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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
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Jackie Clay

Will revised the wood-fired stock tank heater

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Although Will’s wood-fired stock tank heater worked pretty well, he knew it could do better. Roughly patterned after the “rocket stove,” the new one does burn hotter and keeps going even longer. The modifications included adding a 6-inch smoke pipe chimney, removing the square tube air intake (and welding a patch over the hole!), and removing the 6-inch diameter filling pipe and replacing it with a longer 6-inch pipe, inserted down into the tank about 18 inches. This gets air to the fire, making it burn much hotter. Before, the air came in the square tube, but it was not large enough. The new tube lets more air in and the larger chimney lets the smoke out faster. So, all in all, the whole thing works even better!

Lucky it does, too, because a cold front moved in from Canada, giving us a high today of -3 degrees! Last night and tonight it is going to be down to -26. This morning, the cow’s tank was frozen solid. After stoking up the cold tank heater and letting it cook for several hours, there was a foot of melted, steaming water in the tank (not steaming hot, you understand — after all it WAS only -6 degrees all morning!).

Will’s going to hunt around the dump and try to find another small water heater to build another heater for the horse tank; right now, we melt one tank, then haul the heater to the other. It works but requires a lot of monkeying around. We sure love our new heater! And so do our animals! — Jackie

2 Responses to “Will revised the wood-fired stock tank heater”

  1. shotgunner Says:

    does Will still plan to add the “auto-feed” feature allowing a log to gravity feed as it burns?

  2. jackie clay Says:


    Yes, he is using some 3′-4′ stuff today. As the pipes are relatively small in diameter, you can’t crowd in too many or they stick and don’t fall into the firebox when the bottoms burn. But if you are careful, it will self feed nicely for quite awhile.


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