Monthly Archives: November 2015

Wood Stove (“Frodo”) Installation (11/21/2015)

Hello All,

We headed up Saturday morning with the intention of doing nothing but installing our new Hobbit SE wood stove, now nicknamed ‘Frodo’.  Our first stop early Saturday morning was hitting the HD store in Kingman, where our Duravent ‘through-wall’  chimney kit, and chimney section awaited us.

We were there early, and picked up our items…then continued our 1 1/2 hour drive to the ranch.  Well, one thing to always remember when picking up ordered things from either of the big box stores…check your damn order!!  We learned the hard way.  Our through-wall chimney kit was missing a key item (9″ chimney second that goes through the wall) and the 6″ Duravent chimney section…which they somehow mixed up with a 4″.  So, this led to our slow progress installing the stove, and the early morning drive back to Kingman to retrieve the correct parts.

In our “ideal” planning, we wanted to be sitting around that stove when the sun set.  Well, we ought to know, projects always take longer and things don’t always go to plan.  Of course, our stove install was no exception.  Let’s begin with Saturday and how we progressed.  The plan was for Sheralee to burn in our stove, lighting several small fires in it to prep it for long term burning.  Of course it was windy windy outside, so adjusting the stove to the right angle took some time, and for the stove to burn properly.

Recall how Frodo looked prior to his paint job.
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This is the first fire raging in our new wood stove.
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While Sheralee was getting Frodo warmed up, I started the through-wall installation.  First step, cutting through the skin of Rusty…sounds worse than it is.
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Finally had a nice 14 1/2 inch hole for the thimble section of the kit.  Next I had to frame in where the thimble would attach.  You can see where we attached the cement backer board on once side.  We then had to insulate the wall before adding the cement backer board on the stove wall.
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You might notice some shelving brackets on the studs, and in the opposite wall.  Sheralee found this great site where she got this idea.  When possible, we are going to pre-mount shelving brackets behind any wall covering.  This will give us a floating shelf, and we are doing 3 of those types of shelves above the wood stove.

I believe this portion ended our Saturday, as the sun starts to go down between 4:30p and 5:00p.  It was windy and cold, so fires were started and bed was soon to follow….and as you can see, no sitting around a roaring fire in the wood stove.

Sunday, we were up and gone before the sun came up..heading to Kingman to retrieve the items that HD messed up.  All of that process went well, but just took time.  When we got back to the ranch, we started right away in installing the chimney parts so we could proceed inside.

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You can see in the above pictures we installed the Tee section, and then a 36″ chimney section with the cap.  Now, here is where we think we ran into ‘operational’ issues in burning.  Now, after more research we believe that having the chimney this low, being blocked by Rusty, is causing a downdraft in our chimney, hence blowing smoke into the container and not burning correctly at all.  If anyone has thoughts on this, please let me know.  We have a plan to change this, but just wondering about personal experiences.

Once we had the chimney in place, we could work on sealing up the inside and making it the way we want.  We wanted to add galvanized corrugated metal on the cement backer board.
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Sheralee came up with sitting the stove on a concrete base, and we decided to add ‘used’ bricks as the foundation to lift it a little of the floor.  Our floor for that is a 24×24 sheet metal piece that the bricks sit on.  Then the concrete base.
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It really looks amazing!  Remember the shelving brackets….well this is what they will eventually look like.

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This will look amazing once we add sheet rock and more wood planking!  So nice to see something that came from our heads come to fruition.

While Sheralee was working with the burning phase, which created the aforementioned smoke in the container, I was adding some insulation in our entry way.  Because one wall faces West, and the afternoon sun in the summer is pretty intense, we went with R30 9″ thick insulation in those walls.
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Things are coming along nicely.  Now it is time for a Turkey day break and re-assess what we need for chimney parts.

Happy Thanksgiving All!!!

Siding is on!!! (11/14/2015)

Guess what we have now?  That is right…SIDING!  No more house wrap flapping in the wind.  This is huge for us, and we couldn’t have gotten it done without our friend John coming into town to lend a hand.  He really is the ‘ladder king’.  Thank you John!!!

