear Hugh, We have been using a name-brand (Firefox, a UK brand) woodstove at our home in the Greek Islands for about seven years. We had the baffle at the top of the stove burn through within two years. The manufacturer would not send us a replacement, referring us to a retailer in the UK. They wanted the best part of $100 dollars for the part, plus postage of about the same amount. Instead, I took the broken part to a local metal shop. They fabricated one out of much thicker steel for $20, and it’s still intact; in fact, it will probably last the stove out. The firebricks were next. The agent wanted another $100 plus p&p. I got some firebricks locally and cut them to shape with a diamond blade angle grinder for the cost of $20. We also had the glass break. Agent’s price was $50 plus p&p. A local glass shop cut some fireproof glass for $20. Forget the dealers, assuming you are out of warranty of course. Go local. It’s faster and a lot less expensive. – Michael in the Greek Islands.

Advertisement:

Prepare to Be Prepped – Sometimes You Have to Survive Daily Life, by Just-Do-It Jane

Most of us in the U.S. have been touched by winter storms. If you live in the South like I do, then you’ve probably tossed your hands in the air and said to yourself, “Wait a minute! What happened to mild winters?!” Fortunately for me, my friend “Survival Messenger” has had the foresight to help me (and many others) understand why we should prepare for come-what-may scenarios. She has shared everything from her favorite high-tech gadgets to trusted and ingenious homemade solutions for everyday problems. I’ve been the thrilled recipient of handy buckets and bags filled with so many helpful goodies that it’s like Christmas each time she walks in the door. But her generosity doesn’t end with physical products. Almost every conversation we have contains a gold mine of valuable information I store for future use.  In January and February of one recent year, I came to know how important her preparedness values had become in my life. Weather/Round I After two years of searching, I finally found the homestead property of my dreams, which consisted of an old 1920s farmhouse and outbuildings on almost seven beautiful acres with trees, a spring-fed pond and plenty of room for gardens. … Continue reading

Advertisement:

The Care and Feeding of a Woodstove

Here, at the Rawles Ranch, we heat our house with a masonry wood stove. Because of the thermal mass of its masonry construction, the stove holds heat and, therefore, provides a much more consistent heating effect; well, that is the case for at least three-fourths of our house. Our stove’s wood box is large, so there is the risk of overheating the living room, especially in the fall and spring, when the afternoons warm up outdoors. In those seasons, we have to be careful to keep the stove’s air vent nearly closed almost all of the time. (However, we are careful to let the stove burn “full rip” for a short time each day, to prevent an accumulation of creosote in the chimney. This is of course no substitute for proper chimney cleaning, which is a lengthy annual chore each spring. I usually do so after the roof is clear of snow and dry for the first time in the spring.) A daily brief hot burn keeps a stove safe in snowy climes where you can’t safely get up on the roof for five or six months of the year. Our house is one story, which greatly simplifies things for … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Letter Re: Coal–The Other Black Gold

James, I was in a bad pickle this summer.  A housing opportunity came by and my family moved to a nice country home in Minnesota farm country.  It’s low traffic, well sheltered from the wind on all sides by mature trees, and safe for outside pets.  There is ample space for a large garden that will produce a surplus while feeding the entire family.  Yet there is one problem.  The house, while well kept, is a century old.  It is not very well insulated, and we knew from the previous tenant that it is difficult to heat in the winter. The heating system we inherited is a central heating oil furnace.  It is a good backup unit and we did fill the tank completely, but we knew that trying to heat the house that way would take most of our spare money and prohibit us from expanding other necessary preparations.  So before the weather got bad we decided to get a wood burning furnace.  I decided we should get a coal/wood stove, just to have additional options.  It must have been the Lord’s providence because that decision is now proving critical in this bitterly cold winter season. We started heating … Continue reading

Advertisement:

A Contractor’s Preps: Materiel Storage, by Paul W.

