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ronnietucker

School Days - Adding a mini-stove

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TIL: don't try and light it outside in the wind and rain. Futile. Also didn't help I was ill prepared with blocks, and not kindling. Personally, I think it was also due to me using pages from The Sun. We know what it is, and that doesn't burn.  :D

I think there was more warmth in my slippers than in that feeble fire I just made.

My coal fire skills are rusty.

  • Greenie 1

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1 hour ago, Dave Payne said:

Air gaps behind the sheets?

Indeed. There'll be gaps between the aluminium sheets and the actual wall of the boat.

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Im really interested in seeing how this goes as i've been looking for a tiny stove for the office in the back cabin and one of these might just do the trick. (as much as i would dearly love a little epping type range cost is somewhat prohibitive.) The main stove heats the boat nicely but as the OH objects to the smell of my paints when i'm working and I object to the sound of his music when he is we like to keep the office door closed and after a while it does get freezing a little chilly in there what with the side hatch back doors and pidgeon box. It would also give me a legitimate reason to tell the OH we need to get rid of Pram Hood (YAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!) :D

Do you think one would fit on the right beside the steps on a hearth built up to the hight of the swims?

3099aftcabLAP.jpg.3f38cb6669d0dd5764a0720284a7be8c.jpg

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So, yesterday was the big fit. My prototype slotted in like a dream:

IMG_20180106_110054.jpg.a6dd542338e14a1e0c61474e37944529.jpg

Next, came the chimney. That was pretty scary as once that ventilation thing was out I had a gaping hole in my roof that I needed to seal up.

IMG_20180106_105950.jpg.1e5d151cf252242c73ee4ee4ff4adfaa.jpg

The roof flashing came with a lot of excess (for me) metal so I cust a fair chunk of metal off it to leave me with the basics. I slapped loads of silicon seal on the underside of it, squeezed it down then taped it down to let it dry.

Let's fire this baby up! (pun fully intended)

IMG_20180106_132013.jpg.3b42a3d18528c0f5b73a71f50dcef945.jpg

The old: coal, kindling, paper (top to bottom) thing doesn't work here. Well, not for me anyway. After many tries, I went with: wood, kindling, paper. Once the blocks of wood have caught, then you can put a bit of coal in there.

I took the tape off the chimney and put more silicon seal around the edge of the metal. Then, put my homemade rain cover (not pictured) on.

Now, the science bit:

IMG_20180106_132052.jpg.e71ba46cf0da1279cff4463f200af8f2.jpg

Going from an old-fashioned coal fire (with a grate and where you can see everything), it takes a bit to realise that the open door is the grate. The coal that's currently burning, and any visible flames, are in the middle to upper part of the stove. So upper middle of the stove clocked in at about 200C. That was me just having maybe three bits of coal at most. Putting a block of wood in there has the fire, quite literally, roaring and the flames touching the underside of the lid. I'm pretty confident that you could cook on that lid.

IMG_20180106_132105_1CS.jpg.535c4f8fe369e492cf9fb37d3ad72bb8.jpg

The actual open door temperature was about 310C. Again, that's the stuff that is on its way out.

IMG_20180106_132154.jpg.ac28255cd4abdc7a80084311006e7786.jpg

Even with the main fire at 300C and the upper part of the stove at about 200C the aluminium surround was still cold to the touch.

I really can't complain at that price (£55) but the design of the fire could do with a tweak. But, having said that, those changes might bump the price up a bit. My suggestions for design changes: alter the door design to allow different amounts of air flow. At the moment you can only have wide open (no door), a crooked door (like in the photo), or closed. Closed will pretty much extinguish the fire. Both crooked and wide will use up a lot of coal. In total, I went through a big bucket of coal within 12hrs. And that was me sometimes tossing on some wooden blocks to save coal. Another design change would have been a sliding drawer, even just a container, under the stove, for the ashes. I'll probably put an old baking tray under it to catch ash. Some models (not this one - which is a shame) have a hinge on the lid. That would have been nice, but not the end of the world. I lift the lid with a pair of pliers.

