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Wood Burning Stoves Made From Truck Rims
"It was cheap to build and will outlast any barrel stove by 10 to 20 years," says Eric Thompson about the wood-burning "pot belly" stove he made by welding together three truck rims stacked on top of each other. His neighbor Chris Aman made a similar five-rim stove (shown on right).
The two top rims on Thompson's stove contain the firebox which accommodates logs up to 10 in. in dia. and 20 in. long. The bottom rim contains the ashpit. There are hinged doors in both the firebox and ashpit, and between them a grate which takes ad-vantage of the original lug bolt holes. The burner has an oval stove pipe and stands on legs made from angle iron.
Thompson uses the stove to provide total heat for his two-bay shop. He says he got the "truck rim" stove idea from a friend who made a similar stove from old snap-ring type truck wheels.
"I was looking for an inexpensive way to make a shop stove. Those 55 gal. drum stoves are easy to build but they're made of light metal and don't last very long. Truck rims, on the other hand, are made of heat resistant, high carbon steel. I don't see them ever burning out in my lifetime," says Thompson.
His stove is made completely from scrap, including the 8.75 x 24.5 truck rims. "They had some cracks in them, which I welded shut. My only cost was for welding rod. It only took me about 45 hours to build the entire store."
To round off the rims and make it easier to fit them together, Thompson cut a 3-in. wide strip off the top edge of the ash pit rim and the top firebox rim.
To make the firebox, he welded two of the rims "deep sides" together, plating and plugging all lug bolt and tire stem holes on the top rim. Then, he turned the bottom rim over and welded it to the bottom of the lower firebox rim, making sure the 8 lug bolt
holes from both rims were lined up to accommodate a removeable 91/2 in. dia. grate which sets over the holes. Thompson made the grate from 3/4 in. plate steel, cutting 8 holes in it to match the lug bolt holes.
Opening and closing the ashpit door provides adequate draft control, says Thompson. "The fire roars with the door open, and with the door closed there's just enough air leak to let the fire simmer."
A cast iron door, removed from an old air tight wood stove, serves as the firebox door. Thompson fitted and hinged the door to a rectangular frame made from 1/4 x 2 in. strap steel. He then cut an identically-sized rectangle out of the firebox's side and welded in the door frame.
According to Thompson, a couple pieces of wood will burn in the stove for 3 or 4 hours. "If I fill the firebox up at 7 p.m., there will still be a bed of coals in the morning to start another fire."
Thompson's neighbor, Chris Aman, who runs a small welding and fabricating business, built a similar but larger stove patterned after Thompson's. Aman's shop stove is 5 rims tall with the top rim serving as a smoke chamber. Aman removed all of the centers from the spacer rims except for . the rim that's next to the top, which serves as the bottom of the smoke chamber.
"Aman's ashpit and grate are identical to mine," notes Thompson. "His stove is bigger, yet takes up no more floor space and heats a large workshop. Aman equipped his with fancier draft controls and he added the smoke chamber on top which causes smoke to exit more slowly to radiate more heat before it leaves the stove. Smoke moves into the chamber from the firebox, then to the back of the stove and out."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eric Thompson, R.D. No. 2, Box 116A, Ovid, N.Y. 14521 (ph 607 869-5330).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #1