Wood Heat!

Finally, our wood stove project is finished! But wait--It's still not?

Our project began way back in mid/late August when we found a nice deal on a wood stove on Craigslist. It also came with a huge pile of split & seasoned firewood. For one reason or another we decided to work first on a shelter for the firewood. I guess that makes sense beings the stove is indoors. Looking back on it, I think I consider the wood shelter to be a completely separate project (although related). I guess in the scheme of things, 2+ months isn't all that bad for a 2-part project like this.

Sue did a killer job on the hearth construction. She designed and built it all herself. She carefully ripped up a corner of the living room carpet and peeled it back, then cut and installed the concrete backer board that the tile was going to be set on. She selected the tile (I got to nod yes at the selection), cut the tile (with help from the tile cutter that she rented), glued the tile, and grouted the tile. When she trimmed the carpet and put it back down up against the new hearth, the result was a hearth pad that was better than anything I could have ever built. During its construction, every day I came home another stage of it was complete.

I came home from work one day heard her making noise as soon as I got out of my car. I went inside and found her up in the attic above a freshly-cut hole in the ceiling! She was putting the finishing touches on new wood framing that surrounded it. I tell you--I never stop being impressed by her... She doesn't ponder things too much like I do. She ACTS. Anyway, at that point we were able to put on the black metal thing that provides the transition from stove piping to ceiling. At that point we were seeing results. We were happy with the way things were looking.

We had some problem during the stove pipe installation though. Through a communication lapse or misunderstanding or whatever, I ended up doing too much of the interior stove pipe install. I stepped on her toes (not literally) and crossed over into her part of the project without knowing I was doing so. Boy was I sorry. I still am. It caused quite a rift between us.

My part of the project was the least desirable. It was the part of the project that is the reason not many people do their own wood stove installations I think. The roof. That's the part that involves sawing a hole in a perfectly good roof (hopefully in the right place), bracing the stovepipe, carefully peeling shingles off, tar (it's called roof cement now, but it's still the same nasty, black crap), flashing, and all sorts of nasty stuff. It also involves one thing that is very hard to work with around here:

The weather.

I got the hole cut through okay on Monday and was intending to keep going on it Tuesday, but was thwarted by rain as I arrived home from work. Wednesday was nice, and I couldn't afford to dilly-dally. The weather was predicted to take a nasty turn for the worse, and here we were with a hole in our roof and a blue poor-white-trash tarp and cinder blocks over the hole. I started in on it as soon as I got home from work, and finished it 3 or 4 hours later in the dark (with the help of auxiliary lighting). Although I was fairly confident that I had it done okay, it still needed to pass a rain test.

It passed. It wasn't a real heavy rain, but it was a rain nevertheless, and Sue reported no leaks of any kind in the area. That left only one last test: The actual testing of the stove itself!

When I got home from work yesterday we held our breath and built a fire in it. There was no smoke leakage in any of the piping, and just a little hot paint smell from it. When the stove really got going, we admired the workings of it. It has a real nice burn! It's much, much better than the wood stove that was in the rental I just moved out of, and I thought that one was pretty decent.

So back to the first sentence. The project is done but it's not? We determined last night that there is a little more heat than we're comfortable with along either side of the stove and the wall is kinda hot. To fix that we're going to add some tile to the walls as well and make it into a surround hearth. That's easy stuff though--My wife is a tile expert!