"Blaze" woodburning stove

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CBJ

Native
Jan 28, 2009
1,055
0
36
Aberdeenshire
To accompany our SoulPad bell tent we have been using the “Blaze” wood burning stove.

The Blaze wood burning stove is hand made by a master blacksmith for the SoulPad company and is one of three models of stove they sell. Of the three models, the Blaze is the only one made to SoulPads specifications, the others being from different manufacturers. It is a sealed unit, which has a heat output of 2.5kw.


Now that we are camping out in colder temperatures and harsher weather, having a stove to heat the tent, help dry out our kit and us, and for boiling water on seems the most logical step forward.

Specs:
Item Details
Nominal Output 2.5kw
Weight 14kg/30.8lbs
Firebox Dimensions 25 x 18 x 25 cm
Overall Dimensions 41 x 22 x 40 cm (incl. handle)
Overall Dimensions 41 x 22 x 34 cm (excl. handle)
Flue Outlet diameter Ø 10.2cm/4"
Door hinge left
Flue kits compatible with Blaze-flue™,Blaze-tribeflue

First impressions are that the stove looks very sturdy. There are no noticeable defects and the finish looks good. It was a little bit smaller than I was expecting but looks smarter in the flesh than it is in the pictures I saw of it.

Construction:
Firebox/main body




The stove is a box construction made from six sheets of metal welded together. The two side sections measure approx. 26cm x 25 cm and are 2mm thick. The back panel is 16.4cm x 24.9cm and is 2mm thick. For extra strength and rigidity the back section is set in 1/2cm from the edge of the sides.

The bottom panel is 16.4 cm wide but is longer at 29.5cm, this is because the extra length is needed to create the ember tray at the front. Again instead of joining the bottom edge to edge with the walls it has been set back 1/2cm. The bottom panel is also thicker at 0.5 cm thick.

The front panel measures 23.5 x 17 cm and is 3mm thick. It has the door hole cut into it which is 17cmx 13cm. On the left hand side, there are the two door pins, which are 3 cm, and on the left, there is the lock catch that is a 2.5cmx 2.5cm shaped square of steel. All three have been securely welded on and I have seen no signs of stress fractures or splits since the stove has been in use.

I have used the stove quite a lot up to date and I have been checking the joints regularly. There have been no signs of weakness, cracks or leaks in the joins and no thinning spots on the floor or walls in the firebox.

Baffler plate:

Inside the fire box at the top is the baffler. This is another plate of metal that has been welded 4cm below the top plate. It doesn’t cover the entire length of the inside. It has a gap of 7cm from the edge of the box making a corridor like space inside. This allows any gasses to escape but stops any sparks from the fire getting up the flue and eliminates the need for a spark arrestor.


Top Plate:



The top plate is a good size measuring in at 33.2 cm x 21.9 cm. Incorporated into the top plate you have the flue collar. This is a 6cm high section of steel pipe 10.8cm in diameter that has been welded onto the top of the plate (not inside). Again, the weld is very secure and there have been no problems with it.

Even with the collar taking up a large amount of space there is still plenty of working room on the top plate. I can easily fit my kettle on to it and although I have not cooked on the stove, you can get up to a medium sized pan on it.

The top coating of paint seems hardy and so far, apart from the usual usage marks there has been no peeling/flaking/ chipping of the paint which was one of my concerns.

Ember tray:



Also at the front, you have the ember tray (made from the bottom panel). This protrudes 4.5 cm from the front and is 14.4 cm wide. This gives a decent size area to catch any embers that fall out when opening the door. In my opinion, all stoves should have this safety feature as it can help to minimize any damage done by loose coals.

Legs:



The stove sits on four 10.9cm angle steel legs that are made from 3mm steel. Each leg is set at an angle to give a more stable base and they have been heavily welded on to the bottom plate.

Two of the legs have a 10mm hole drilled into the outside edge. These holes are to give you the option of being able to pin the stove down for more stability when used on bare ground or to fix into place if using the stove in a shed, boat, live in vehicle etc. I think this is an excellent little feature to have as it allows the stove to be more secure and thus safer when in use.

Also on each of the back legs welded to the back edge there is an 11cm x 4cm shaped length of metal. These pieces allow you to slide and secure a back reflector plate (included in the Blaze -Flue kit) onto the stove.

I am very confident in the security of the legs; there has been no sign of weakness or cracks in the welds or the legs themselves.

The door:



I love the way this door has been made. Not only is it functional but it is like a little work of art and you can see the time and effort that has been put into it. It can also be detached from the stove.

The door itself measures 14.8 x 20.5 and is 4mm thick.



On the left hand side, there are two hinges. These are made from a 3.2cm wide strip of metal that has been forged into shape. The curl at the end, allows the door to sit securely onto the pins on the front of the stove. Each hinge is attached securely to the door by two rivets.

