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During the first winter out here, I almost cracked.
The cold was unbearable despite the spanking-new wood-burning stove having arrived fresh from the monopoly store. Not surprisingly, there's no photos of that first new stove (sorry).
A Fireplace insert has long-since replaced that first useless stove. The first stove didn't have much of a cooking area on top, delivered scant amounts of heat, was incredibly difficult to keep lit, impossible to clean the ash without a major day-breaker of effort, and there's more (all bad).
Whereas, by it's construction, the susequent wood burner gets as hot on the bottom as well as the top of the heater. The magic of this form of non-conventional use of a fireplace insert re-purposed as a stand-alone wood-burner, has been the discovery that thermal-mass heating is amazing!
If the replacement "stove" were to be placed in a home, there would probably be only one place to put it, in the fireplace as it was designed for (for safety's sake
Despite the fact that I sold the initial stove for a fraction of the investment of the new stove, I don't miss that thing one bit. If my memory serves correctly, the heater was sold in less than 7 or 8 months of having purchased it new (just under $400.00) and sold for $75.00.
The initial wood-burning stove was inadequate in a number of ways,
least of which was its small size.
The need for a heater was necessary as there became a nee for me to remain in close-proximity to the batteries out here to figure out some things pertaining to the battery-bank. At the time in which my initial heater was purchased however, the cold could not outweigh a need for me to find some closure as to what caused a small accident in which was found a perfectly dime-sized hole completely through the top of one of the batteries.Note to self, this is my alternate sentence:
There was a need to determine the cause of the small hole made in one of the batteries that comprise the local power plant here, presence was necessary despite the cold.
But as for that crabpy over-priced stove which brought so many sleepless nights and other experiences not foreseen, other than the learning experiences of the complexity in simply cleaning out the stove, the futile experience of becoming burned or gassed just in keeping it lit, It is safe to say that I hadn't a clue as to what I was doing with my first-ever stove.
Truth be told, the first stove was probably only good for display.
It neither came with a proper ash dump/tray, nor was there an incorporated fan to move the heat around.
I hated the stove,
but hated more the fact that a shiny coat of paint within a big-box store had caught me like a flipping bait-fish.
Then, just in the nick of time, came a couple of young folks that brought a fireplace insert.
Initially It was presumed that I would need both of the wood-burners, however the fireplace insert which replaced the freestanding fumagator model, proved to be a God-send.
So I'm thankful for the young adults that showed up in a truck and stated that they were helping their grandfather clean out his barn (and made $75.00 as a just-reward from me).
Life instantly became loads easier thanks to the new (used) stove.
Within time, the wood-burner become indispensible for cooking, heating, distilling, drying laundry, and even smelting.
Nowadays I've come to appreciate the common fireplace insert over a free-standing heat and cook stove.
With the Fireplace Insert placed directly on the concrete floor created a long-lasting, slow to dissipate, thermal-assisted heat source. When only a few embers are remaining in the fire-box, the concrete is releasing the heat and maintaining a comfortable temperature that allows for me to have a normal sleep (without having to nurse the fire-box every hour-on-the-hour).
The masonry in which the fireplace-insert rests upon acts as a bank of heat-energy referred to as "Thermal Mass".
Concrete becomes warmed by contact with the wood-burner and does not dissipate quickly. At the time of this writing, it is 130 degrees on the concrete even though the Ohio Winter is in full-swing.
The photo below shows the side-view of the replacement stove which was purchased "used" a few years ago. Here it is sitting somewhat squarely on the concrete slab.
The Temperature is 30 degrees outside but the concrete floor is warm to the touch.
Unless cooking, or during times of needing a quick temperature increase, larger pieces of wood will save money during the winter.
Larger pieces, like whole unsplit logs, will burn all night, without your having to get up every 3 or 4 hours (to feed more splinter-sized wood into the stove).
Smaller pieces burn hotter and quicker and require more effort to fill a stove (more trips to the wood-pile).
With smaller split wood, the burn is quick to fire up, hot, but short-lived.
Typically, a firewood vendor over-splits the wood for a number of reasons, least of which is the fact that over-split wood gives the appearance of more wood since more area is required to stack, hence more profit to the vendor.
It would be impossible to stick all the mates of a split log together during stacking, which results in more air voids between wood giving the illusion of a proper exchange even when it is not.
The over-split load of firewood requires a larger volume of space to store if the vendor is actually measuring the logs to represent true cords and then processing.
However, if starting the fire from scratch, large logs would not work in that scenario, until well-after the kindling and splinter-wood has brought the stove up to temperature.
The advantages of an ash pan, that can be easily removed and dumped without requiring the firebox door to be opened, are many.
The fireplace seen below shows the ash tray beneath the firebox that is simply pulled from the unit and carried outside to dump (later finding its way to the garden).
Having a large open space such as a garage requires much less work to deliver the heat to all areas.
Whereas most modern homes are so partitioned-off into separate cubicles (rooms) which typically require a large fan to push the hot air thoughout the home.
The cost to heat is phenominally expensive as opposed to heating an un-partitioned space.
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