Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Cabin #6 Fireplace

 Well the process of selecting a heating system for the cabin was "thoughtful" to say the least. First it was decided that we did not want to burn wood in "her" cabin #6. Burning wood would be left to "my" original cabin. The source of heat for #6 would be a choice between propane and natural gas. The cost to run in the natural gas line was going to be $1200 plus there would be a meter service charge of $14 per month. Propane would be the fuel and for $200 I could buy a 100 gallon tank. Filling it would cost around $150. I figured that this amount of propane would be fine for the time being spent in the winter. 

Looked at some prebuilt cast iron Vermont style stoves with doors and propane ceramic logs. Nice looking but not impressed with heat output and the cost was going to be over $2,000 !  Lowes was the only place that I could find that sold low end stoves (sheetmetal boxes) with log sets. They were nothing to look at and they still wanted over $500. They did also sell ventless fireplace log sets for around $250. These are for people that have a wood fireplace and want to replace burning wood with propane or natural gas. 

This would be the route I took. Now all I had to do was build some sort of surround to make it look cool and fit the cabin.


After sketching several designs and small cardboard models I decided on this flowing form. The front is 42" wide and tapers to 16" at the top. The bottom is 24" deep slopes to 12" deep at the top. Arriving at these dimensions was more complicated than it seems. The area needed to be big enough to allow proper clearance around the log set and propane burner. To form this I took full length sticks glued at the bottom and joined together at the top. This allowed me to determine the size and shape of the top piece and make a cardboard pattern like the bottom.

Then I cut off the excess top section. I liked the openness and slope of the top. This would be the main frame. 

Now I could cover the frame with rosen paper and get the feel for the space and shape.
How would the log unit fit and how would it look?

It fit and looked better than I expected. For now I placed it on 5 gallon buckets but will be building a rough stone base for it to sit on this summer after the floor is in. Now it was time to get to work turning this cardboard mock up into the real deal.

$150 worth of 3/16" steel plate, 1/2 " round bar, 3/4" square tubing and a piece of 18 gage sheet steel for the cover. This was not going to be cheap. I had the paper patterns to layout the bottom and top. Easily cut with the plasma torch. Tack welding these three pieces in place and I had the basic form to work with. You can see the rectangular slot I have cut in the back of the bottom. This is where the $100 low profile blower unit will go.  

Did not take long to cut and fit the remaining support rods and weld them in place. Now it was time to attach the covering to the frame. I started by tacking the 18 gage material to the center brace. The idea being that now I could roll the frame bending the sheet to conform to the curve tacking it as I rolled. With a good helper this went pretty "smoothly". Then the excess top, bottom and side material would be trimmed off with the plasma  touch. 

Apply a little flat black high temp paint and it was ready to be put to the test.





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