The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Wood Stove Success

Time for the big test --- can I keep a fire going overnight?

In pre-modern days (according to all the fiction I read, anyhow), if you were in charge of the fire and let it go out, you were in big trouble.  Chances are you'd have to walk miles to your nearest neighbor to borrow a coal from them.  Luckily, we now have matches, scrap paper, and fire starter logs, but I've never quite developed the knack of getting a good fire going.

Mark usually wakes up once in the night to throw more logs on the fire and I've started to consider our woodstove a lot like a linux-box --- it never needs to be rebooted.  I didn't plan to, but I ended up following suit, loading up a mass of box-elder as the first hint of light entered the sky.  When I opened the stove up again a few hours later --- success!

(To be honest, though, I have to admit that it never got below freezing last night and my fire gave off nearly too much heat!)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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My technique is to put on a large log just before going to bed, leave it on just long enough to char, and immediatly damp the stove down completly. The log will smoulder all night, and there should still be hot coals under it in the morning. Or even the next evening. And it's easy to start a fire from even a few hot coals. Just turn the log over and add some kindling on them, and blow for several minutes.

(Damping it down like that can produce a lot of creosite though.)

Comment by joey [] Sat Jan 24 12:29:21 2009

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