Tuesday, December 23, 2014

House Project #5.5: The Wood Stove!

It's 37 degrees out; a few days before Christmas (Happy Festivus!) and we're already enjoying the first thaw of winter. Lovely. But it's made better by the fact that I now have the wood stove in. I love wood heat. I grew up with a wood stove, and there are two in my mom's house now. Someday I'd like to have wood heat be my primary source, but for this house, it will be supplementary, and for this winter, it will be sporadic - on the weekends after skiing, or on damp, grey days like today. Since I hadn't planned to have it in this winter, I didn't order wood, although my mom was kind enough to let me have a bit of hers. I may try to order a cord later in the winter, but it's non-essential, so I'll probably just wait until summer.

I scored the stove off craigslist in early fall. My aunt and uncle helped seal the deal and even brought it down one day in September. It's an Avalon, the smaller 796 model, which is perfect for the living space.
Pre-installation, hung out in the garage for a bit
I hadn't planned to install the wood stove this winter, but it ended up working out to be an option (mere days before the car died, but that's another story), and a few weeks into it, I'm loving having the option. I installed a hearth myself, which isn't perfect, but suits the purpose for the time being. I scored just the right amount of 12-inch porcelain tiles at the local hardware & home store for around $25. Throw in a piece of hardibacker for added height, and some lattice for trimming the edge, and I walked away with a $60 hearth, give or take. Granted the installation of said hearth came down to the wire (I finished it a mere 12 hours before the stove and chimney were set to be installed!), but it seems to have mostly worked out!

A huge benefit and definite time and money saver is my slab foundation - I didn't need to do anything fancy, and could have just placed the wood stove on the concrete under the rug. But that hardly would have looked good, so we went with a basic tile hearth, with a half-inch of hardibacker to bring the area up so it was almost level with the carpeting around it.

Day 1: Prepping the space and placing the tiles; and easy job for my aftermorning when there wasn't quite enough snow to go skiing, and a clear need to procrastinate on grading
Future home of the wood stove. Maybe not the perfect place, but central to
the living room area
Tiles! 13 of them - 12 for the hearth and one one for good luck
Hardibacker. Surprisingly easy to work with, despite the fear instilled by the
internet forums. I decided to trust in the exacto knife, rather than spinning
saw blades. 
Also easy to break - the meager seam I had cut barely half-way through was
more than enough for a clean break to the size I needed
Rough placement; the blue tape is centered on the wall (but not on the room),
and luckily the hardibacker had nicely etched lines for ease of lining up!
I taped around the hardibacker . . .
Night 2: Removing the carpet tacks, laying the hardibacker and tiles
Zoe began scoping out prime heat-gaining real estate before she knew what
was coming
I hate carpet tack strips! I managed to get it off with a hammer,
a flat head screw driver and a chisel. At least, I got the wood slats out.
Damn tacks. . . Luckily my sister's dremmel came in handy!
Tiles in!
Beware the laser-beam cat
Day 3: Lattice trim
12 feet of lattice, a miter box, a saw, some nails, and a staple gun
Again, Zoe tests good sleeping locations
Day 4: The stove is in!
I had a company from down in Randolph do the installation; the guys were great - even moved the stove into place for me (which is good, as I wasn't sure where I would find enough rugged friends whom I could ply with beer and pizza). I know the chimney isn't ideal, with the two 90 degree turns, but so far I haven't had much trouble getting the fire to draw. If it becomes an issue, I'll figure something out!
Hello, new friend!
Perfect spot found.

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