On the right hand side, you have the door handle/latch this is made up of two parts. Firstly, you have the “arm” which is simply an 8cm x 1.5 cm strip of metal. It attaches to the door at one end with a rivet and has a pair of washers to allow the movement of the arm. At the other end, the handle has been welded on. I love the design of this. It is 10.5cm high (which gives enough to hold safely) and is made up from three strands of metal twisted and ends in a ball.



When I asked about the design of the handle I was told that it was done this way to help disperse the heat quickly and to stop the handle from getting too hot to touch. I was a bit skeptical at first but have been gladly proven wrong. Although the handle does heat up, I have never had it so that I could not open it up with my bare hands.

Just below the middle, there is the vent. This is a 3mm thick disc 10.5cm in diameter it is attached to the door by a thick bolt. It has three equally spaced holes that are 2.5cm in diameter. These correspond to matching holes in the door. You control the airflow by turning the disc, making the holes bigger or smaller, very simple but very effective. To turn the disc there is an 11cm long shaped rod of metal that is welded onto it. Again the shape of this vent handle has been designed stop help disperse heat and although it help I have found that it heats up to a higher temperature than the door handle.



On the back of the door, there is a strip of metal and a plate welded on. To help seal the door when closed, you have a length of fire rope running all the way around the strip of metal. The fire rope does the job very well, when you lock the door down it sits tight against the front and I have not had any leakages of smoke coming from it.

Blaze-Flue Kit:



This flue kit is specifically designed for the Blaze stove. It is very simple to put together but you do need half an hour and a few power tools first off to get it prepared, so I would suggest doing all this at home, as it makes it easier.

It is very strong and lightweight and all the components fit easily enough and secure together.

Components:

Flue:



The chimney/ flue come in two lengths a short and a long. Both are made from a lightweight 1mm grade 1 steel. The longer section is 100cm and the shorter 50cm in length both have a diameter of 4”. Both pipes have one end chamfered down so that it fits easily into their corresponding slots as well as a single ridge. The other ends are also ridged and this is to allow the locking bands to grip and secure the sections together.

Locking bands:

The kit comes with two locking bands and these are for securing both sections together and the witch’s hat to the flue. They are made from a 2cm band of steel, are tightened down via the clips, and a bolt with a square nut. The locking bands slide over the ridged sections of the pipes and once tightened down secure everything together very well. The only down side is you need to have some sort of flat headed screwdriver or Allen key with you to tighten. This doesn’t bother me however as I have one on my SAK and if I am using the stove I am not planning to count grams.

Witches hat:



The witches hate is also made from a 12.9 section of the same pipe. It has the single ridge to allow it to attach to the flue. Three 1.5cm support struts have been spot welded onto the pipe these support the top plate. Each strut has a hole drilled into the bottom. This is so that you can attach guy lines to the chimney in windy conditions.

Although I haven’t had to use them, yet it will be very useful if the weather ever turns bad on me. The top plate is a pressed 23.2cm diameter disc of 1mm steel. The edge has been folded to give it rigidity. The witches hat does its job well. It has a large cover area to stop the rain getting down into the stove and I haven’t yet had any problems with it.

Collar back plate and silicone collar:



The collar back plate is a 7.5 cm x 7.5cm square of 1mm thick aluminium. It has a 9 cm diameter hole cut out which gives plenty of spare room for the flue pieces. On side of the plate is plain while the other has a protective plastic coating.

The silicone collar is a 7.5cm x 7.5 cm moulded heat resistant silicone. The cone itself is ridged with each ridge having a different measurement on it. This allows it to accommodate piping from 102mm up to 210 mm. It is very flexible and seals well against the flue pipe. For a bit of rigidity and strength it is edged with a square of 2.5cm wide aluminium.

The collar sits on the outside of the tent and the back plate on the inside with the tent material sandwiched in between. They are held in place by ten bolts and wing nuts.

This is where you need to do a little bit of preparation. Firstly, you need to drill 10 holes in the collar edge and matching holes in the back plate you then need to carefully present it up on the tent and punch the holes into the canvas. Once you have both pieces bolted on, you can use the back plate as a cutting guide and cut the flue hole in the tent. I have to say this is a horrible part and it doesn’t feel right cutting a big hole into your tent.

Ladder tape:

With the kit, you get a 1m roll of glass fibre, ladder tape. This is 15 mm x 3mm and is backed by some sort of double-sided tape. Now I had trouble a bit of trouble using this tape. Firstly, although I followed the instructions, I wasted my first strip by trying to get it stretched enough so that it wouldn’t bunch up, and it eventually lost it stickiness after I moved it a couple of times. Secondly, when I did get it stretched enough it just kept coming off when I was twisting the pipe into the flue collar on the stove. Lastly, I noticed that when I did have it in place and the fire was going it would peel off as the stove heated up.

