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Living off Grid - Our Wood Burning Masonry Stove

| 1/30/2013 10:56:04 AM

Masonry Custom StoveI’ve mentioned this appliance in other articles and shown a couple of pictures but the more use we get out of it the more I become enamored with it and it’s time we put this appliance on the “highly recommended” list of low energy desirable appliances. I’m talking about our custom built wood burning masonry kitchen stove.

At the time Laurie and I were making our move from city to country life I owned a commercial masonry construction company. In talking to a product salesman one day (a former mason himself) he told me I should check into Masonry Heaters as a heat source for our new home. I had heard of them before but didn’t really know anything about them.

I read everything I could about masonry heaters and in that discovery process I noticed that some of the custom designed ones had kitchen stoves and ovens attached to them. That is what this article is about, our wood burning kitchen stove.

We use our stove for cooking, canning, and heating our home. This stove was always intended as an alternative stove to our primary cooking source, the propane stove and oven.
Who knew at the time we built what the price of propane would be in a few years? It bounces up and down with the price of oil and I didn’t like the idea of being stuck and at the mercy of the big oil and propane companies so we decided to have a backup stove. I’ve never regretted that decision since.

Finished Masonry kitchen StoveWhen we aren’t using the stove its 42” cast iron cook top serves nicely as counter space. It sits right next to our propane stove. It has two top round plates that are designed to distribute the heat evenly in the entire round space but the whole top is obviously heated as well.

The wood burner is in the upper left corner with an ash cleanout directly underneath. You can burn any kind of wood from kindling size up to about 3” round. To the right of the burner is the 10” oven. We have cooked bread, roasted whole chicken, and even a few pies in the oven. The only trick we had to learn was to rotate the food dish occasionally in order to get it to cook evenly. Even with the masonry mass heated up from a long term fire before baking it is best in this design to rotate the oven dish.

Starting from zero in the morning you can have bacon frying in about 10 minutes and coffee boiling in twenty minutes.

I’ve got a 6” fresh air PVC pipe that runs from outside the house, under the slab and up next to the firebox. That air is then taken out through the adjoining Masonry Heater mass via an air chamber built into it and then on up and out through a standard double wall stainless steel pipe and vented through the roof just like a wood stove.

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