Thursday, 28 January 2016

Fitting a wood burning stove

A recent study suggests that modern Man's early ancestors first started using fire 350,000 years ago, and that a significant proportion of that time has been spent waiting for the new Living Room log burner to be installed in The Lodge.

It's all in there. Studies never lie.

Purevision PV5W small log store
Name: SausageTheCat
Age: 5 or 6ish
Likes: Sleep, Marmite crisps, ham, cheese,
gravy, sniffing plywood stove crates
Nevertheless the wait is finally over and I'm delighted to be able to write this blog post in front of what is supposed to be a cockle-warming roaring fire but is, in reality, a few pieces of mildly moist wood that are spewing so much smoke I'm worried the fire brigade will rock up and ruin my day.
I'm not sure what's going on with it, to be honest. It's not the stove - that's perfect - but we've had a few gorgeous fires now and only yesterday did I discover that none of the wood I wanted to use next is burning. It's supposed to be well seasoned (donated by someone Terminator Trevor knows) but it must need another few months in Outbuilding 2, which is our log store until we work something else out. Unless the log store's damp, which it probably is... I need a hand-held moisture meter, I do.

Aaaaanyway, the log burner is in!

Let's get the legal stuff out of the way first, though - it's perfectly within UK law to fit your own log burning stove and despite people who haven't done it suggesting that you're about to kill your entire family and immediate neighbours, you're free to go ahead and chance your arm. And everyone else's.
In Scotland you don't even have to tell anyone with an official hat on, but the rest of us either have to have our efforts signed off by a HETAS-registered engineer or a Building Control bod at the local council in order to comply with Building Regulations. Apparently thousands of people don't even bother with the red tape and go ahead regardless. If it's good enough for our Scottish cousins...

The flue liners were dropped
back in August when the
weather was nice and warm.
Remember that?
But here in the rest of this fair isle, if you've done your research and got the proper-sized hearth, made sure there's enough room around the stove for airflow, dropped approved flue liners in the correct way and coupled the whole lot up with proper fittings and seals - all of which we did - then there won't be a problem with approval and your wallet will be the thick end of a couple of hundred quid lighter in return for a certificate.
Don't just take my word for it though. Everything I've just typed I got from the excellent Stovefitter's Manual website here, which you'd be daft to overlook if you're planning to install your own burner. And it's written by a real human being rather than a spotty marketing exec who hasn't got a clue.

So having decided that we were going to give it a go, Dawn and I ordered a hideously-expensive 5kw Fireline Purevision PV5W which we decided we wanted way back in 2014 when one caught our eye at Grand Designs Live. It wasn't overly-ornate, had lovely clean lines (which we eventually decided to use for the hearth and mantel, too) and, most importantly, had a huge window so we can bathe in the warming glow of the fire. Lovely. In fact the sales blurb for it uses the phrase "high-definition" which basically means you can see it and it's real.
We didn't want the stove to sit straight on the slate hearth as though something was missing, however, so we also ordered the smaller of two log store stand thingies which raises the burner by about 200mm or so, which is just enough to make it look 'right'.

At 120kg for the stove alone we enlisted Terminator Trevor to help with the man-handling, which was made easier by removing everything that could be removed - namely the door, insides, top, ash pan and even the silica gel packets because every little helps.
Together we managed to struggle it in to place and get it centralised, then on went the trimmed-down vitreous enameled connecting pipe which was sealed to the flue adapter at the top and the main stove body at the bottom with fire cement.

Purevision PV5W small log store

The door and everything else was then replaced, our Christmas present stirling engine stove-top fan was assembled and a little bit of kindling was lit, then out we went to marvel at the sight of smoke coming from the chimney for the first time, which was amazing to see and marked a big old milestone for us all.

Purevision PV5W small log store
Fire is Man Business so Dawn had to ask
for permission to light the first one
We kept the fire small to begin with while the fire cement and stove paint cured and by the time Trevor headed home it was roaring, which it was for about four solid days afterwards, bringing the previously-high humidity in the room down to an ideal level. We even spent a couple of evenings sitting by the fire in our camping chairs, wishing we had a comfy settee and smelling faintly of wood smoke - which everything now does.

I've already mentioned our wood supply in the log store, and there's plenty in there to keep us going if not this year then next when it's properly dry. Yesterday Trevor and I chainsawed a couple of fir trees down in the front garden which were leaning at 45 degrees, the logs from which are now stacked around the back, and there's another load of unseasoned wood next to it which Trevor scrounged from someone else just before Christmas. I plan to build a proper wood store with some skip-dived reclaimed timber in a week or two, which should provide decent cover and airflow to get the seasoning process fully underway.

Big chopper. Got wood. Etc.
If only we had some wood that we can burn.
Luckily, living on the edge of managed woodland means that there's a bloke at a farm down the road who makes a living from chopping, seasoning and supplying firewood so I might give him a poke tomorrow to see what his prices are.
Yesterday, before I realised the problem with our own supply, he dropped a couple of massive 20"-tall chopping blocks off for the extortionate sum of £10, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that he can get us through the rest of the chilly weather without going completely bankrupt.
One block will be used for proper axe-wielding purposes while the other will play host to a Christmas present from my dear wife, a superb Kindling Cracker, which will likely keep my precious fingers attached to my incredibly useful hands.

Purevision PV5W small log store
Our lovely new Purevision PV5W in full flow.
As far as we can tell this is the only photograph of the small log store being used in
anger anywhere on the interwebz. Maybe I should've prettied it up a little more.

Purevision PV5W small log store
The obligatory flaming log photo.
The fire chamber is so big we could probably get an old settee on there if we pushed the door closed with our feet.


  1. Hi Guys just wondered how you are getting on with your stove . Its the same one we want but are not sure as there are very little reviews . If you couyld send a message Re this I would be very grateful
    Many Thanks Euan Myles

    1. Hi Euan. Sorry for the delayed reply - I'm building a fence...
      Yeah, it's good. It looks great and throws out a lot of heat (too much for this room on full blast and we haven't even got radiators fitted-up yet), and the big viewing window looks excellent at night.
      The self-cleaning aspect does work well, but the fire has to be up to a good temp for that to happen. If you don't quite get there it soots-up and blackens, but a few more logs should sort it out. In fact when it works you can actually watch it clean itself. The self-cleaning glass tends to only really work when it wants to. Again, a high temp can work wonders but expect to clean the glass properly every couple of fires. I use this stuff -
      As for problems the shake-able fire grate thing is stuck for 75% of the time and the rod on the outside that you shove in and out to move it all about won't budge most of the time. Also, the catch on the bottom of the door keeps snapping back in place when you open it to put on another log, so you have to pull it out (the spring is tough) with your fingers before it will close properly again. Luckily it doesn't get hot. The bloke from the place we bought it from is supposed to sort out adjustments but he hasn't got back to us yet.
      All-in-all it's a great stove and is an eye-catching focal point without having to go all extra fancy. It's bloody expensive but if you can justify it then give it a whirl.
      Hope that helps and give me another shout if you have more questions. Ta for popping in!


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