2010 - Volume #BFS, Issue #10, Page #70
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Giant Wood-Burning Furnace Heats Shop
Clair Wilson and his sons operate a farming and fabrication business near Winchester,
Ill. They have a huge 120-ft. sq. shop. To heat it they built a giant woodburning
furnace into an embankment next to the shop. “We use a skid steer with a grapple to
load up to three logs at a time. The logs measure 14 to 16 in. in diameter and are
up to 6 ft. long,” says Clair. “A pair of big hydraulic cylinders are used to open
the lid. The cylinders are powered by a hydraulic pump inside the shop.”
Located just outside the shop walls, the furnace was built from 1/4-in. thick steel
plate and measures 7 ft. sq. There’s a fullwide door at one end of the stove that can
be opened to remove ashes with the skid steer. The furnace’s hinged lid contains a
water jacket that will eventually be connected to pipes embedded in the shop fl oor.
The plan is to circulate heated water just beneath the fl oor.
For now, the shop is heated with hot air that’s pumped through a plenum and into
the shop by two large furnace fans. The plenum runs up one wall to the ceiling and
across to the other side of the shop. A blower mounted outside the furnace
pushes fresh air into the fi rebox to feed the fire.
The shop’s in-fl oor heating system goes back a ways. “We installed a home-built
radiant fl oor heating system in the shop in 1994 and used a commercial liquid propane
boiler to heat the water,” says Clair. “We placed a series of 1-in. schedule 80
pipes 1 ft. apart under the shop floor. We built the wood-burning furnace because of
rising propane prices.”
He says they load logs into the furnace about once a day. A 30-ft. length of 10-in.
dia. irrigation pipe serves as a flue for the furnace.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clair Wilson and Sons, 129 Hillview Rd., Winchester,
Ill. 62694 (ph 217 742-3918).

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2010 - Volume #BFS, Issue #10