Is Woodheating Perfect. . .?

Is woodheating ideal? No.
So why, why do I sweat-work so hard to do it, eh?
Many Why’s to this.

This picture is current as of this morning. Three days needing heating and ventilation and almost used up one wheel barrow (7.5 cubic feet) of mixed Douglas Fir and Red alder woods.
Three days of cold’ish raining now.
50F/10C outside, 24/7.

And I’ve only thermostat bumped up and used the central central electric furnace once to 4:30 AM heat the perimeter bedrooms.
A non-perfect; non-ideal of single point wood heating is distribution. And cold outer walls. The comparable non-perfect, non-ideal of forced air central heating is NO HOT, HOT single-point to cozy up to coming inside, wetted and cold!!

And the wood-sweating, working will add a decade onto your life.

Costs are certainly a factor:

Ha! Ha! And my 13 year old wood stove is not a nice female. Mines a Hog. A wood-hog.
I’ve learned I can feed it any woods. At any moistures from 5-7% Ideal to 40% far-from-ideal. Feed it corrugated cardboard box material. Feed it all paper based packaging.
Feed it actually sawdust in double craft-paper rolled up made sack-logs.
Feed it pine and fir cones and tree barks.
Feed it old broken up wooden furniture, and OSB, and MDF sticks and chunks.

I wood stove heat for the FREEDOM.
Steve Unruh


I’m creating a lot of sawdust using the chop saw for wood processing, been contemplating a sawdust stove but the paper bag trick could be good for heating my fur shed when I get it built…thought provoking Steve, I like it


Here’s the real woodheating FREEDOM:

A full 200+ days of wood-gold. Dried and stored.
The stove, the furnace, is just a performing device.
Only the DIY fuel is what gives you the freedom to say Stuff-It to the wanna-be Energy Masters of your life.

Yeah, Norman. When asked, “Paper or plastic?” at grocery stores . . .
child still in diapers; take the plastic!
No more diapers . . . always go for the paper sacks. Double them. half fill. Tight roll down the tops. Place on a nice hot bed of burnt down to charcoal. Let layers burn from the outside in forming it’s own binding surface. DO NOT POKE, or stir. When made it own glowing char bed. Reload, repeat.


A friend of mine collects the paper here and gets some money for recycling. If he doesnt collect anymore I will burn it too. Tried that a few times in the Atmos (tax papers that is of not for another ones eyes), doesnt go right everytime.

Conifer, cut it in less then two hours. Me cutting with the powerpack, nice and quite. The middle one playing with the agria tractor to get the wood to the saw. There wasnt more time available, but things are coming together now. Efficiency instead of running like a fool (the last fits me better)


This reminds me I need to get my chimneys swept. We haven’t used the fireplaces in years. I don’t like the damper for it, you basically have to be inside the fireplace to set it.

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Paper sack diapers? :grin:


The first time we did that was after 8 years and around 10m3 wood at least every year. Good for insurance and nothing else if you burn the right way. The guy had more problems opening the chimney and after that he said: it is completely clean! Close it then, I said, dont sweep it and I dont have to pay you. :grinning:


Yes JoepK, I have yet to discover a good way to burn-for-heat-recovery communications paper stacks.
My home-visiting Nurse wife must keep deceased clients paper works records for 5 years. Her training school records paperwork’s; business for 7 years. Students records for life.
She gives me one to three cubic feet or more of these to burn-erase every year.
I have tried many ways. They ash and clog killing the gasses exchanging. Lose heat and smolder, smoke.
I get it done in the late Spring; burning and stirring with little heat recovery expectation.
A percentage were multi-layered chemically treated carbon-less copy papers.
If I can catch a community “free” papers shredding event I turn them in. But ONLY if they shred on the spot. Not load and haul; away for later.
I prefer to let them handle the chemically contaminated remains.
Books burn poorly too.
Magazines are nearly impossible.
Steve Unruh


Steve, the magazines with soy ink can be crumpled, page by page, into paper balls and stuffed into a feed sack. They work well for starting fires out in the yard to get rid of very small branches and dead tree top twigs. Quench the little fires with rainwater as soon as the flames die down, and then rake up the char for the compost pile. I usually do this during the evening propaganda session (used to be called NEWS).


Not sure if you can make heads or tails of this picture but here’s my damper. It has different settings but I’m not sure if it’s meant to be closed for non use and wide open for use or actually tuned in?

It’s a pretty small opening so I would think leaving it open is plenty fine when using. The handle has a hole so that leads me to believe you’re SUPPOSED to adjust with your poker or a separate tool when the fire is going.

The stove in the basement is just a franklin stove set in brick wall. This one is a little bit more fancy. Even has fans to circulate some of the heat into the living room.