We arrived on Saturday to nice bright sunny skies.  John and I got started right away on the siding adventure.  We opted to use LP Smartside for our siding, which comes in a lovely tan color, but we will paint that in the near future.

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You can see here we started right away, all to realize we really needed to start on the opposite end of that wall.  Oh, it was a 20 minute learning experience, but once we got rolling, we were off to the races.

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We moved around good, and as the day drew to an end, we had almost added siding to the three major dies.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t stay so nice the next day.


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Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures on Sunday as John and I started our day before dark heading to Home Depot in Prescott.  We needed materials, more siding and some trim pieces.  The weather on Sunday was cloudy and cold, with some snow flakes and sleet throughout the day.  By the time we wrapped up all sides were covered, and another roof sheeting piece added on and secured.

We can’t say it enough, THANK YOU JOHN!  Great friend and great to have on our side!

Note on this week.  We received our new wood stove…it is a Hobbit SE made by Salamander stoves in the UK.  Funny thing, there is one N. American distributor, and they are located in Oregon.  Go figure.

This is our new stove, which we have nicknamed ‘Frodo’.  This is he sitting on his new concrete pad, which Sheralee poured. That thing turned out so much better than we had thought. This is Frodo before his paint job this week. He will be a matte blue finish before installing this weekend.

Hobbit North America

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There will be more pictures after this weekend.  We are heading up with our focus on the Frodo install!  Can’t wait!

Entry Light & Inside Framing (11/8/2015)

Sheralee and I headed up early early Saturday morning to the property.  We knew there had been snow earlier in the week, but pretty much all gone, except some white in the shadows of trees.  Very cool, but kinda chilly during the day..

Our first goal was to finish our entry way lighting.  We came up with an LED light scheme using mason jars, and some LED strip lighting, tied directly into our 12 volt system and use some 3 way light switches so we can turn the light on/off from the door entry or upstairs in the loft.

Here are some pictures of us putting the lights together.

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Basically, I purchased a 16′ strip of LED lighting, cool white, and bought six 16oz mason jars.  The goal was to put about 30 inches of led strip lighting in each jar.  We tied the led lights together on the back of the board, and then mounted it and tied it into the ceiling light fixture.

It really turned out great!!  We are very happy with it, and will try and incorporate the same concept in future light projects.

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So, that kind of wrapped up Saturday.  Sheralee did some tree hacking, with her manual saw, and I attempted to chainsaw some of those trees she fell, unfortunately our Poulan chainsaw balked again.   It just wasn’t meant to be that day.

So, we settled in with a nice fire and made some dinner.  After dinner though, we got quite a show in the sky.  It was well after sunset, and dark, when Sheralee got up for some reason and looked to the West sky.  There was a sight to behold…and believe me, when you are in the middle of no where, and there is a very strange occurrence in the sky, you have no idea what is happened.  To me, it looked much like a helicopter search light, and then some sort of mushroom type cloud.  It was way strange.

These pictures are very close to what we saw.
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Turns out, there was a U.S. Navy Trident missile test off the coast of San Diego.  This strange sight could be seen as far East as Arizona (us) and Nevada.  Twitter was going crazy with possibilities, but by the morning we got the straight scoop.  It was clearly one of the craziest things we had ever seen in the sky.

On to Sunday.  The goal was to start some inside framing, especially the bathroom walls, to accommodate the wall that will be surrounding the wood stove.  In order to make that wall, we had to frame in the bathroom back wall, one side wall, and one door way wall.

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In the above photo, you can see a wall jutting out, this is one side of the bathroom doorway, and then the wood stove will be right in front of that.

It was just so amazing to see walls being created.  One thing we both agreed on is that everything looks different on paper! ha.  We also had some minor changes in where windows will go in the bathroom.  All, still very very cool!

