18 August 2008

The woodburner

Meet our wood-burning stove. I searched my blog, and then I searched Walt's blog, and I was surprised to see that neither one of us had ever posted a picture of it. It's a woodstove that we had installed in April 2006. We had it put in our big fireplace because the fireplace itself didn't draw as it should and was basically unusable.

This wood-burning stove takes logs 16" long.
It puts out a lot more heat than a fireplace fire.

Every time we had a fire in the fireplace, a lot of smoke came out into the room. One fireplace specialist we called in said the only real solution was to tear the whole thing out and rebuild a fieplace from scratch. We asked whether he thought a wood-burning stove would be effective. Yes, he said, that's another solution. So we had one put in.

It turned out that the French government gave us back 40% of the purchase price of the stove because it is a renewable-energy heating device. That was nice.

Did I say that a stère is one cubic meter of wood? That's the definition of that term. The logs are one meter long, so a single row of them one meter high and one meter long is what it takes. A meter is 39 inches, so we're taking about a pile of wood about 3 ft. wide, 3 ft. deep, and 3 ft. high. We're getting about 15 of those.

Oh, and in winter — and sometimes in summer, when thunderstorms threaten — we put the car in the garage. In summertime, we are more lax about leaving it outside. When you don't have an electric garage-door opening, it's almost more trouble than it's worth to open the doors up every time you want to use the car or park it.


  1. That's one of the prettiest modern fireplaces I've seen. Do you think it was done on site by a plasterer? I ask because plasterers are almost extinct in the US now and I wonder if the trade survives elsewhere.

  2. Louise - plasterers certainly aren't extinct in France or the UK.

    Ken - my friend Jane has a little metal dog just like yours but she can't remember where she got it - possibly France, as she has a house in Gascony. I love recycled metal art.

  3. Ask, and we shall receive! Thanks for the photo of the wood burner :) That is fabulous that you were given back 40% of the cost by the French gov!


  4. We think the house was built by local artisans, not a builder. So I imagine the fireplace was custom-built. But I think it was built to be decorative, or by somebody who didn't know how fireplaces work. The chimney is too narrow for the fireplace, and smoke would come into the room instead of going up and out. In fact, we discovered that the chimney was capped with pieces of slate that had been cemented on when we moved in and had it swept the first time.

  5. Hi Ken, thanks for your today's blog giving us all the anwers to our questions! As Judy said (Hello Judy, I hope you are well!) ask and we will receive!! A woodfire is the best, especially on cold automn and winter evenings. Enjoy! But in the meantime let's make the best of the summer ... :) Martine


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