Area51 Mike's Hot Tent Woodstove 1.0 Project:

As you've probably read, Mark French and I are putting together a couple of hot tents for this winter's ice fishing season. This will allow us to better enjoy the outdoors on miserable days and have the ability to stay out overnight or longer on bigger adventures. Of course to have a hot tent you need a stove, after watching Chuck Porter's success on his YouTube channel with woodstoves in pop up ice shelters, we were sold on that plan.


Related Article:

Mike's Woods Arctic 4 Hot Tent Project

I actually picked up this stove at Princess Auto over the summer as it was inexpensive and on sale for $65. It was decently well made, 18" deep and approximately 12" round. It had a few design flaws and created quite a hum of burnt Chineseium on the initial burn off. I knew the chimney would probably have to be modified to suit the shelter and the door set up was terrible, more on that later.


The stove fit inside the shelter perfectly and like Chuck Porter, I will use a welding blanket to shield the tent fabric from close by stove heat.



I had a custom stove jack made by Greg Russell in Portugal Cove for the chimney to safely exit the shelter. It's a fire proof/burn proof material that replaces one of the windows. Like the original window it attaches with Velcro so the clear panel can be reinstalled if necessary.



For the pipe to exit through the stove jack I needed to add two 45 degree bends to the pipe. I decided to do this by making pie cuts from a length of 2.5" exhaust pipe. Each pie cut is made of 2x7.5 degree cuts. I marked a guide line down the length of pipe to align with marks on the chop saw clamp. This will keep all the cuts aligned and on the same axis.



I stacked the cuts and held them together with high heat silicone tape while I tack welded them together.



This was also my long overdue initial run of my new Lincoln Mig Pak 180 wire feed/mig welder. It's a 240v unit, I'm not currently set up with shielding gas so I ran the welder on flux core wire for the time being. It splatters a heck of a lot more but got the job done.







When your welds are not pretty you hit them with a grinder using a flap disc. This exposed some holes and indentations so I spot welded to fill them in and hit it with the grinder once again.





Lastly I wrapped the cap with steel mesh to help control sparks and flankers.





With the chimney complete it was on to replacing and upgrading the door. The original door was warped and leaking a lot of smoke. The damper was terrible, there was no keeping it tight. The hinge was a single pin and very loose as was the latch.



I cut the works of it off and started again with a better design in mind.



First a new door of similar shape but thicker material was made.



The new door would be supported by dual hinges. I wanted the hinges to sit flat to ensure maximum sealing so I placed a spacer bar made from the door material below the hinge on the stove body.





With the hinges welded in place it was on to the latch. I also took the time to re-weld all the leg supports. The OEM welds were worse than mine and the leg brackets themselves only bolted to the stove body with questionable hardware.





To make the lever handle I undercut the inside of the bend, bent it in my vice then welded the inside corner.





The lever slides into a pie shaped latch which tightens the door the further you press the lever down.





Next was the new damper. I wanted a simple and reliable design so I chose a swinging door style.



The damper lever can be completely swung open or placed in 2 partially open notches on the latch or completely closed on the inner most notch.



I drilled a number of evenly spaced 5/8" holes in the door for great ventilation, the only hole that does not align with the pattern is the one which allows the lever pivot bolt to pass through. I also added a piece of angle iron to the inside of the door to help prevent warping.





Next the entire stove was re-coated in brush on Tremclad high heat stove paint to keep it looking great.







Overall the stove worked well on my first adventure: Mike's Hot Tent Shakedown, but there were a few changes I needed to make. The stove leaked a little smoke around the door, but leaked a lot of smoke when opened to refuel. I believe constant winds played a part so I plan to make an H-shaped chimney cap and to apply a door gasket to the door.



To make the H-cap I picked up more 2.5" exhaust pipe. I don't have a tubing notcher so I improvised with my mini drill press and a bi-metal hole saw set. It was difficult to keep the pipe securely clamped in place but I got the job done, not 100%perfect but close.





A 2-1/4" hole saw was used to open the cross pipe at each joint.



The finished product came out great, hopefully it works well to prevent smoke back drafting into the shelter.



Lastly for now was the installation of 1/8" thick woodstove door gasket to better seal the door while it's latched closed. Now if the weather would only cooperate I can get out and give it a real world test!


Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith