I seem to be getting over my chimney fire phobia.
I put in this new woodstove 23 months ago, and for two winters I feared really cranking it up which made it hard to keep lit at all. As everybody knows – and as everybody told me – once you get it good and hot it draws just fine but you’ve got to get it good and hot. Which in turn means you’ve got to build a nice enthusiastic fire in it, and after what happened in February 2012 that scared the hell out of me.
I knew intellectually that there was nothing more to worry about. I cleaned my stovepipe regularly – indeed obsessively – but it didn’t help. A good roaring, crackling fire always made me lunge for the dampers. But so far this winter I seem to be over that. I’m cheating with commercial firestarters, which saves a lot of work in laying the fire, and only use juniper when the iron is already hot. And I get it good and hot to start, and so far that doesn’t send my little heart going pitty-pat the way it always did last winter and the one before that.
Of course the new problem with that is what I’ve always known, which is that this stove can drive me right out of my little cabin. I don’t really want it 85o in here.