A wood burning stove is basically any enclosure that burns fuel inside to enable heat to be spread through its exterior. It has taken many forms, but the usual and modern construction materials are cast iron and other steel or metals.
However, there are other types of stoves which make use of masonry such as tiles, bricks, and stones. These masonry wood burning stoves are also known as Swedish type stoves. They have been in use for many centuries and are still in use today. They can be built fixed to a house or in free standing units.
What makes a masonry or Swedish wood burning stove so different, aside from its construction material? Take a look at the rest of the lest below.
What Makes Swedish Stoves Different?
- Material of Construction – a Swedish wood burning stove is made of several bricks or tiles. The bricks are the main conductor of heat. The bricks must be arranged carefully so as not to stress the entire stove with the changes in expansion the inside undergoes as compared to the outside of the stove.
- Heat Build Up and Dissipation – unlike metals, stone take a lot longer to heat up. But by the same toke, it also lets heat dissipate slowly, so it can keep warm longer. It just needs sufficient time for the stone to get to the right temperature, then it can slowly release the heat. This means it needs a bit less fuel as it can absorb and dissipate the heat in a much slower manner.
- Fuel – the fuel used by Swedish stoves is mainly ones that burn bright and fast. Any kindling such as soft wood, biomass material such as dried twigs and leaves, can be used. The aim of the fire is to burn very hot so that the bricks can absorb the heat at once. The higher temperatures also make for a more complete combustion.
- Exterior Temperature – since the release of the heat is slower than iron or metal, the exterior of the Swedish stove is cooler and in some cases can even be cool to the touch. It is the masonry inside the heater that is very hot and which release heat slowly to its outside surface.
- General Use – Because of its slow start-up, and long heat dissipation, it is very suitable for climates which are cold for very long periods of time and for houses which are occupied on a daily basis. It won’t be able to instantly heat up a house unlike cast iron stoves.
- Weight – the stone needed in its construction is fairly heavy so it does need special supports to bear its weight.
While the large and often outlandish Swedish Stoves of yore may be difficult to make today, there are free standing units which continue to be made. They make use of either ceramic tiles or even new types of masonry and plaster to make a uniform coating on the bricks inside. They are made even more efficient with the right size of pipes used in the flue.