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Old 30-09-2015, 16:31   #1
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Firewood on a boat?

Is there anyone out there who keeps a supply of firewood aboard, for cooking and/or keeping warm? I know the focus these days is on saving weight... but Joshua Slocum used firewood, and I think there's something to be said for gaining more independence from civilization and fossil fuels. And for avoiding the hassle of getting propane bottles filled in foreign countries where the bottles are different.
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Old 30-09-2015, 17:39   #2
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

What drives your desire to cut down on fossil fuels? I ask because from an environmental perspective, wood creates more contaminates than other sources of heat.

Other than that, Joshua Slocum did a lot of things that I would rather not try out.
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Old 30-09-2015, 17:51   #3
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

I've read here that a few do, some use pellet stoves and some just wood, one guy was searching for Anthracite coal, I think it burns relatively clean and hot.
I believe the people who used just a plain wood stoves motivation was primarily financial, or that was my take anyway.
Years ago I read that the single biggest polluter of CO in the Los Angles basin was charcoal grills. I don't know if it was true or not, but apparently a smoldering fire does not burn clean and creates a lot of CO?


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Old 30-09-2015, 18:12   #4
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

We burn charcoal and wood on our boat.

I used a little anthracite coal but it needs a good hot fire to get it going and it burnd very hot so I don't use it.

I might try a little bit of bituminous coal but our goal is to go where the weather suits our [Summer] clothes and burn very little wood, charcoal or coal.
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Old 30-09-2015, 18:13   #5
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

For use in my Dickinson solid fuel heater I keep a bag full of oak blocks made from fireplace logs cut into 2" segments and broken into small blocks with a hatchet. In addition, I keep a bag of plain charcoal briquettes in the lazarette and all that supplies my fuel needs. Pretty easy.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:35   #6
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

Anthracite would be awesome if you had a coal heater, but it will burn out the firebox on a heater designed primarily for wood. A popular coal heater is the "Tiny Tot".

I would try to avoid charcoal because it seems to produce more CO than other solid fuels.

For the Dickinson, I am pretty sure they sell a kind of rack to enable you to burn wood pellets, which would be very nice to store.

Another option is compressed saw dust logs, popular because they don't contain creepy crawlys and store well. They can be pre cut to stove size and easily stored. They produce almost no ash too- which is kind of cool.

If you're budget minded take a look at the " Cubic Mini" out of Montreal.

If you're less budget minded take a look at "Ship Mate, Skippy" stoves, very sexy.

If you have deep pockets you can try the "Sardine" by marine stove.

A couple of things to be aware of is you don't want to use drift wood in a stove, as the salt content will ruin your stove fast.

Another consideration, is customs doesn't like to see the import of firewood because of the risk of introduced species. I was at a National Park last week, and wood originating from outside the park wasn't even permitted.

Check with your insurance company, but they should be OK with solid fuel heat, I know mine is and don't charge a premium over propane.

I think heating cooking with wood is very cool and it will warm a boat very well, although I currently use unvented alcohol for all my heating and cooking needs.

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Old 01-10-2015, 06:09   #7
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

I threw out my squirrel morso wood burner,and replaced it with a kabola old English that is the same size,but burns diesel.

I got tired of the constant dust and mess a wood burner makes!
cheap to run though if you have a source for logs.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:32   #8
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

Are there any laws reagrding moving wood like this?
I know in my area we have problems with a few invasive species and we can no longer move firewood, this is inside Ontario not crossing borders.
Big signs all over the place with pictures of Emerald Ash Borers telling you you can't move wood....
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:08   #9
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

Siberian, there are definitely laws, imported, untreated firewood will be of great interest to customs.

Plus, as you mentioned, locally, both Parks Canada and Ministry Natural Resources of Ontario will take an interest.

Manufactured wood products (like pellets, compressed logs) will draw less attention.

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Old 01-10-2015, 08:09   #10
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pirate Re: Firewood on a boat?

Charcoal and 'Chip Logs'..
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:37   #11
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

Had a conversation with a wood stove aficianado from the PNW. Felt wood was the ideal heating fuel for that area. Didn't have to carry much with him as he could row ashore and find and cut up driftwood any time he needed to heat the boat. A bow saw, wedge and hatchet were all the tools he needed. Kept a store of wood in tne lazarette and replenished it as he cruised.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:41   #12
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

Hi Water Dragon, I am a big advocate of wood for heating in the high latitudes but less for cooking. Though I've had several Olympic wood cook stoves they're a real challenge to bake with and boiling water takes too long. The independence factor is nice and the ambiance and dry heat are great but not so practical for cooking. Useless in the tropics.
Douglas fir bark is everywhere on beachs in the Pacific NW and small pieces of driftwood can be found in abundance but a small chain saw is a must for cutting wood that will burn for any reasonable length of time.
We only carry about three day's worth at a time, when cruising the PNW.

We like the big blue Ikia bags for collecting and store it aboard in sealable bins. Very cozy source of heat.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:43   #13
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

I heat my boat with firewood, it really doesn't take much if your boat is insulated, basically you are not heating as much as taking the chill off and having a place to warm your hands. I use a cloth bag with handles to carry and contain the wood and to capture all the dirt, bark chips, etc. The largest piece of wood that fits my stove might be 4x4x6 inches, so a lot of cutting and splitting is involved. I also planned to install a diesel burner in the stove for when I get up north and there is no wood available. But I have bought a couple espar/eberspacher diesel truck heaters and will install those. There is nothing like the fire in a woodstove to make a place feel and smell like home.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:50   #14
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

My stove is about 6"X6"X12". In autumn I burn a bit of scrap paper and cardboard just to take the chill off. I found that pressed/"recycled material" logs are cleaner than firewood and when broken into small chunks work well in colder weather. Charcoal was too dirty to store and handle. When cruising I'll collect wood scraps from shore.

I heard of a guy burning pellets (placed in a tin can) in his stove, which purportedly lasts all night... but I haven't tried that yet.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:32   #15
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Re: Firewood on a boat?

Rick, considering the Dickinson solid fuel heater for a Gulf 32 (slightly larger but generally I would say about same say cabin as your Bayfield), do you find it sufficient to warm things up in there? I'd like to avoid plumbing propane or diesel (plus the prop/diesel stoves are more than twice as expensive), my wife and I are hearrty-ish souls (OK, not that hearty as we're going pilothouse) who don't mind putting a sweater on so don't need to get the whole cabin to 80 degrees, but don't want to be constantly feeding a wood stove just to get to 55!

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Originally Posted by austinrick View Post
For use in my Dickinson solid fuel heater I keep a bag full of oak blocks made from fireplace logs cut into 2" segments and broken into small blocks with a hatchet. In addition, I keep a bag of plain charcoal briquettes in the lazarette and all that supplies my fuel needs. Pretty easy.
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