Now, the tape is designed to seal any gaps between the stove and the flue section and I was a bit concerned at first that this was happening. I kept a very careful eye on this, as I did not want any leaks. As always, I had my carbon monoxide and smoke detector with me and both were reading normal. I did ask about this problem and it turns out that the ladder tape isn’t always needed. Therefore, I started using the stove without it and I have not had any problems yet. I always have the carbon monoxide and smoke alarm not matter what and I would suggest that anybody using a stove inside gets themselves one. They do not cost a lot and could alert you to any problems with your stove and even save a life.

Safety:

The blaze stove has been designed with safety in mind. Firstly, with the position of the four legs and the ability to peg it down combined with the fact that when you have everything set up, it helps to hold the stove in place, this makes for great stability and even if you bump it , it is not going to move much.

The silicone flashing has been made to withstand temperatures of up to 240 degrees Celsius and as long as you follow the fitting instruction carefully, you should have no problems with the chimney itself. I think it is a good idea to have a thermometer, to see what temperatures you are reaching and to make sure you are not reachingtemperatures that can do damage to the collar.

Also the stove has been designed so that it reduces the chance of carbon monoxide build up. It purposely has a small firebox this means that unless it is attended to the fire will go out. The longest I have had it running for, without seeing to it is 1 hr 25 min. You definitely cannot stack it up so that it will last you the whole night. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use common sense, you should be perfectly safe using the stove.

In use:




Setting up:

The first couple of times you set the stove up are the most difficult and I would recommend that you have another person there to help until you get used to it as it can be a bit awkward when placing the stove and getting the flue through the silicone collar. However, saying that, fitting all the parts together is straightforward and now I can set it up on my own in under 10 min. packing away is easy and you should be able to do it on your own in no time. It is a good idea to leave the sili collar and collar back plate in situ so as to avoid fatigue of the canvas with taking the screws in and out each time.

The first time I used the stove, in my eagerness, I made the mistake of not burning it off before it went anywhere near the tent. I would strongly suggest you do this as it did leave a harsh smell in the SoulPad for a good hour even with the doors and vent open.

When I first got the stove, I was worried that it would take it ages to heat the tent up as it is a big tent but boy was I wrong. I got the fire going and using stick up to an inch in diameter, it took about 15 min of continual stacking for the tent to be toasty. I was very impressed by how much heat it pumps out and you do not need to use big logs in it to get it up to this point.

Maintaining the fire is very easy once you have it going. Using the vent properly, checking it regularly and making sure it is stacked properly will keep the fire burning nicely and you can easily maintain and regulate the heat. There have been a few times when it has been too hot in the tent and I have had to open up the vents in the SoulPad to let some of the heat out.

The Blaze stove was made to burn wood only as other materials can burn to hot and can cause damage to the sili collar.

The coldest I have slept out in with the stove has been minus 4. I lit the fire about an hour before I went to sleep and got up to stack it twice and I was very cosy. At one point, I even had to unzip my sleeping bag.

One thing I make sure I do is empty the ashes and brush any loose build up on the walls every morning. There is no ash pan so you just have to scoop it from the bottom and it can get everywhere if you are not careful so I like to keep a little companion set by the stove so I can keep it all tidy.

The stove-top is great to boil water on and I like to keep a small kettle topped up all the time it is burning, as it means there is always hot water. You can cook on it as well but I tend only to use anything that can be done in boiling, noodles, boiled eggs etc. The reason is simply I do not want any grease build up on the tent walls if I was doing any frying and the manufacturers state that there isn’t a designated cooking area inside the tent.

Conclusion:

I love this little stove. It has certainly performed a lot better than I was anticipating especially in regards to the amount of heat it puts out. There have been a couple of times when I have come in from the pouring rain into a warm tent and it really makes a difference in terms of morale and being able to quickly dry kit out. It has enabled myself and the kids to enjoy colder weather camps and will be a boon for when we start to have the N.E.S winter meets, as we will be able to sit in the warm and dry and do our bits and pieces in comfort.

Another great thing about it is it does dry the tent out itself in a very short period in time and after heavy rain the tent has to be dry before being packed away.

Obviously, this is not a lightweight item and it is intended for base camping. For me it is worth the space and weight because it makes staying out that more comfortable and enjoyable. Also it allows us to enjoy camping all throughout the year.
I have used this stove regularly and have not yet come across any major problems. All the welding and joins are solid and neat and the heat resistant paint has not come off anywhere. None of the flue sections or fittings have warped in any way.

For a handcrafted item, the workmanship is of a high quality and the art gone into making it has really shone through.

All the best
Craig

( PS thanks to Andy for some of the photos :) )
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
12
Scotland
Wow! What a cracking, informative and well done report. Cheers for posting that up. The stove's a beaut. Would quite like one of them, makes my Frontier look a wee bit ugly.

I know a certain chap who has a similar bell tent who'll be most interested to read that review.

Cheers for posting it up, again great post and pictures too.

ATB,
GB.