Barrel Stoves

by Scott Lewis
(Marshall NC)

"These barrel stoves get phenomenally hot - when going flat out the metal surfaces can glow cherry red and the heat radiates in all directions - behind and beneath the stove as well as into the room. They present as serious fire hazard as anything flamable within meters of it will be exposed to extreem heat."


I beg to differ with this assessment.
With the Sotz stoves you receive detailed instructions on making, and using your barrel stove.
Sotz emphasizes that you should NEVER let the stove become cherry red.
They explain that this is easily avoided, as the Sotz is an airtight stove.
By using the air control and not ever burning the stove with the door open you can run your stove at the operating temp of any cast iron stove, ie 400 to 500 degrees, and it will not get cherry red.

Sotz emphasizes that if the stove does get cherry red the metal will burn in two. This could result in 20 pounds of hot coals getting dumped all over your hearth/floor. If this happens your wife will not be happy.

I ran a Sotz double 55 gallon drum kit for 5 years and the metal was not damaged at all.
In the Sotz literature they speak of stove owners who burned a Sotz for 20 years and the metal was as good as new.

One thing is, every spring you need to take your stove apart and clean out all the ashes, in the summer these ashes will absorb moisture and rust the barrel in two. Just clean out the ashes and coat the inside with motor oil, not a big deal.


Hi Scott,

Thanks for the input - it is great to have comments from people who have direct experience of these barrel stoves. One tip I've heard of it to put a layer of sand a few inches thick in the bottom of the barrel - this helps to moderate the heat and prevent over-firing.

While modern stoves are rather more forgiving of over-firing repeatedly taking them beyond their temperature tolerances can warp or crack materials. It should be avoided in any circumstances really.

If sotz stoves advocate controlling the burn by shutting down the air supply I'd be concerned that damping down would lead to a smokey/polluting burn. Do they have controls in place to ensure that there is always sufficient air for secondary combustion?

All the best,

Mike

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Jan 20, 2016
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sotz barrel stove clones NEW
by: Anonymous

There is a small amish co.in Fredericksburg Oh that i believe bought the tooling from the now defunt Sotz corperation in Columbia Station Ohio. They sell the single and double stove kits. Saw these at Horse progress days in Mt. Hope Ohio. The doors are built heavier than original, and look quite sturdy, I would have bought one but Im still using my original door from 30 years ago. There Co. is Critter Blankets Ltd., 8240 T.R. 654, Fredericksburg Oh., 44627 Hope this helps anyone looking for a quality barrel stove kit, I wouldnt use anything else, These are the best

Mar 17, 2016
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Sotz stove success NEW
by: Bro. Ben

I have used a Sotz single-barrel kit to heat our house since the 1980s. It is in the center of the basement with 15 ft. of supported stove pipe for additional radiating surface. I have 3 wheelbarrows to bring the wood in. They set in the basement for a couple days for additional drying and it also adds humidity to the air. I like to make the stove hot so it burns the wood completely. The small bung hole is open at the top of barrel to allow air for an after-burner. I get no creosote in the chimney. The upstairs is heated by convection, so power failures are not a problem. I remove the ashes by taking the stove outside. (About 3 times per year.) This keeps the dirt out of the house. I replace the barrel about every 7 years. I get some ash in my stovepipe and chimney, so I clean them out yearly.

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