"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Final Dover Stove posting

As you can see from the above graphic, Dover Stoves have been the search phrase which brought the majority of visitors to my blog.

Because of that I need to make a final Dover stove posting.  It concerns the smoke which is emitted from the stove.  Both from round the top plates, and around the sides.

Being a cast iron stove whose parts are produced separately and which are then screwed together in order to construct the stove, these joints are not sealed.  And it is through these "gaps" that smoke may be released when the fire is lit, or even whilst it is burning.

I found the following "putty" at Dassiesfontein.
I have included both the English...
... and Afrikaans instructions, as well as the contact details for the company which manufactures it.
As we were slowly being asphyxiated by the smoke, we decided to try it out - but before we could do that, we first had to clean off all the rust which had been caused by a leaking chimney.  Fine wire wool and sandpaper took off the worst of the rust.
You can see the gaps in the stove plates in the above picture.
Oh, my poor oven - it does look a mess, doesn't it.  But it soon cleaned up and even the inside side wall joints were sealed.  In fact, I sealed every joint that I could find LOL
Both RMan and I tackled the oven...
RMan then set about applying the putty.
You don't have to be too careful when you're applying it - for as the oven heats up the "putty" sets, and the excess just peels off.
Here she is - all ready to go.  And, what a difference the "putty" made.  Smoke was a thing of the past...

...until we noticed that the ruddy inside chimney had now "come apart" and that was leaking smoke into the room.

So, I have made a decision.  As we have to get this chimney properly installed, I am going to remove the Dover from inside our house, and in it's place I am going to get a Nordica stove installed.  It is a proper enameled wood-burning stove, with a glass see-through fire pit door and see-through oven door - which even has an attached thermometer.

Having lived in this house at temperatures of maximum 13 - 14oC for the past month, our comfort and health take precedence - and a proper stove is what is going to provide that for our benefit.  I need to know that when the weather is cold I can created smokeless warmth, with no risk to our health, and without having to open all the doors in order to allow the smoke to dissipate and fresh air to come in.  And I won't have to wear my down jacket inside in order to be warm anymore... :)

The Dover stove will still be used - outside, next to RMan's barbecue.  I am going to make a pizza oven out of it - for those long, hot summer evenings when the last thing I want is a wood-burning stove heating up the inside our our house.

I'll post a pic of the new oven when it arrives... :)


  1. I cant wait to see the new stove. I dont think we have stoves like that here in the US. I have seen something like those in England though. Putting your old one outside will work out great. I am so glad my wood cook stove is not in the house this very hot summer. I think I would die from heat stroke trying to cook:)

  2. I think a new stove is a good choice. I'd be scared to death having something that leaked smoke into the house. You have to be so careful about that.
    Hope the new one is all you hoped for.

  3. I remember all too well our smokey wood stove that we had on the farm. It had to be lit everyday as it also heated our water. The smoke got in everywhere turning anything white a dirty yellow. Wish I knew about that putty then. Look forward to seeing your new stove.

  4. Sorry about the Dover, it sure was a cool looking stove. I can't wait to see the new one, I don't know which one you are getting, but I googled them and I bet it will be a thing of beauty! They are all gorgeous.

    On a side note, I love that it will get reused as an outdoor pizza oven. And you know what? On my future farm shortlist was some sort of outdoor pizza/bread oven and I was thinking of building one. I'm now thinking an old stove like this, where we don't have to worry about smoke issues, is a brilliant solution. Not to mention we get to repurpose something someone else doesn't want. I'm going to have to keep my eye out. How do you think they would hold up outside? I'm assuming it would need to be covered/protected somehow?

  5. Jane - I reckon that you made a wise choice putting your wood stove outside. And I LOVE that you're using it to preserve your summer bounty - clever girl :)

    Sue - Too true. We're going to be going to Cape Town later this week to check out the stove - before we buy it :)

    GG - I'm so glad we could find out the negatives of the Dover BEFORE we painted the inside of the house LOL Yeah - the smoke, and it's lingering smell is not lekker...

    1st Man - Clever ;) I should've given a link, but I think I'm now going to wait and see which one we buy and then I'll give you all the info.

    Yeah, being cast iron it will HAVE to be covered / protected from the rain - and figuring that out will probably be RMan's chore... LOL

  6. Is it possible your chimney isn't drawing well enough? I heat with wood, and the only time I get smoke in the house (very, very rarely) is if the chimney isn't drawing well, and then it is as you describe - smoke seeping out from every available gap. Opening an outside door a crack usually fixes the problem right away, and once the stove is drawing properly, all is well.

    1. To clarify, my chimney draws fine except when the wind is blowing from a very unusual direction - maybe once yearly. If there was a problem with smoke every time I lit the stove, or even frequently, I would first assume the problem is with the chimney, not the stove. It would be a pity to replace the chimney AND the stove, if just replacing the chimney is all that's needed. Just my two-cents :)

    2. Quinn - Thanks - yeah, the chimney is the major problem. And the draw and / or wind is most probably the reason. Plus, it isn't double insulated on the outside... I have also tried the "open the door a crack" solution, with no effect.

      But the stove, as useful as it is, is giving extra hassles - and, them, together with the fact that a bunch of pieces have "cracked" (exploded) off, have led us to the decision that perhaps it should be replaced - and re-used outside. I reckon the stove I bought was not new, but was reconditioned, and that is why pieces are "cracking" off...

  7. One thing that might fix your stove would be if you installed a flue box which has an opening hatch on the front of it where the flue joins the top of the stove. I have an ancient Rayburn made in South Africa many decades ago and because it is so old it smokes if the wind is coming from a particular direction. What I do to stop smoking is to put a lighted candle into the flue through the hatch at the bottom of the flue and leave that burning for a while to heat up the flue. Surprisingly enough getting some warm air rising up the chimney seems to aid in drawing smoke up the chimney once I light the fire.

    1. Anonymous - We have tried that - RMan takes a blowtorch to the base of the chimney (up to about a mtr up it)to "warm it up" as he lights the fire. But it still smokes...

  8. I cant wait to see your new stove. I really envy everyone's wood burning stoves but it is just way too hot here to have one inside sadly.


  9. Slowvelder - We went to see the stoves in Somerset West last Friday - they are brilliant. I'm being a good girl in the hopes that RMan buys me one... :) BUT, we have had unusually cold weather here - snow twice in July, and it looks like we could have more tomorrow or Tuesday. Unheard of. And the news has just reported that we are about to overtaske the record as far as rainfall for winter is concerned. So, to me, it is a necessity, not a luxury :)

  10. Ours is a Belgian Dovre woodstove bought in Worcester, but just for heating, altho I once used the flat top to cook supper in a power failure. One of our problems is the wood, sometimes it is difficult to get the fire going in the first place. He has learned a Swiss trick, carefully layer the wood with a firelighter in centre Mr Venter. Usually works if the wood is not too green. We try to store the wood for at least a year. A neighbour told us to leave the green wood stacked out in the rain, then next year it burns well.

  11. Diana - Am having a problem with the individual reply button...

    Unfortunately the firepit of the Dover isn't really alrge anough to do a "layered" lighting. But, yes, we do buy our wood a year in advance, and allow it to lie in teh sunshine to dry out. :)


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