I had never attempted to install a solid fuel stove in a caravan before so I approached this job with some degree of apprehension and a good bit of careful planning.
We bought the simple plain metal Pipsqueak from Mar, as the budget was very tight and it is the cheapest one. Some of the enamel finished ones are really lovely if there is a bit of extra cash available.
Mark Lawrence of Canvas and Cast was very helpful and gave me some advice regarding how the flue should be brought through the wall of the caravan. We decided not to go through the roof as that would simply present too many technical challenges, especially with regard to weather proofing the results.
Mark suggested a piece of stainless steel flue pipe of a larger diameter and perhaps 20 – 25cm in length going through the caravan wall. The gap between the 80mm flue pipe and the larger 125mm pipe could be maintained by winding some heatproof boiler packing asbestos type “rope” around the smaller pipe. This would effectively create a piece of twin wall flue and protect the caravan wall from excess heat.
I could not find anyone who would sell me a short length of stainless flue but the idea struck me that many kitchen items are made of stainless steel. I spied a twin walled wine cooler and when I measured it, it was just about perfect in every measurement to become the carry-though piece of twin walled flue.
The problem was cutting the ass out of the wine cooler without damaging it too much. I did this by drilling a good number of holes along the line and then using a jig saw with a hacksaw type blade fitted. Stainless steel is a bitch to drill and cut – but eventually got the job done. The results are visible in the photo above. The wine cooler is essentially a twin-walled piece of stainless steel pipe. By threading the smaller 80mm flue pipe through this and using some boiler floss / rope as an insulating spacer, we get a triple wall flue. This increases the insulation near the caravan wall and prevents dangerous levels of heat affecting the wall fabric.
The installation in the caravan on the day was a bit of a challenge in itself. The area is truly lovely and very remote. There is no mains electricity at the site so we used a petrol generator to work drills and jig saw. To complicate matters a bit, and add to our general discomfort, the day was damp and we were eaten alive by midges while doing the outside work. Needless to say we were very fast with the outside work.
The pipsqueak comes with its own little integrated hearth, but we decided it would be best for safety, in a wooden floored caravan, to fit a metal sheet underneath as an extra precaution. A large old aluminium baker’s tray proved ideal for this purpose, you can see the tray in the photo above.
I will finish this story in a further post in a few days time.
A note on the stove since writing this piece. The firebox of the stove is obviously tiny - like the stove itself. This however is a disadvantage because the fire will not stay burning for long without being re-fuelled. In fact it needs re-fuelling, when burning wood, every 40 minutes or so. With peat or coal it will go for longer. A larger stove on peat or coal could give heat for most of the night - but not this little baby. This little stove would keep you busy constantly. Feed me - feed me now!!