Saturday, April 11, 2009

Singlewall Wood Stove (2) - Test Run

I took about 30min this afternoon to give it a test run. It worked pretty well. I've found my biggest problem with these sorts of stoves is my impatience. I don't see the instant results I expect (the flame almost disappears for a while) so I mess around with it, causing a lot of smoke. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

1. Fill it with layers of pinky sized dry sticks (the key to getting good, dry wood is to snap dead branches from live or dead trees, not pick it off the ground where it undoubtedly soaks up ground water). If the branch makes a snapping sound and does not bend when you break it off it should be very dry. 2. Next, add some tinder. Here I used one cotton ball, nothing special added. Don't forget to add the pot stand brackets before you go to the next step. The cotton ball lights up very well with my Scout firesteel (a birthday gift from Slublog). In the field I use petroleum jelly smothered cotton balls. You only need a little bit to get dry sticks going.
3. Place a few thin sticks acrost the stove and build a small wood pile on top. Light the tinder and wait.
4. The top wood pile will burn for a while, then drop into the stove - igniting the top layer of wood you packed in. This stove burns from the top down and works well if you just fill it once and let it be. It is designed to allow you to add sticks if you'd like and want to use it that way. Once the fire is going well, and dropped into the can low enough you can pop on the pot stand.
5. Smoke. No, this is not necessarily one of the steps... but it tends to happen when I get impatient and mess around with the stove. I didn't see a flame so I removed the windscreen to give it more air. Until the fire is going properly, this is what you'll get when you mess around. It works best if you just leave it be.
6. Wait. Then wait some more. Eventually you'll see a nice flame coming out the top.
7. Boil. Once the stove kicks into gear and the flame is under your pot it won't take long to boil water. The wood was about 1/2 used up when I got two cups to a boil. Sorry, I didn't time it. It continued to boil for a good long while, and the coals at the bottom would keep the water warm for quite some time if left on the stove.
8. Here's a look after the burn is over. You can see the coals sitting at the bottom. Just let the stove sit while you prepare and eat your meal. By the time you're done, it will have cooled off and just be a pile of ash at the bottom. This first test gave a complete burn, nothing but ashes left. Dig a hole and bury the COLD ashes.

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