If I didn’t have an immense fear of heights and a distrust of ladders I’d just go buy a chimney brush and do it myself. Might buy the brush and pay one of my friends to do it.


we have 2 stoves for heat. One is an “amish-made” cookstove called a Pioneer Princesss. It heats the water in the water heater via a heating loop.
In the winter we cook on that.

The other is an old “cookstove” called an Earth>>>>.something.>>>. Maybe “Earth Stove”. Very 70’s kind of thing. No damper, no problems, no soot, no creosote…Just an 8" stove pipe and a door that allows us to stuff in pieces of trees 13 inches across and 21 inches long without splitting them. Talk about a beast. I love that stove. It eats everything.


Burn all kinds of trash in the out door stove that Andy designed. Paper too.


I promised myself not to get dragged into the woodstoves comparing.

I’ve really learned the chimney system is #1, much more important.
And #2 the actual operator driving the wood heating device.
Ha! Oh yeah. Having perfect air-in control!! So that is co-equal #1. Takes both.

Cody no fireplace can give good air in control. Glass fronts conversions have too much leakage. And most fireplaces have too large a volume of chimneys. And cold non-insulated chimneys to boot.
So you will never have better than 40% of the wood energy getting into the space you are heating.
Enjoy it anyways.
Oh. Dampener OPEN all of the way when firing. Control your fife with your size splitting and always three pieces laying. You gaps gasses velocity and radiant heat support for clean combustion.
The only way to upgrade open front fireplaces is with an air tight insert. Had five in my life. Still got two to drive. And I hate the needed forced air blowers to get the sides and back side heat out into the rooms.
I can always do much better with a stand out all sides, stand alone exposed stove.

Yeah. Yeah. All of the stoves I’ve used since the year 1997 were mandated certified patented secondary air clean burn types. I refused to use the catalytic converter ones.
Mandatory for us here… Only way to get Homeowners insurance.
And all of these wowser features only really work with perfectly dry pine and fir specification testing woods. True hard woods changes the operating completely.
These advanced combustion features do take up inside box space. Heat deteriorate. Need repairing.

Yep Billy a big iron box 1970’s welding shop stove can be made to be very efficient and operate smoke free and creosote free.
Proved it twice on father-in-laws system. And a brother-in-laws system. After they passed and I could operate them my way. Fine split. Burnt hot. Burnt down to glowing charcoal burning in two hour cycles. Then no more mid-winter chimney cleaning needed for soots/tars choked flows.
Possible only if the operator will work to it so.
Ha. And a heck of a lot easier than vehicle woodgasing across the States on unknown woods donations.
Steve Unruh


We luckily have brick going up all the way to the rain cap/cage on our chimneys.

And yeah the livingroom one has the ooh aah glass door and chainmaille spark curtain.

I really prefer the basement one, normal fiberglass rope sealed door. Just wish they left the top sticking out for cooking on. I’ve been thinking of getting a little potbelly stove to just sit on the hearth if we ever really needed the heat.


If you tell someone you burn this wood in your stove, the answer is always: do you want a fire in your chimney. Strange people in Holland. :grinning::grinning:.
I will keep this in mind and show my father that pine and fir is first choice certification.

And yes, if your equipment is perfect and you enjoy the labour, then woodheating is perfect.


Good to hear from you RayM.
Some of were getting worried . . . . and afraid to ask.

You are right. I was going through the wifes stacks of magazines collected, and set aside.
All moderns are soy-inks.
Then she caught me and declared “her” magazines off limits to feeding into the fuel hog.
(Shhh. Rolled and wire bound, actually does work then layed onto a hot wood char bed. Need reusable pipe cut-off rings as binders.)
Steve unruh


Since l have a endless supply of free firewood wood heating is preety much perfect for me :grin:

When l designed my stove l placed it at the wery center of the house. Every room, including bathroom, has one part of its wall actualy being the stove. So the walls heat my house :smile: a few tons of brick acumulate the heat for a long time and the masive chimney runs trugh the bedroom and radiates heat all night.


Hope you guys get the idea… I wanted to make things as simple as possible. No pumps, thermostats, radiators… Just a few smoke haches to controll what heat is wanted where, oven, hot plate, bypass chimney, intake air…

Initialy l thod l wuld need a thermostat operated hach for hot water boiler as its a natural draft smoke-trugh boiler, but it has shown that its not nessesery at all. It seems to pull just enaugh heat on its self for our needs and it never overheated in almost a year of use, even thugh the stove burns 24/7


Great engineering and design work you have done, this is the KISS at it’s best. I like it very much. Are you going to draw up detailed plans on this design?


Bob, lm afraid my paper drawing skills dont mach the drawing skills of my head. I can try if there is strict interest, otherwise l preffer to make a video :grin: