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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.
That stove set me back over $300.00 and almost killed me (as far as I'm concerned...my lungs are still catching up to this very day).
The over-priced 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 remove the ash (without a major day-breaker of effort), and there's more (all bad).
Then, just in the nick of time, came a couple of Springfield's youth, on the back of their pickup was an old fireplace insert.
In retrospect, I'm thoroughly thankful for the young adults that were helping their grandfather clean out his barn (and made $75.00 as a just-reward).
Life instantly became loads easier thanks to the new (old) stove.
Within time, the New (old) wood-burner become indispensible for cooking, heating, distilling, drying laundry, and even smelting.
Having a large open space without walls, such as a garage, requires 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 throughout the home.
The magic of this form of non-conventional repurposing of a fireplace insert to a stand-alone wood-burner has been the discovery that thermal-mass heating is amazing!
Placed directly on the floor, the firewood insert transfers its heat to the concrete slab (and earth below it), thereby creating a long-lasting, slow to dissipate, thermal-assisted heat source.
The Temperature is 30 degrees outside but the concrete floor is warm to the touch.
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).
Separate Ash Pan keeps down the dust
The advantages of an ash pan, that can be easily removed and dumped without requiring the firebox door to be opened, are many.
The wood stove seen below shows the ash-tray located beneath the firebox which can simply be pulled from the unit and carried outside to dump (later finding its way to the garden).
A larger stove is better in the night-time
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, kindling and smaller split-wood is necessary.
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