Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things I did this week

I finally got around to trimming the end of the floor boards and installing a piece of oak at the step up. This is my new favorite tool- it is a circular saw made by Festool with a track to ride in. It makes cuts like a good table saw, but has the convenience of a circular saw. It made quick work of cleaning up the slightly uneven floor boards. I borrowed this form a friend.

Here is the finished edge. Now the floor is ready to be sanded and oiled!

Next on the list was replacing the broken hinge pin on the stove door. It was snapped at the joint and both pieces were stuck in the stove and door. They were removed with some careful drilling and a drift punch.

When I bought the stove, some of the firebricks that line the sides of the stove were broken and missing. This meant that I could not build a really hot fire in there for fear of warping the plates. They were also supposed to be the support for an iron plate in the top that directs the gasses and smoke for an efficient burn. Replacement bricks seem to be readily available on ebay but are expensive and must be shipped from the UK. I saved quite a bit of money by buying a $20 bucket of refractory cement and casting a new set.

Here they are right after pouring. I let them set for about 24 hours before installing them and building a small fire to make sure they were fully cured. All went well and I am now ready to burn some coal if I need too. The temperature has been in the forties at night but the cabin has been about 70 with the stove going. I definitely need to build the last two sections of wall and make some windows before it gets really cold though.

And finally, I hooked up the cook stove! I cant wait to design and build the rest of the kitchen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wood and Insulation

Over the past two mornings I have been cutting, splitting and stacking wood. I don't really know how much I will need for the winter. It is definitely a small house and does not take much to heat it, but I do have lots of windows (well I don't even have those at the moment...). So far I have about a half a cord. Half of it is well seasoned Black Locust, and the other half is ash which is still green. Hopefully by the time I burn though the Locust the Ash will be a little more burnable. Ash is one of the best woods to burn green if you have to use green wood though. I will continue cutting up dead dry trees from the woods. It was really nice to be able to light a fire last night to take the edge off the cool night.

The stove takes little eleven-inch chunks of wood which are very hard to make a stable stack from. This one will probably need some support.

When I bought insulation for my roof, I bought a few extra sheets thinking I would find a place for it. Last night I went to the shop and pre cut all of the panels for the two walls that require the most insulation. Once again, I tried to make them too perfect and ended up ripping off about a half inch from every piece of foam to compensate for the varying dimensions of the rough cut framing. It was a shame to mess up the clean edges from the table saw, but it is all hidden anyway. I will fill any voids with spray foam to keep everything tight. I do not want any condensation/mold issues this winter. With an R-Value of 36, I should be toasty this winter.

I wonder if I will be able to get any cell phone reception with all that foil?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I have been searching for a suitable chimney for over a year now. If you have never looked into the price of good double wall insulated chimney, you are in for a shock. It runs about $125 a foot! I had 8 feet of it but was missing one T- section. Of course the company has updated their line, which as far as I can tell means they changed the coupling between sections just enough that the new and old systems are not compatible. I couldn't buy a new T, and could not find a used one anywhere. Last week I finally found a good deal on a used setup that had almost everything I needed. I was hoping that I could make a couple of pieces of my old one work with the new system but unfortunately no matter how many times I tried, it just wouldn't work. In the end I had to buy a one foot section of new pipe to make it through the wall.

After much time spent figuring out the best place for the chimney to exit while maintaining the proper clearances, I set up my router with a jig to cut a clean circular hole through the siding. Once the siding was cut I finished off the sheathing with a jig saw since it will not show.

Next the thimble was installed and the first section of pipe went through the wall, followed by the T. I fabricated a brace to stabilize the next length of chimney and then installed that with the cap.

Hooking things up inside involved nothing more than plugging the sections of pipe together. After worrying about this for so long, it was nice that it all went so smoothly.

It was a warm day today but I had to light a little fire to see how it all worked anyway. I don't have any heat shields installed yet so I just built a little fire to test it out. It had a great draft and I was able to make the fire respond instantly by adjusting the air inlet. Seems good! I still have a lot of details to finish before I can call in done, but it is a major step in the right direction! It is nice to feel somewhat prepared for the cold weather this year. Now I need windows, two sections of wall and some insulation.