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Giant Fuel Tank Stove Loaded With Logs By Bobcat
After buying several outdoor wood stoves over a 15-year period, Louie Shively finally decided to build his own.
  "We needed a bigger one, and we wanted to be able to feed it with a skidsteer loader," explains Shively.
  Tubing had already been run from the previous stoves to his son's home and three large buildings used as warehouses for their Tools & More business in central Minnesota.
  Shively started with a 10,000-gal. fuel tank he bought from a local business. He and his son cut off the bottom and used that steel and other steel they had on hand to create a double wall.
  "We welded it watertight," Shively says. "That's not simple. We had a few leaks and had to drain the water out a couple of times."
  There is about 3 ft. of space between the walls of the top and some walls of the 11 by 16-ft. stove. The back only has a 1-ft. space, but is banked with dirt for insulation. The Shivelys used 12-in. well casing for the stovepipe, making a couple of Ls inside the stove to maximize heat. A square plate under the chimney allows access to clean creosote out of the pipe. A 12-in. commercial exhaust fan on the opposite side of the stove provides the right amount of air for draft.
  Each 5 1/2 by 6-ft. tall door is also water-filled to prevent warping.
  "The doors are on trailer axles," Shively explains. "We turned the axle up and welded the door to it so it's on bearings and opens easily." They are sturdy enough to accommodate the weight; each door is 700 lbs. - without water. The wide opening allows a Bobcat to dump a load of 8-ft. slabs into the stove and to bucket out ashes.
  This is the first winter for the stove and it has worked well loading slabs about 3 ft. high each morning and evening. Besides slabs, Shively says it's perfect for burning stumps and other scrap wood people can't use. The stove keeps the warehouses above 40 degrees and the house above 70 degrees.
  The prototype works so well that Shively plans to build one on his home site.
  He estimates it cost $7,500 to build.

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1