I've not bolted the flue to the wall yet. To be honest, I don't think I will. As it means I can easily lift the flue off the stove and take the stove out completely to clean it out. The stove is taking the weight of the flue. Having said that. I might bolt it down as it's hardly a hardship to undo the clip to move the flue and take out the stove. We'll see how it develops.

Comfy!

IMG_20180106_160449.jpg.dd78f1df0e8ec3973da07c499e0c4bab.jpg

It's only a 22ft boat. Let's say we have 7ft outside of that door and 14ft inside. That 7ft at the door is toasty. The back 7ft (where I am with my tablet) isn't cold, but it isn't as toasty at that middle section. I'm not sure if an eco-fan type thing would help, or just cause a draught.

IMG_20180106_175314.jpg.8f8ff96bba9fd8c29cd40dd6184d8799.jpg

Outside it was about 1C, but inside (in that cosy middle section) it was around 30C. So it definitely heats up the boat. No doubt about it.

Upside:

  • lovely to sit there, hypnotised, looking at the toasty fire
  • easy to fit (especially with the flexi-tube thing)
  • very cheap

Downside:

  • uses up quite a lot of coal, I thought, but maybe that's just what stoves use in 12hrs.
  • doesn't last long overnight as you need to load it every hour/two.

It was great while it was working, but waking up during the night to the fire being out and the temperature in the boat being 0C and outside being -4C was NOT cosy!

  • Greenie 1

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6 minutes ago, dm6045 said:

Im really interested in seeing how this goes as i've been looking for a tiny stove for the office in the back cabin and one of these might just do the trick. (as much as i would dearly love a little epping type range cost is somewhat prohibitive.) The main stove heats the boat nicely but as the OH objects to the smell of my paints when i'm working and I object to the sound of his music when he is we like to keep the office door closed and after a while it does get freezing a little chilly in there what with the side hatch back doors and pidgeon box. It would also give me a legitimate reason to tell the OH we need to get rid of Pram Hood (YAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!) :D

Do you think one would fit on the right beside the steps on a hearth built up to the hight of the swims?

6

It depends on the amount of space next to your steps. If you have a width of about 16" then I'd say yes. Mine is 16" wide and, as I mention above, the aluminium sides aren't warm.

I wouldn't build up a hearth, I'd put it on the floor as I could see the heat was rising when I checked the temperatures on the door beside the stove it was about 14C at the top and dropping as I moved the laser down the door. When I knelt on the floor I could feel the difference in temperature.

Do you have a way of getting a flue from that corner to the outside of the boat?

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8 minutes ago, ronnietucker said:

It depends on the amount of space next to your steps. If you have a width of about 16" then I'd say yes. Mine is 16" wide and, as I mention above, the aluminium sides aren't warm.

I wouldn't build up a hearth, I'd put it on the floor as I could see the heat was rising when I checked the temperatures on the door beside the stove it was about 14C at the top and dropping as I moved the laser down the door. When I knelt on the floor I could feel the difference in temperature.

Do you have a way of getting a flue from that corner to the outside of the boat?

Thanks, ill have to check the size when we're back there next week but i would have thought so and as for it getting outside that would mean cutting a hole in the roof but it would be worth it to have a warm office. We've been looking at stoves to go there since we brought the boat but ruled out a full size one as 1, I dont think we could fit one there with enough clearance around it to satisfy bss and 2, our bedroom (just before the office) gets plenty warm enough with the main stove already and would be unbearable with 2. I actually like the fact that it goes out after a couple of hours as we would only want it whilst working although I could see how that is a negative if it is your main source of heat.

the only reason I said about building a hearth is that above the swim the space is alot squarer meaning the surround would be easier to make as below the swim there is alot of different angles going on and would just generally leave more room for error.

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Where the flexi goes over the stove chimney bit?

