Thursday, September 23, 2010

Furnace cement and fire brick

The old kitchen woodstove is wearing out. I do have my eye on a nice replacement, but until that happens, the old one will have to do.

Old cast iron woodstoves were pretty good in their day, but they had some serious limitations. One major problem is that most have small fireboxes. Some were better than others. Mine had a cast iron firebox extender bolted on the back. It looks like a piece of factory equipment -an option the first owners had installed. Some have been custom built. Wood has to be chopped pretty small for some stoves. That's time and labor.

Most newer stoves are air tight and have bigger fireboxes. That makes a big difference on wood usage and burning time. It's a rare morning when my old kitchen stove has enough warm coals to start new logs. Usually, it's a matter of starting the fire with kindling. In contrast, my air tight stove in the basement holds a good fire 12 - 16 hours.

When I first bought the old stove 20 some odd years ago, it'd just been rebuilt. Twenty years of New Hampshire winters take a toll. The fire grates were repaired by a welder friend of mine. Over time, the cast iron liners failed. Cast iron has been replaced with firebrick and furnace cement. I'm real careful to do a good job. As a retired firefighter, it'd be an embarrassment to burn my own house down.

Today I did another firebrick repair. Used a bit of broken brick that was salvaged out of another stove. Finished up the last of my furnace cement too. The woodstove is going to the top of the equipment replacement list. It's the heart of a home. It keeps the place warm, the kettle hot, and cooks the food. It'll be worth getting a good new one.

However, until more funds come in, here's hoping the patch jobs hold.


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