On to the next weekend…

Loft Electricity [done] (10/30/2015)

Headed up early Saturday morning, after a great breakfast in Boulder City.  We got there, and first thing we noticed was our newly planted trees were all leave-less.  Upon further investigation we noticed a lot of deer poop and plenty of hoof prints, the buffet had been open for a week.  Good thing though, they only ate the green leaves, the rest of the trees seem to be in tact.  Sheralee did some creative closing of the tops and we will leave them for winter.  If they make it through, then we should be better off in the Spring.

On our way in, I wanted to stop to take some pictures of the road into our property.  This is maintained once a year, maybe twice a year, but was not done this fall.  You can see what six straight days of rain and elk hunting season can do to it.
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We made it through ok, just a little mud, but by Sunday afternoon it was just fine, but deep ruts.

We also purchased a nice comfort addition for the property and got to enjoy it first thing Sunday morning. ahhhhhhhh
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Yes, no more getting up in the cold to start a fire just for coffee.  We enjoyed our first hot cup of coffee in bed, and our second cup on the deck.

It was time to get back to wiring the loft electricity.  I had to change out a dimmer switch, which sucks, to a simple on/off switch for Sherlaee’s bedside lamp.  Did that, then did electrical pulls for our 12 volt fans, that will push warm wood stove air up to our left through the vents.  Did that, and then finished off with running coax for our satellite receiver (in the future).

This was the mess I addressed.
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This is as you go up the stairs and enter the loft.  One switch is a 3 way to light the entry way light below.  The second switch (shown wired) is our 12 volt fan switch that is downstairs to push warm air up.  The third location is 120 volts for the ceiling fan/light.

While I was doing that, Sheralee did some pretty cool things.  She put up our new loft drapes over the patio door.
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You can see the drapes, and yeah someone having a beer-thirty break without me. ha.  After a bit, I started the wiring again and she worked on our pass-through door from the container to the entry/stair way.

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I helped out the last foot above her line to give us about 6′ of space.  We still have roughly 10″ to go to get to the full height, but just so cool to see that passage way open.  It is becoming more and more legit every weekend.  I almost forgot to show the coat rack Sheralee put up in the entry way, so cool.

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Little by little we are becoming a home, this part is just so great….hard to even explain it.

Sunday is fun day hahahahahahaha.  I had to do the 120 electrical panel install and terminate the upstairs wiring for our outlets and USB outlets.  This is the part I had been worrying the most about.  Little background, and this is where the techy stuff starts [fair warning].  We purchased a 3500 watt power inverter to turn our battery power into usable house electricity, 120 volts.  The only thing with the inverter is that it is a modified sine wave inverter, meaning that it isn’t wired like a normal house electrical input.  If I hadn’t done some deep research, I could have torched the inverter and who knows what would have happened to the batteries.  I purchased a Seimans 125 amp electrical panel and basically turned it into two separate 120 volt distribution centers.

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Red is the common (hot)
Yellow is the neutral

I had it wired in from the inverter plug, to the top termination lugs, and then used a 15 amp circuit breaker to handle the upstairs.  Oh I was a tad bit worried, so at first I had to wire in the dc switch and fuse that resides between the batteries and the inverter, just in case.

Once I had that wired in, it was time for a test.  I plugged in the panel feed to the inverter, just a thick extension cord lopped off one end, and fired up the inverter.  No sparks or smoke, good so far.

I then flipped the curcuit breaker to ON….again nothing happened.  (small high five here).  I ran upstairs with the volt meter and started taking reading.  NADA, nothing at all at each outlet.  huh?  What had I done wrong?  I went back down stairs, and stared at the panel.  It took me about 30 seconds to realize I had put the circuit breaker on the wrong side of the electrical panel, the non-hot side.  I switched it to the hot side and ran back upstairs.  All good!!!  We have 120 volts at each outlet and our USB outlets are working great, charging our phones as prescribed.

This is a before and after.
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You can see the new big red switch and fuse under the blue inverter.
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Wala…we now have 120 volts A/C power in the loft.  Moving right along.

Next week, we are doing some misc tasks, but getting ready for my friend John to join us for our siding installation party day! woohoo!