I’d like to discuss my perspective on family preparedness, from the perspective of a architectural design and building contractor. There are four categories to this aspect of preparedness:  Materials, Tools, Knowledge and Usefulness I read a lot of articles about things to stock up on when TEOTWAWKI situations occur.  One thing I do not hear discussed as much is keeping a well stock material shed at your bug out location.  Now keep in mind this is not a Bug out bag list.  The is a Bug Out Destination or Home list. Coming from the world of Architectural Design and Contracting I have seen buildings become deplorable shacks in no time.  You would be amazed at how quickly a simple water leak can destroy your compound/home.  Maintenance is always key but sometimes Mother Nature will take over on even the best of us.  A downed tree branch, strong wind gusts or even a deer running into you window (I have seen this happen).  A well stocked material shed will provide you with not only items for repair and maintenance of your Compound but will provide you with barter items that could be just as valuable as ammo or food.  Below is … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Letter Re: Woodstove Chimney-Mounted Ovens

JWR, I don’t know about the Baker’s Salute Oven (that another reader asked about), but there is a man in Springville, Utah that makes a similar one that can be mounted on a wood burning stove or on a expedition tent stove.  They are much less expensive as he makes them from repurposed propane cylinders and they are called Grover Chimney Ovens.   They cost $205 instead of $539 like the Bake’s Salute Oven but they are not as large inside.   They are a double-walled oven, so the heated gases from the chimney stack surround the oven itself.  I am not affiliated with, or have any interest in these products other than to say that I want one.  He also makes one that will fit on top of a wall tent stove and he also makes a rocket stove using repurposed propane cylinders. – Brad M.

Advertisement:

Help for the New Prepper, by Don H.

 Many of us that have been prepping since before the Internet have welcomed all the new information, knowledge, and interaction with our fellow preppers. But for someone who is just starting out, it can all be overwhelming. So overwhelming that they don’t know where to start. The sad part is that many of them don’t start. They feel that they have to  spend so much money at one time to get all the gear that the experts say they need, that they just can’t do it. This is in large part due to shows like Doomsday Preppers. While I watch these shows regularly, and enjoy them, they are, in my opinion, a two edged sward. They have made many people aware of the need to start preparing for _______(fill in the blank), but they also go so far beyond the basics (where we all started)  that they leave the new prepper with the wrong idea of how to start.   None of us started out with everything we needed. For some of us, we had no idea what we would need. We knew we had to prepare, maybe we had a vague idea what we were preparing for, and a … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Heating with Wood 101, by J.J.S.

 “If I have seen for miles, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton This line sums up SurvivalBlog and the contributing writers: it is a community of concerned preppers trying to share knowledge to help each other out.  My focus today is residential heating with wood as your fuel based on my experience heating with my airtight cast iron stove.  Pretty boring topic for the seasoned prepper, but I think there are plenty of new preppers who have recently seen the light and can feel the stuff hitting the fan and hopefully this article will have a little for everyone.  Personally. I am a new prepper and was astounded to learn that this country and world is in one big mess, financially. I bet that a lot of us reading SurvivalBlog are just like me: Newly Aware and Astounded. If you live where it can get cold and many of us do you need to think about a heat source.  I would rather save my fuel oil, propane, and gasoline for other uses rather than heating my abode. I like wood myself because it is and should be readily available before and after … Continue reading

Advertisement:

Letter Re: Building Cabins on a Shoestring Budget

Dear CPT Rawles, Thank you for SurvivalBlog, and best wishes to all of you at the Rawles Ranch.   My wife and I have written to once before about retreat locale recommendations, and you were so very helpful.  We are, I guess what you could call “late preppers” because we’ve only been working on this for about the last year, & part of that with admittedly a certain skepticism. Time has proven you right however, & now we are doing all we can.  It’s tough to prioritize when you need so much, and everything is like an emergency right NOW kind of need because of so many new regulations, and doors being closed.  I’m sure you understand how all of that is.  We have taken your past advice seriously, and are moving to the Redoubt in June of 2014, hopefully things will hold together that long…  Last year we purchased 10 acres in Boundary County in the general vicinity of [locale deleted, for OPSEC], and it is about that that I am writing to you.  To put it plainly, an appraisal of our situation is that we are very poor, financially speaking.  We have however managed to reach zero debt, but … Continue reading

Advertisement: