Woodstove installed

What’s been holding up the wood stove install was two things: stovepipe and hearth.  At my brother’s suggestion, we decided to forgo a pretty hearth and just temp in something that would be safe and quick.  With all the jacking up and hammering left to do around here, probably a good idea.

As for the stove pipe, after finally picking a location that would allow a diagonal stove install on the first floor, I figured out the components needed.  We decided to go with Excel pipe, even though it’s significantly more expensive, because it has a lifetime warranty and meets the much stricter Canadian chimney-fire survival codes.  No chimney fires are going to burn down our house!  (If we are using the stove right, this shouldn’t be much of a risk anyway … but perhaps for the next owners.)

On Friday I picked up the last pipe component at Midgley’s in Eugene.  It was time to begin the actual install.  I laid out where the chimney would intersect the second floor, and cut a hole.  The location will add a 2.5 foot bump-out into the master bedroom, but makes for a much better first floor position.  On the diagonal, the fire will face the whole living room.  No other position would be as attractive and still keep the chimney on the back of the house.

On Saturday, we screwed down two layers of Hardibacker to form the hearth.  Robin’s parents came by, and Steve and I moved the stove into position using his motorcycle jack.  (If there’s any easier way to move 450lbs, I can’t imagine it.)  Unfortunately, the leg bolt-holes on the back of our stove were tapped wrong (or rather got some welding slag in them after being tapped).  The stove spent the night on the jack.

On Sunday, my brother came by to lend a hand (AKA “end up doing all the hard parts”).  He re-tapped the bolt holes (I need to get one of those sets) and with new bolts we attached the legs.  Then we added 2×6 blocking to the floor joists to install the pipe support.

The pipe support was then added from above.  It has a heat shield to protect the floor members, and is designed to protrude 3 inches below the finished ceiling to cut down on radiant energy off the pipe.  The pipe is 6″ inside diameter, 8″ outside diameter.  The floor support only requires a 10″ hole, but all framing above that require 12″ rough openings.

Next, we dropped a plumb bob to find the roof penetration point.  I had worked this out ahead of time to avoid intersecting a rafter.  Unfortunately, I made the flawed assumption that our rafters are plumb.  If we installed the chimney plumb, it would have been sitting directly against a rafter, and since we don’t want that (2″ air gap required) we decided to install the chimney at a slight angle (2″ off plumb over 12′).  When we re-roof next year we’ll straighten out the chimney.  Cutting the roof hole with a sawzall was a quick, although unpleasant job.  Skip sheathing, cedar shakes, composite shingles .. all of them tried to fly in my mouth and eyes.

Next Greg climbed our very steep roof.  We sent the flashing and shingles up to him on a rope tow.  The chimney also partially intersected a roof vent, so he pulled that out too and then tacked everything back up with new shingles.  Greg’s done a lot of roofing, so he said it might be ugly but it would be water tight. I thought it looked pretty good too.  To add insult to injury, it started pouring down rain at the end.

Back inside, we screwed together the actual chimney sections, and pushed them up through the flashing.

Then it was back up on the roof for Greg, this time in the dark and carrying a storm collar, the chimney cap, and a caulk gun.  Did I mention it was dark?  Robin and I were on the ground with shop lights and flashlights trained on Greg up on the roof.  Needless to say, the few cars that drove by our house at this time did so very slowly.  Thanks for all the help Greg!!

Later that night I added the radiation shield on the second floor ceiling, moved the stove back into position and set it down, installed the adjustable chimney length off the top of the stove, and reinstalled all the firebricks we had removed.  Finally, we lit a fire and laid around in total exhaustion.

Like most projects, unplanned “issues” complicated the process and wasted time.  Since most of our issues this time were caused by quality control problems with the stove and chimney, I feel the need to complain.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the stove and chimney are well made and should last a long time, but when you spend about $3600 on a woodburning equipment, you expect it to be flawless.

  • Stove leg bolt holes poorly tapped
  • Stove upper firebrick would not seat properly (slightly too wide)
  • Stove door gasket did not fully contact door frame (later fixed by Midgley’s)
  • Insulated chimney instructions vague and incomplete
  • Insulated chimney missing ‘provided’ screws
  • Double wall chimney slightly out of round and obnoxious to adjust
  • Double wall chimney supplied the wrong screws (or wrong instructions)

Ah, the joys of home improvement.  Finally, there were too many pictures to post them all, so I’m including a gallery here at the end with more.

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6 Responses to Woodstove installed

  1. Jessica says:

    I think there should be a companion blog to this one entitled “House remodeling through the eyes of a dog” which has Edgars take on everything. I can just see it now….”today my people installed this strange black box and crawled around on the roof. I don’t know why, but I got to lick Greg, so everything is ok.”

  2. lee says:

    Ha ha. Yeah, Edgar’s follow up post would read: “Strange black box makes me feel warm and happy. Laying in front of it has become a new pastime. Word of warning though: keep butt away from box, or it will bite you when you’re not looking.”

  3. Debbie says:

    Hi I’m new to your site. Can you tell me what model woo stove you purchased and any other info about the model I would need to know. I’ve been thinking of purchasing one and I want to be able to cook as well as heat with it. Your info on cooking with yours has convinced me that I believe I’m thinking of purchasing one exactly like yours.
    Thank you,

  4. Debbie says:

    Ok I’ve further read your post above, notably the complaints.. If you had to do it again is there another model you would have chosen instead?
    Ps.. Sorry for all the typos and weird wording of my first post (“that I believe I’m thinking of purchasing…” … Huh?!)

    • lee says:

      Sorry, there’s usually a lag for first-time comments because the spam filter routes them to us for approval.

      Our stove is a Lopi Endeavor. The design reminded Robin of the woodstove from her childhood, which is what pushed us toward this model (and steel stoves in particular). Also, the two-tier top is better for cooking. If I hadn’t have needed so many BTUs in the short term (because of an initially uninsulated house), I would have seriously considered one of the Jøtul stoves too. I particularly like the Jøtul F 602, but it’s only 28k BTUs. It doesn’t have two tiers, but it does have a cook top. There are larger Jøtul models too of course, but they didn’t fit our space as well. The heat shielding on the Lop really gives you more installation options. (It’s rated for just 4.5″ from a flammable surface on the back.)

      You’ve probably found this post, which is our more current write-up on cooking with the Lopi. We didn’t cook on the stove as much last winter because we started using an induction hot plate and the temperature precision and power were a really nice change.

    • lee says:

      I should add that in the past 6 years we’ve only had a few maintenance issues with the Lopi. The roll pins which hold the afterburner tubes in place like to fall out, so I’ve replaced a couple of those and now I just tap them back into place occasionally if they seem to have moved.

      Last fall we replaced two fire bricks that had cracked (probably our fault). We also replaced the steel brick supports that sit above the firetubes. These are designed to be replaced, so removing them was no big issue, but I was surprised to find that they’d been almost completely eaten away. The stove store said I probably overfired the stove a few times and weakened them. The new supports were covered under warranty, so I have no complaints either way.

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