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How to Use a Wood Stove Safely

Learn how to use a wood stove safely, including tips to install a damper, firewood and making your own adapter.

| January/February 1978

  • Learn how to use a wood stove safely with these helpful tips.
    Learn how to use a wood stove safely with these helpful tips.
    Photo By Fotolia/Betsy Baranski

  • Learn how to use a wood stove safely with these helpful tips.

Tips on how to use a wood stove safely, including firewood, dampers and adapters.

Using Wood Stove Accessories

A Guide to Wood Stove Accessories

How to Use a Woodstove Safely

In 1976, veteran arctic outdoorsman Ole Wik wrote How to Build an Oil Barrel Stove and that worthy book — which found an enthusiastic readership — now appears as just one chapter of Ole's latest effort: Wood Stoves: How to Make and Use Them. Ole has lived in the Alaskan bush, "where self-sufficiency is still a way of life", for 12 years, "alays with homemade wood stoves", and he writes with great authority on the subjects of building one's own wood stove or making an existing one perform exactly as you want it to.

In the November/December 1977 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS we printed — at some length   Ole's advice on the general use (with an emphasis on safety) of wood stoves. The following excerpts from Ole's new book — which may be the only one ever published on the design and construction of wood burning stoves — will give you a further example of the thorough news and precision with which Ole Wik puts his ideas across. Read on and learn . . . and remember: There's much more wood stove wisdom where this came from!

About Stovepipes

The most obvious function of the stovepipe is to carry smoke, water vapor, and fine ash from the firebox to the atmosphere. But another function, equally important, is to create the draft — or suction — needed to keep air flowing through the firebox.

Many times I've set up our little laundry stove outdoors in the summertime, when it is too hot to have a fire in the cabin. It might seem that a stovepipe would be unnecessary out there in the open air, but without a pipe, the smoke can't tell the difference between the stoke hole and the stovepipe port, and the fire burns sluggishly. As soon as a couple of sections of stovepipe are attached, however, the smoke moves up the pipe and fresh air moves into the firebox to take its place. The oxygen perks up the fire, the stovepipe heats up and draws still better, and the combustion cycle goes on and on.

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