I have been working for the last several weeks on converting a beer keg (1/2 size keg) into a small wood burning stove. With all the great intentions of this being a quick project I began by taking the keg out of the kegorator as it was empty had been so for a long time. Of course, I had paid $50 for the keg plus the cost of the beer when originally purchased. But now it was sitting in my shop, keg empty, for the last six months. Now, that the weather has turned cold. I wanted to have some heat in the shop so I can work during the day. I had a kerosene heater but the fumes from the heater made my eyes burn and made my clothing smell. The cost of a 5 gallon can of kerosene is $48, a very expensive item. So since I live on a tree farm it seemed only logical to me that I have a wood burning stove in the shop. So I went online and on craigslist to find wood- burning stoves. What I found was that people want a lot of money for even the worst looking wood-burning stove. Being that this is the winter time, it is just the wrong time to look for wood-burning stove. So I decided to see if I could use some of the existing items I have saved from prior projects to make my own wood-burning stove.
The first thing was what to use for the body of the stove. That’s when I thought about the keg. It is made of heavy duty aluminum and both on the top and bottom have a rather large lip to be able to be stable when sitting on the ground. Then I rummage through my small building on the property and found some old heavy duty stove piping that I had used on another project and had sense taken the project apart. I found I had enough 90° elbows and straight pieces to create a chimney pipe for the stove. I had decided to run the pipe through a window area. So I did have to go and buy an aluminum piece that was made to allow piping through a wall or roof. And so, I created a flat-panel with this piece so that the chimney pipe could safely run from inside to the outside of the shop. I broke out my grinder and try to cut straight lines for a door in the front of the keg. I must admit I didn’t do so well on one of the lines and it was a little crooked. The bigger challenge was to take the grinder and cut a hole in the back of the keg to allow the chimney pipe to run from the back of the keg to outside of the shop. The chimney pipe is round and so is the keg. So that meant the whole I was cutting look more like an elongated oval rather than a circle. I thought this would go off without a hitch. But when I put it all together I found my cutting edge was not as smooth as it should be and smoke started to come out from the edges where the pipe went into that keg. I think I spent the next three days trying to find a way to seal off that area and finally I found success by using a large number of sheet metal screws in the attachment of the pipe to the keg. I wasn’t done yet. I attached the crooked door to the keg and found that out some aluminum strips to fit around the edges so I did not cut my hand each time I reached into the stove. I also found some Eagle claw legs from an old bathtub I used to have. It took a day to figure out how to attach them to the bottom of the keg, to give it some character. Eventually it all came together. And I was able to use the wood-burning stove yesterday while outside the shop it was raining hard; inside the shop was toasty warm. This was the achievement of a worthy goal.
Another goal was reached yesterday, and that was about the pond that I had dug out this summer. It finally filled up with water. There was about 2 inches of rain yesterday and that was enough to finally fill up the pond. I had been nervous about the filling of the pond as I had to make sure that when the pond was full it did not backup onto my neighbor’s property. I’ve contacted a water conservation specialist some months ago to use a laser beam in order to know where I should put the height of the overflow culvert. Mr. Powers came out to the pond area and use the laser to put some flags on where the water line should be when the pond was filled so as not to fill back up on my neighbor’s property. I had to wait for months for the pond to fill up. Little by little the rain came and slowly the pond began to fill. I was truly excited when the pond was filled and the water line came up to almost exactly where the flags that Mr. Powers had placed into the ground. This was the accomplishment of another worthy goal and part of my responsibility for the designation of my property is a tree farm.
But that was not the end of the day. I went inside the house that night to watch some of the programs that I usually record, only to find out that the Sony TV had lost its picture. Luckily it still had sound so I plan to move into the shop and use it like a radio. I have DirecTV and it has many channels that are strictly music. To continue on, I found myself nursing a toothache. I don’t know about you but I hate going to the dentist. Up to now my tooth would hurt for one day and then go away the next. This happened without much pain until yesterday. I know that I will have to go to the dentist but like many people I am booked for next week, it is the holidays. Luckily today there is no pain I hope it will stay that way until after the first of year. To finish off yesterday, during the night electricity went off and made several attempts to come back on until which finally happened about 6 AM in the morning. The problem with that is that several of the lights throughout the house are on a remote control for both the light and the fan. When the power is cut off and then brought back on the lights come on. This happened several times before I realized that I had to turn off the wall switch to stop this from happening. I don’t know about you but after I get up several times during the night and I have to do something which puts my brain into action, what little brain there is, I find it hard to go back to sleep. And yesterday being the longest night of the year. I was glad to finally see the light of day so I could get out of bed and see what was going on.
And so there you go the accomplishment of two worthy goals plus some up and downs for the day. All in all it was a great day. And it keeps me excited about what is yet to come. I did not think that I would learn to get accustom to not working (having a job). But now, even with all the medications, I find my day full activities and I seem to get busier and busier.
Those are my thoughts for the day from the porch to you.