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Author Topic: 55 Gallon drum wood stove  (Read 21099 times)

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Offline Norwiscutter

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55 Gallon drum wood stove
« on: November 14, 2006, 03:37:11 PM »
Has anyone used one of these and if so how did/does it work out.  I have a coalmaster wood stove in the garage and was wondering if maybe the barrel type stove would generate more heat.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2006, 03:52:25 PM »
Well, the heat that comes out is in the wood that goes in......and if the radiant surface of the stove lets it go into the room and not up the chimney.... ::) they will (may) heat better.

Usually the thin metal on the 55 gal drums allows the heat to radiate, especially when the metal is red hot which can easily happen. Been around a lot of drum stoves that give off a lot of heat.  From my experience, the drums don't last long but then again, they are usually cheap and easily replaced. I think they can make great heaters. But for long-term fires, like overnight burns, etc., I think heavier metal stoves are safer.
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Offline Bill

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2006, 04:37:22 PM »
I agree with beenthere -

The way I see it the more heat that goes out the chimney the less there is inside. So the key for just about any stove is to keep the heat where you want it. Some of the newest stoves you can hold your hand on the exhaust they get it so cool - course they're mostly running gas.

so the 55 g drums seem to work but people also tell me they don't last long but are real cheap.

Good Luck . . .

Offline rebocardo

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2006, 05:55:49 PM »
The thing is how safe will it be in a garage and how much room will it take up?

With a barrel and no heat shields I imagine a safe distance from anything you can set on fire is probably 40+ inches all around.

Offline bull

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2006, 06:13:25 PM »
a barrel stove is a good cheap starter stove. If you only need short term heat and are not worried about staying warm for long times.. the barrels burnout in two seasons of heavy burning.
You will go thru a ton of wood. I burned two to three times the amount of wood i burn know when i was burning w/ a barrel stove in my shop...  im not complaining about the barrel stove it was a cheap starter stove and gave me heat when i needed it
 I now have a Delude " heavey steel fire box " great stove !!!

Offline scsmith42

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2006, 06:38:58 PM »
I've had a barrel stove in the machine shed for 3 years now.  It's the "double barrel" kit made by Vogelzang that northern tool Note:Please read the Forestry Forum's postion on this company sells.

It works well.  The second barrel adds about 20% or so to the overall heat output, and helps to reduce the heat going up the stovepipe.  I welded some racks on the side of the upper barrel for drying towells and such from the barn sink.

When I put mine together, we put a layer of brick in the very bottom of the bottom barrel, covered the bricks with sand, and then put an old fireplace grate on top of the sand.  Thus far I've not had any problems with burn-out, and the grate keeps the coals and wood away from the sides of the barrel.

I think that you can't beat them for the money (the stove kits were a Christmas present, but probably cost less than $50.00).  Your estimate about the "40" rule is a good one - it gets pretty toasty right next to the stove when it's in use.  I usually place a 20" box fan about 5' away, turned on low, with the air stream blowing over the bottom barrel.  That helps to distrubute heat around the shop.

A small steel or cast-iron stove may put out more heat - primarily because you can safely build a hotter fire due to the small size and thicker metal.  But they cost a bunch more too.

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Offline Coon

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2006, 11:11:13 PM »
Bull I wouldn't say that a barrel necessarily burns out in two years.  The one I've got in the garage is about 15 years old.  Alot of it depends on what woods you are burning and how hard you are pumpin the wood through it.  The main key with these barrel heaters is to have a damper at the right height.  You need to have the damper about halfway between the roof and the stove to work best.

I have built a couple of these twin barrel stoves (for other people) as scsmith42 has stated.  I went even further than just adding the second barrel though.  What I did was :   In the top barrel I put in a piece of used culvert (steel of course) that extended about 18 inches out past the back of the barrel.  In what is the bottom of the culvert I put in a piece of sheet metal of which I mounted a fan on as well as a plug in box on the end of an extension cord.  Next I used the torch to braze on a heat sensor to the top of the top barrel. Having the extension cord plugged into the wall, the fan will turn on once the heat is high enough and will cut out when the temps get too low. The culvert helps to get the smoke circulating around a bit before it enters the chimney.  The more smoke you got coming out of the chimney the more heat you are losing. 

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Offline Tom

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2006, 11:26:31 PM »
That's what they used to tell us about our SONAR gear too.  "Don't let the smoke out of that equipment", the Chief would say.

Offline Don P

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2006, 12:05:27 AM »
And its not one of those smells you can kinda look around like you don't smell it  :D

I've had the same stove kit for about 25 years, I think its on barrel 5. Its an old Sotz. The barrels will last pretty good if you don't overfire and keep a layer of insulation in the bottom, ashes seem to work too. I've been hauling it around to jobs the last few winters. I had a double barrel in a garage for several years, it worked well. The damper is critical. I do tend to run a stove hot, the tin stoves don't tolerate it well, but they sure make fast heat.

Offline Raphael

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2006, 12:24:27 AM »
Our double barrel stove had a 3/8" steel pan floor and a bypass flue to get the draft going as the upper barrel has three 3/8" steel baffles.
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Offline Quartlow

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2006, 03:49:58 PM »
My brother has been heating the house with one for better than 15 years or so, The one he has the draft is on the door near the top. on the inside theres a chute going to the bottom of the door. Helps to pre heat the incoming air.

Barrels last him about 4 to 5 years. Only thing he doeas is leave a layer of ashes on the bottom to keep it from burning through
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Offline bugmeist

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2006, 09:24:30 PM »
I had a barrel stove in my basement for around 20 years...same barrel.  At the time barrels were light guage or heavy guage steel. Kerosene came in heavy guage barrels and since I had no electricity I used a lot of Kerosene.  Once I could actually afford (to save $) buying a drum of Kerosene I did and used the barrel for a stove. 

After I cut the door and flue openings, attached the legs, I poured about 1 1/2" of clean DRY sand to level off the bottom, then put a layer of Fire Brick (not ordinary building brick) on the bottom and halfway up each side.  When I finally retired the barrel 3 years ago it was still solid.  I'd still be using it today but the flue tiles in my chimney started to disintgrate. We now heat another building with home office, warehouse, and workshop off an outdoor furnace.

When I was a kid in N. Wisconsin our neighbor had a double barrel stove in his workshop.  When he 'built' it he cut the front off the top barrel so he could run a heavy steel flue pipe through it and he made a very heavy steel frame to support the upper barrell which he filled with fist sized stones.  In the morning the upper barrel was still to hot to touch.

I love barrell stoves but barrels were designed for other purposes so if you do build one make safety and clearances your top priority.
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Offline farmerscotty

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Re: 55 Gallon drum wood stove
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2006, 02:36:18 PM »
There are several different types of 55 gallon drums available.   Did you know that a oil drum can be different thicknesses?  If I was building a barrel stove I would want a food grade drum.  They have to be the same thickness all the way.   Remember by building a furnace you maynot have insurance on your building.  Many insurance companies frown on homemade units.  A drum usually never "burns out"  what happens is they "rust out"   I would not leave bricks or anything like that in my heater as water or moisture will get under them and never dry out on the bottom.  Take the chimney off in the summertime and put a coating of oil on the inside of the drum to keep it from rusting .  Water and ashes make lye and that is what eats up a mild steel drum.

I have seen many 16 gauge drums last 8, 9 or even 10 years as a heater.  I saw one last year that was 15 years old.

Hope that helps a little as that is my 2 cents worth!
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