Nothing. I just put the flexi over the chimney. The flexi goes down over the vertical stove chimney by about 4 or 5 inches. My thinking being that I can just lift the flue off and take the stove outside to clean it.

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2 hours ago, ronnietucker said:

So, yesterday was the big fit. My prototype slotted in like a dream:

IMG_20180106_110054.jpg.a6dd542338e14a1e0c61474e37944529.jpg

Next, came the chimney. That was pretty scary as once that ventilation thing was out I had a gaping hole in my roof that I needed to seal up.

IMG_20180106_105950.jpg.1e5d151cf252242c73ee4ee4ff4adfaa.jpg

The roof flashing came with a lot of excess (for me) metal so I cust a fair chunk of metal off it to leave me with the basics. I slapped loads of silicon seal on the underside of it, squeezed it down then taped it down to let it dry.

Let's fire this baby up! (pun fully intended)

IMG_20180106_132013.jpg.3b42a3d18528c0f5b73a71f50dcef945.jpg

The old: coal, kindling, paper (top to bottom) thing doesn't work here. Well, not for me anyway. After many tries, I went with: wood, kindling, paper. Once the blocks of wood have caught, then you can put a bit of coal in there.

I took the tape off the chimney and put more silicon seal around the edge of the metal. Then, put my homemade rain cover (not pictured) on.

Now, the science bit:

IMG_20180106_132052.jpg.e71ba46cf0da1279cff4463f200af8f2.jpg

Going from an old-fashioned coal fire (with a grate and where you can see everything), it takes a bit to realise that the open door is the grate. The coal that's currently burning, and any visible flames, are in the middle to upper part of the stove. So upper middle of the stove clocked in at about 200C. That was me just having maybe three bits of coal at most. Putting a block of wood in there has the fire, quite literally, roaring and the flames touching the underside of the lid. I'm pretty confident that you could cook on that lid.

IMG_20180106_132105_1CS.jpg.535c4f8fe369e492cf9fb37d3ad72bb8.jpg

The actual open door temperature was about 310C. Again, that's the stuff that is on its way out.

IMG_20180106_132154.jpg.ac28255cd4abdc7a80084311006e7786.jpg

Even with the main fire at 300C and the upper part of the stove at about 200C the aluminium surround was still cold to the touch.

I really can't complain at that price (£55) but the design of the fire could do with a tweak. But, having said that, those changes might bump the price up a bit. My suggestions for design changes: alter the door design to allow different amounts of air flow. At the moment you can only have wide open (no door), a crooked door (like in the photo), or closed. Closed will pretty much extinguish the fire. Both crooked and wide will use up a lot of coal. In total, I went through a big bucket of coal within 12hrs. And that was me sometimes tossing on some wooden blocks to save coal. Another design change would have been a sliding drawer, even just a container, under the stove, for the ashes. I'll probably put an old baking tray under it to catch ash. Some models (not this one - which is a shame) have a hinge on the lid. That would have been nice, but not the end of the world. I lift the lid with a pair of pliers.

I've not bolted the flue to the wall yet. To be honest, I don't think I will. As it means I can easily lift the flue off the stove and take the stove out completely to clean it out. The stove is taking the weight of the flue. Having said that. I might bolt it down as it's hardly a hardship to undo the clip to move the flue and take out the stove. We'll see how it develops.

Comfy!

IMG_20180106_160449.jpg.dd78f1df0e8ec3973da07c499e0c4bab.jpg

It's only a 22ft boat. Let's say we have 7ft outside of that door and 14ft inside. That 7ft at the door is toasty. The back 7ft (where I am with my tablet) isn't cold, but it isn't as toasty at that middle section. I'm not sure if an eco-fan type thing would help, or just cause a draught.

IMG_20180106_175314.jpg.8f8ff96bba9fd8c29cd40dd6184d8799.jpg

Outside it was about 1C, but inside (in that cosy middle section) it was around 30C. So it definitely heats up the boat. No doubt about it.

