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Wood Burner Installed

Our wood burner is officially installed! This was the last major project to do, and it’s so exciting now that it’s completed. We are in the full swing of summer, so I don’t think we are going to need it for a while, but the option is there… Now we just work on smaller projects like window blinds, cabinet doors, and trim. I love our cozy little home.

Laying Tile

Our awesome coworker has a tile saw and a lot of DIY expertise, so we took the Cuddlebus for a little trip over to her house and learned the ropes. We laid tile on the base platform for our fireplace. It took about three hours just for this section, but now we feel like we have the basic knowledge to do it on our own. We will finish up the backsplash today, then leave the bus at her house for a few days to let it cure before driving it home to grout. We have separation anxiety already! We will have to be patient, but maybe this means we’ll have some free time to go and see a movie or something. 🙂 What a crazy thought!

Tankless Water Heater – Hours of Showers

Our tankless water heater arrived, and it is really big and heavy! The product photo on Amazon made it look half the size. But honestly, I’m not worried about having hot water now, this should do the job. (Ok, certainly not “hours of showers”, but long enough to suds up and rinse off.)

We added some extra support to the garage wall and did a test fit. The tankless water heater will sit just to the side of the little hobbit hatch from the main cabin, and on the other side of the wall to the right (not walled in yet) is the shower, so the lines don’t have to run far. Hooray for hot showers!

Prepping for Fireplace pt. 2

Measuring and cutting things when the angles are odd is super hard (and every angle is odd when you’re building out a bus). Brad got tired of it, and tried a new strategy when it came time to cut the concrete board for the fireplace. He laid out scraps of cardboard, made sure the edges fit snugly into the space, then taped them all together. This made a perfect template to trace on the concrete board for the cuts. It made the job so much easier.

Now our platform is ready for the final step of tiling, and then we can place our wood burner and start making fire!

Prepping for Fireplace

There are a lot of special requirements for installing a wood burner in a bus or van. The owner at Unforgettable Fire (who sold us our Kimberly stove) walked us through everything we needed to know for safety.

For starters, the stove pipe cannot / should not have a shoulder joint like what we had hoped for to go out the side of the bus instead of the top. This is so that the smoke will be lifted up and out, and not build up unnecessary creosote inside, which is a fire risk. It helps with the air draw.

Then the materials around the stove (in the ceiling, wall, and floor) need to be able to handle high temperatures. XPS foam board near a stove that gets too hot will melt and release toxins into the air. Very bad! The recommended insulation is ceramic, which is this thick mat of spun ceramic fibers. It can handle very high temperatures and disperses the heat. Over the top of the ceramic should be concrete board for it’s heat resistance. This should all be secured with high heat resistant adhesive.

The stove itself should have a six inches of clearance around it and the stove pipe.

This changes our plan a little bit, but we can be adaptable since it is for safety. 🙂 We removed the foam board from the wall and ceiling with a (minimum) six inch clearance around the stove and pipe.

For the ceiling – we will wrap the pipe in six inches of ceramic, and fill the rest of the space with denim insulation (the blue stuff).

For the wall – we filled the empty space with denim insulation, held in place by plywood. Over that will be a second layer of ceramic insulation, then concrete board.

For the floor – first we had to deal with the issue of the tracks in the floor. The tracks are slightly raised, and make an uneven surface to work with. To fix this, we re-applied a square section of the original rubber flooring, which raised it back up to the track height. Over the top we did two layers of plywood to prep the space for concrete board.

You can see from the photos that the fire space is still recessed a bit below the level of the floor, but this will raise up even higher when we install the concrete board and finish with tile over the top.

Mini Wood Burner

We picked up our little wood burner for the bus yesterday. It’s designed for RVs and boats so it’s small, it has a secondary combustion chamber for efficient, clean burning, and will burn a single pressed wood log through the night. And you can cook on top. Hooray for heat!!

It turns out the manufacturer is local (small world!), so we could just pick it up instead of having it shipped.

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