Off Grid Home Forums Technical Discussion Woodburning stoves

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    Re Build your own woodburner.

    Like this idea very much, would like more details from someone who has built one, more pictures, drawings etc. I am looking for a small efficient wood burner capable of heating water as well as for cooking on, any recommendations. I come across so much scrap wood for nothing on my travels, though it is mostly softwood, which tends to burn too quickly. How could this design be adapted to suit my requirements, Suggestions please.


    Does anyone know of a compact woodburning stove that burns clean, and can also be used for hot water and central heating. Ideally it would also be well insulated for summer use. Many thanks


    Have you considered wood gassification? there are a couple of clips on youtube about it plus there is an old FEMA document online about making gass from wood to drive tractors. You can download from here


    Donnachadh McCarthy recommends the Clearview range of stoves. he has never stated how much he paid for his own stove, so it is impossble to work out the payback period, and if anyone else has an opinion on them, please post. Writing in the Independent in June Donnachadh said:

    The two biggest contributors to slashing my home’s carbon emissions have been changes to my lifestyle and the installation of a wood-burner.

    I eliminated my remaining electricity emissions by installing solar electric panels. It was then that I realised that most of the emissions came from my gas heaters – between 50 and 60 per cent of our homes’ emissions come from space heating.

    I discovered that there were, after all, high-temperature wood-burners licensed for use in the inner city. I got a Clearview stove installed in October, and it has reduced my annual gas bill to £26. It also added a warm heart to my 1840s market gardener’s cottage in Camberwell, south London.

    Many people do not realise that burning waste wood is carbon-neutral, as the CO2 you are releasing is CO2 stored from the atmosphere and not from fossil fuels. It’s the release of millions of years’ worth of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests that are causing the climate crisis now upon us.


    I was able to pick up a used wood burning stove for $100 at a garage sale; the venting for it came to around $250 because we are in a windy area and needed a flu top that would be safe. I’ve seen wood burning stoves in our hardware store ranging from about $200 for the smallest to over $500 for larger models, but that’s all I know about them.

    Installing the venting is VERY EASY: Measure the distance from the top of your stove to exit point (wall or ceiling) and add an additional foot plus the height of your roof eve. Add footage and elbows for horizontal piping (if you plan to go through a side wall instead of straight up). We went this route to avoid making a hole in the roof. Seal the cracks w/ an appropriate compound (we used “Great Stuff” since the wall vent was insulated). If you go through the roof, make sure you use appropriate flashing and roofing sealer. You will also need an appropriate size flashing to make the inside and outside holes pretty and help keep the piping in place. Make sure the vent is for wood stoves (as apposed to gas or furnace exhaust) and the piece that goes through your wall or ceiling is designed for that (I think it’s called “double-wall” but check w/ whomever you purchase it from). We learned the hard way that you can’t use a gas vent top for a wood burning stove, so don’t try it if for some stupid reason the store you’re buying the venting from doesn’t have the right vent top. Make sure to pick up a collar (ring that joins vent to stove) for the stove to the vent and a few straps to attach the vent to the walls on the inside and outside.

    Some other tips: Wood stove outlets and hardware store have venting sealers for leaks in the venting. These leaks are generally avoidable if your venting is installed flush. Minor leaks will tend to seal themselves with use if you can stand it.

    It sounds like a lot, but my husband and I got our installed by ourselves in about half a day, once we got all the right parts. If you are purchasing yours new, I would recommend having the store deliver and set it if possible. THEY ARE VERY HEAVY. Otherwise, we pulled our stove on a piece of plywood into our cabin. You may want to use plyers or some other type of gripping tool to help (he does flooring, so we had carpet pullers to grip the plywood with and pull the little beast up two steps and into our cabin). I’m pretty small, and he’s larger than average, but it can be done.