Upside:

  • lovely to sit there, hypnotised, looking at the toasty fire
  • easy to fit (especially with the flexi-tube thing)
  • very cheap

Downside:

  • uses up quite a lot of coal, I thought, but maybe that's just what stoves use in 12hrs.
  • doesn't last long overnight as you need to load it every hour/two.

It was great while it was working, but waking up during the night to the fire being out and the temperature in the boat being 0C and outside being -4C was NOT cosy!

I think this is where diesel heating works well on small boats. You can set it on a timer to come on before you get up so the boat is toasty warm and they take up very little room.

Mind you I don't think our boat has ever gotten down to zero degrees inside while we have been on It!

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26 minutes ago, ronnietucker said:

Where the flexi goes over the stove chimney bit?

Nothing. I just put the flexi over the chimney. The flexi goes down over the vertical stove chimney by about 4 or 5 inches. My thinking being that I can just lift the flue off and take the stove outside to clean it.

I've got a woodburner at home. I have to take out the stove and flue pipes to sweep the main chimney. When I put it back each time I use fire cement to create a seal between the flue pipe and the stove to ensure no smoke etc leaks out the sides. I'm maybe over cautious but I've always done it, doesn't take more than a minute

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8 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

I think this is where diesel heating works well on small boats. You can set it on a timer to come on before you get up so the boat is toasty warm and they take up very little room.

Mind you I don't think our boat has ever gotten down to zero degrees inside while we have been on It!

Is it powered by your 12V battery? Are they expensive?

Trust me, you do not want to be on a GRP (with no insulation) at zero degrees inside, -4 outside. The canal was frozen over.

Especially when your gas bottle decides that it'll go empty that very night. And could I find the spanner to change the bottle? Nope.

Got out of bed, went home. Screw it.  :D

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17 minutes ago, ronnietucker said:

Is it powered by your 12V battery? Are they expensive?

Trust me, you do not want to be on a GRP (with no insulation) at zero degrees inside, -4 outside. The canal was frozen over.

Especially when your gas bottle decides that it'll go empty that very night. And could I find the spanner to change the bottle? Nope.

Got out of bed, went home. Screw it.  :D

The Webasto unit we have is pretty expensive but there are some cheaper Planar units available from about  £150. 

Our 2kw unit uses between 0.12 and 0.25 litres of diesel per hour and about 4 amps per hour from the batteries to run the fan unit and pump. We have two 105ah batteries for our domestic purposes so the electrical consumption isn't a problem. 

ETA: I think the air gap between the two skins on our boat helps keep it a bit warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

 

Edited by Naughty Cal

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Sounds to me you get what you pay for. I dont mean that in a bad/nasty way.

Once you get the knack with it you may find a better way to get more heat from it but it will still never burn all night.

I would defo fit either rope or cement between the stove and flue connection.  Reason being the flue will draw air from that gap and may not burn as good.

How about modding the door with drilling a few 8-10mm holes and see how that goes with air control, stat with say three then add mor eif needed, to close them either peg them or make a slider for it like this. It worked on this stove i made a few years ago.

 

 

 

tn_IMG_0830.jpg

 

tn_IMG_0865.jpg

 

 

 

35 minutes ago, ronnietucker said:

Is it powered by your 12V battery? Are they expensive?

Trust me, you do not want to be on a GRP (with no insulation) at zero degrees inside, -4 outside. The canal was frozen over.

Especially when your gas bottle decides that it'll go empty that very night. And could I find the spanner to change the bottle? Nope.

Got out of bed, went home. Screw it.  :D

Reason when i refitted mine i fully insulated it and fitted a 2Kw LPG heater, toasty on half throttle in -3 with 18deg inside :)

 

I will never sleep on a boat again with no to little heat from a cooker in winter, been there and done that.

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20 minutes ago, W+T said:

Sounds to me you get what you pay for. I dont mean that in a bad/nasty way.

