The stove is fabulous, probably the most useful thing I have purchased for the camper thus far! It really works well, with no, absolutely no smoke at anytime inside!
You know, this reminds me of a guy and his wife that I met at the beach. I hadn’t had my stove for long. In fact I had only installed it perhaps a week before ever heading to the coast. A couple stopped to talk with me about the camper, the cool door, and the overall seemingly romantic style. I told them that I was keeping warm with my new stove….with a slightly puffed chest because I am so proud of it. He says to me,”……so you knowwww……..wood stoves put out toxic fumes, the smoke will make you sick.”
Alarmed, I said,” Well how much smoke will it take to make me sick?”
“You’ll need to vent it somehow.”
“You mean a vent other than the stove pipe?” I said with a finger pointing up.
He careens his head around the outside corner of the camper, “Oh good, you have a stove pipe.”
I think there was an awkward silence for a while, not that he realized what a weird thing he had said. What in the world was he thinking? What would ever make a person believe that I have a wood stove just blazing away, inside, with no stove pipe? My goodness…I can think of no reason anyone would assume this idea.
I guess I could tell a few stories about peoples conception of life in a camper.
After 2 months of burning I decided to take the whole assembly apart and make sure that all was safe. I installed a hood above the stove to prevent the ceiling from drying out, it consists of a sheet of copper with a slab of rock wool between it and the ceiling.
I also made a hearth for it so it would sit a little higher up and could be cleaned easier. Because it’s so small it needs to be cleaned out every day in order to be efficient. Also, it reduces the amount of soot build up in the pipe. It seems to me that when a fire is burning quit well in there the draw is very good and seems to pull ash from the stove right up the pipe. Not at an alarming rate yet I suspect that it does happen. I try to burn as little paper as possible which also reduces the amount of ash pile up.
After these changes I felt more confident about loading the stove with wood. It is pretty much a chore to cut fire wood. It has to be very small. When the woodshop is accessible and I am in town I have lots of small chunks to load up on. Otherwise I am using my dovetail saw to cut sticks that the dogs bring home, random yard and park debris, pine cones, and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. You would be amazed at how much wood I will burn in a few days. My friends joke that keeping my fire going is my new full time job.
Which is one of the draw backs to this small stove. It needs to be stoked about every 30 minutes, a little longer when burning very hard wood. It is not something that I leave burning when I am not there…obviously, but that also means that when I am not there that there is no fire going. Gone for a couple hours and the place has cooled off. There is a strategy involved when planning my day in the dead of winter. But it is so worth it.
There is nothing better than living my mobile life, parked in some beautiful spot, toasty warm from a good smelling fire!