    Our stove heats our small cabin, and we also use it to cook and heat water for evening showers. It is about 2 1/2 feet tall and 2 feet wide with two flat surfaces on top, by HomeWorks, I think (I’ll double check that when I get home). Our cabin is approx. 400 square/feet and as of yet, uninsulated (I know, my bad!). It takes about 20 minutes to heat up the entire area, and it keeps us warm for several hours after we go to sleep (it gets in the 20’s here).

    We absolutely love our wood burning stove and highly recommend one for off-grid living…especially when there’s dead wood laying around just waiting to be cleared. Best of luck to you!

    Good to know about the neutral CO2 emissions! Thank you! :)


    Instead of having to use a stove in the summer why not tie in the system with a solar collector to heat the water ?

    We’re naughty and use an open fire, but the system works fine – there are some details of our system in here:


    Thanks for all the replies.

    It seems that the perfect wood burner is a complex beast for something that is basically a safe place to keep fire. If one lists all the things a wood burner might do, does such a creature exist?


    Room heating


    Fuel production

    Charcoal production

    Hot water

    and probably much more


    Oh, and what about those pellet stoves? Not sure if you’re looking to clear out fallen wood on your own property or just be more echo-conscious. We’re also using a solar water heater for summer use…works great! :)


    hi dave a stove can do all the things you list apart from make charcoal to any degree.if you want to know about charcoal production contact me.ive been making it for a number of years and am happy to pass on knowledge to anyone interested.can be made relatively easy on a small scale .


    Hi Skippy,

    thanks for your offer. How do I contact you, without publishing emails on the web?


    Skippy,Daveboat and others.

    As I have already published my email on this site recruiting people for an East London Off-Grid Practical group and not exactly been swamped Please use my email as a contact arena,

    Email me at peasant(dot)urban(at sign)googlemail(dot)com

    Let me know who you would like to contact, if I receive an email from both people I will put them in contact with each other.

    Hope this helps until a better solution is found.


    In reply to No. 7 (Daveboat), I am not aware of any wood burning stove that will perform all of your requirements. Howeve, you can do a hell of a lot on a basic wood burning stove if you use a bit of ingenuity. If you want to bake in your stove, there are models available (can’t remember the makes and models off the top of my head)

    We use our old wood burner for keeping warm, hot water (via a back boiler), boiling a kettle, cooking baked potatoes (directly on top under a cake baking tin), cooking lots of soup. It’s our only source of heat (no central heating here), and our primary source of hot water.

    Using a wood burning stove for fuel/ charcoal production seem pointless from my point of view. Charcoal is basically degassified wood, so you’d have to burn something to produce charcoal.

    Have you considered a solar water heater for summer use, instead of burning wood? That is the next plan for us this year. It will reduce the amount of wood I burn – and the time sourcing and processing it.


    This discussion is great – I had something similar in mind in the way of wood burning, so keep the posts coming if anyone finds something. I was also thinking it would be good to get a burner that would accept used veg oil too – rather than pouring it away, and not having a converted diesel to use it, wouldn’t it make sense it burn it too? Veg oil has a pretty high calorific value, you’d have a pretty good energy output cheaply if you had a few local restaurant suppliers. Its basically recycled biodiesel – well kind of. Any thoughts on this anyone?

    The only thing I would mention about wood burners is – dont buy a pellet one. they’re generally designed for pellets only within fairly stringent limits. Get something that is compact and runs on woodchip. I’m trying to work out how best we can recycle the heat from the flue gases by using a heat exchanger on a modified flue. But that’ll be a complex beast – appropriate for a house (like the zenex gas saver you can get), but im not sure it’ll scale down for a van conversion which is what im working on… anyone tried this?


    ‘burning waste wood is carbon neutral’, on what planet! Burning produces CO & CO2, doesn’t matter what the source! Wood is basically rreeaallllly young coal! Both have the same source material; coal has preprocessing by heat, pressure & time!


    Stove plays very important role in traveling and passing through hilly areas.If you are interested to go out side and want to have camping then you can easily start camping by using stoves for cooking.

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