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Author Topic: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire  (Read 966 times)

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Offline backtocountry

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My husband and I purchased a new (to us) house with an OWB.  This is our first experience with one and I'm guessing a year from now I'll have this all figured out but how the heck do you load it without smelling like a bonfire all the time?  We've set aside a particular coat and I've even gone so far as to wear a shower cap (I know totally ridiculous) to try to keep the smell from lingering in my hair with only marginal success.  Any tricks? 

So far using it seems to have been going pretty easy for us as far as not having to re-light it and only loading once a day in milder weather and twice when it's colder.  The wood we're using appears seasoned though I will say a lot of it is giant (split but very big logs) so it's not super easy for me to get some of them in there and maneuver them so they aren't wedged in the door or some other odd spot not conducive to a good burn.  Of course that can lengthen the time I spend in the doorway of the burner but it's still not very long.  We realize we'll likely need to buy a splitter but haven't gotten there yet.

Any suggestions are much appreciated.

Offline barbender

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2018, 09:50:04 PM »
Take it and like it😊
Too many irons in the fire

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2018, 10:21:47 PM »
backtocountry,welcome to the forum.
I too have special clothes that I wear when I go fill the OWB. The dog HAS to go with or she gets really MAD.
Not that it will help with the question,but what kind of OWB you got?
I split/saw my wood up small for the most part. I have a OWB that will take a 54 inch stick. Only small wood gets put in that size,4 inches and smaller.Had plans to have a working garage. Had is the key wood. So I have a lot of room in the OWB for those odd shaped pieces. Really the quicker you can load,the less you smell. But it takes time to make smaller pieces.
There is no natural draft on the kind that I have,Heatmor. With the door open,the smoke comes right at me.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2018, 10:33:28 PM »
The trick is to make your husband do it.  


I smell like smoke, grinding dust and 2stroke 6 ways til sunday anyhow so its a non issue.
Revelation 3:20

Offline hedgerow

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2018, 09:46:28 AM »
Welcome backtocountry.
I run a Garn that is in what I call the Garn barn. I have a light pair of coveralls out there put them on and slip on a stocking hat that helps a lot. I used to have to put a load in before I left for work at 3:00 A.M. Now that I retired from my town job I can adjust my loads to a time of the day a little smoke is no problem. Then the nice thing about OWB's is the smoke and mess is outside of the house. Going forward I would get a splitter and make the pieces a little smaller so you can load them with out getting too much in the path of the smoke coming out the door.  

Offline trapper

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2018, 10:32:41 AM »
My grand daughter tells me I smell like a sausage
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2018, 11:50:27 AM »
Then stand by the OWB a while and youll smell like a smoked sausage.  
Revelation 3:20

Offline MNBobcat

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2018, 12:36:57 PM »
You also have to learn the proper terminology.  You're not putting wood in the OWB. You are, "Feeding the dragon"  :)

Offline gspren

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2018, 02:36:43 PM »
When possible I like to load after the draft has been closed awhile, sort of idling, then there isn't much smoke but that's not always an option. I also like to cut my wood about 18" even though the firebox is 50", easier to load 2 shorter rows. Nothing always works and sometimes smelling like smoke is an improvement.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2018, 06:14:00 PM »
As I have posted here before, I load fairly lightly twice a day and the charge is almost always pretty well burned to coals with little or no smoke.
I do get the smokehouse treatment once in a great while, but my darling wife doesnt seem to mind and in the evening it is before I shower and then retire to my hot tub.
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Offline backtocountry

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2018, 08:57:04 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.  I definitely agree catching "the dragon" on idle helps.  Turns into a danged inferno if I have the poor timing to catch it in active burn mode and leave the door open too long while I try to load ridiculously large wood.  Luckily my husband singed his eyebrows and hair off first just from one of these infernos and warned me before I fried myself doing something stupid.  We both watch out for a possible flash too.

He does load it more than me but sometimes due to the shifts we work it's just gonna be me.  We are learning to time the loading prior to the shower. 

I'm sure I'll have more questions as the winter progresses.  Thanks all.

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2018, 09:05:05 PM »
Good dry wood helps . Leave the door open and step back until there is a flame . then instead of smoke you can smell of singed hair . All of us have been there it will get better . My wife loves ours , takes a bath every night with the tub as full as it will go and as hot as she can stand .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2018, 09:11:16 PM »
Oh how i miss soaking in the tub.  Id settle for an old tub of rainwater over coals out in the driveway at this point. Thats how bad i miss my huge tub and scalding water.  
Revelation 3:20

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2018, 09:57:11 PM »
Yea - I learned the hard way that just because my stove could take a 40" stick that was not a great idea.  Especially when there is a bed of coals and the 35" long, 8" diameter stick gets stuck half way in and you have no leverage to pick up the end that dropped and suddenly you are holding a 60 lb lit roman candle.  
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Offline barbender

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2018, 12:26:58 AM »
X2, big sticks are not fun to handle👎 I had drug a bunch of standing dead jack pine out on a job, the processor operator wanted to do me a favor and cut it all up. The only problem is he cut it about 32", some of the rounds are 16-18" in diameter and not fun to load. If those stick in the ash I have to get a pry bar under them to lift them and get them shoved in all the way.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2018, 08:53:46 AM »
Bend a piece of rebar into a candy cane with a T- handle on the holding end.  Wack the endgrain with your hatchet real good on the end sticking out of the stove.  This gives you rotational and lifting control on the back end and the candy cane you fish into the fire and hook the nose of the log to pull it upward.  It works good but watch out for smoke in the eyes.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2018, 07:41:18 PM »
When it gets cold enough to need to . I double stack . 20 inch works for me and double stacks if needed .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time

Offline Wood Shed

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2018, 02:45:34 AM »
Have heavy old coat that only goes to the OWB.
Cover hair you do not want to loose .
Wear mask when cleaning.
Always wear heavy gloves.
Try to get your full load as close to the door as you can before opening.
Cut in only easily manageable sizes.
Burn dry split wood.
Do not open a raging or O2 starved fire.
Avoid getting inside your OWB with steel pry bars. 
Load after work or before shower.
Store wood inside not outside under a foot of snow.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. -Greek Proverb

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2018, 09:08:36 AM »
Yup
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Offline backtocountry

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Re: Newbie here. How load OWB every day without stinking like a bonfire
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2018, 10:25:46 PM »
Thank you all.  You've given me some stuff to work on to make it better.  It's already getting better as we work through the learning curve but I see some suggestions we can use.  Definitely learned the hard way with some of the big logs getting wedged awkwardly in the inferno.  Our long fire gloves are an absolute must or I already would have fried myself--love those things.



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