Once you get the knack with it you may find a better way to get more heat from it but it will still never burn all night.

I would defo fit either rope or cement between the stove and flue connection.  Reason being the flue will draw air from that gap and may not burn as good.

How about modding the door with drilling a few 8-10mm holes and see how that goes with air control, stat with say three then add mor eif needed, to close them either peg them or make a slider for it like this. It worked on this stove i made a few years ago

Reason when i refitted mine i fully insulated it and fitted a 2Kw LPG heater, toasty on half throttle in -3 with 18deg inside :)

I will never sleep on a boat again with no to little heat from a cooker in winter, been there and done that.

6

Regarding 'you get what you pay for': absolutely agree. I didn't want to spend hundreds on a stove/heating as during the winter season I'm only going to be there for a day/two at very most. Most times not even staying overnight. This one I did as a test to make sure everything was OK. I'll get more use out of it when the weather improves, never use it in summer, then use it as it becomes winter again.

My grandfather had mastered the coal fire we had at home and he'd worked out how much dross (basically coal dust) and water to make a sludge. He'd put that on the fire and it would smoulder away all night. I'll just need to wake up every couple of hours.  :D

Once it gets going the stove certainly burns. Putting a block/two of wood on there and you can hear it roaring. I got a fright the first time and lifted the lid to find that the flames were easily touching the lid and able to shoot out the top.

Modding the door is certainly an idea. It's solid steel though, but I'll see what I can come up with. Even just something two inches high that I can use to jam the sliding door up a bit.

Yeah, I couldn't believe it when the gas started running out. I'm sitting there talking to the cooker (in fine Basil Fawlty style) saying 'you're going to run out of gas on me now? You could have run out last week, but noooooo. You want to run out when its zero degrees inside and -4 outside. You swine!' When I couldn't find a spanner to change the gas I thought no, screw this, I'm outta here. I've no heating (stove/gas) and can't make tea/food. Well, I could have got the fire cleaned and started with wood only, but screw it. I'd had enough of freezing temperatures at that point.  :D

Edited by ronnietucker

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Hey Ronnie, your wee stove is looking good. For me there really is no better way to chill out than sit in front of your own wee hearth. Might I suggest your next job is to pop along to your nearest outdoor supply shop and buy a good all seasons sleeping bag :giggles:

Can I ask, if you don't have insulation on School Days are you thinking of putting some in?

Tumsh.

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11 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

Hey Ronnie, your wee stove is looking good. For me there really is no better way to chill out than sit in front of your own wee hearth. Might I suggest your next job is to pop along to your nearest outdoor supply shop and buy a good all seasons sleeping bag :giggles:

Can I ask, if you don't have insulation on School Days are you thinking of putting some in?

Tumsh.

That WAS me in a sleeping bag! I think I need to get on Amazon and look up a decent thick one. The two I have are OK, but a bit thin.

I don't think I'd insulate her as, like I've said, I only spend the weekends on her during decent weather and only an afternoon/day on her when it's cold. If I was to insulate her it would mean ripping out everything to get to the 'walls'. That'd be a right nuisance.

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The simplest way to control the air flow/ burn rate would be to drill a 2" diameter hole in the door and bolt an oversize disc over it such that it can swivel and allow any degree of aperture.  I'm sure that even with such a tiny combustion space you will be able to keep it in overnight once you get to know it.  My little Carabo stove will easily stay in all night and half the next day if fed with good dry hardwood on a bed of ash.

  • Greenie 2

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10 hours ago, ronnietucker said:

I'm not sure if an eco-fan type thing would help, or just cause a draught.

Maybe look into a 120mm PC fan as a try-out, they can run off a 5V power bank with the right adapter:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1x-USB-A-male-to-Fan-2-Pin-3-Pin-3pin-4-Pin-4pin-Adapter-Cable-for-5V-GW/292362396055

ISTR the cheap eco fan knockoffs may not be as good as the real deal.

  • Greenie 1

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