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Thread: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

  1. #1
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    Default Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Some years back I got a screaming good deal on a Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater. Someone had bought it for their boat, never quite got around to installing it, and then finally decided that the project was never going to be realized, so put it up on Craigslist, which is were I snatched up for about half of what they were going for at a marine supply store at that time. Since then it's mostly been an ornament in the living room of my house, not unlike under its previous owner, but that sort of worked out well because I have since acquired a bigger boat (36' as opposed to 25'), which I think will be a more appropriate fit for this little fireplace. I have finally decided that this year is the year. I am going to install the stove.

    What I would like to ask the collective brain-trust here on the forum is this: how important is a flue damper to the operation of this little wood stove?

    In most of the pictures I've seen of them installed on boats no flue damper is used, but Dickinson offers one as a separate accessory. How vital is it that I incorporate a flue damper into my installation? I guess it's not really the end of the world because I can always add it on later with only a simple modification to the flue pipe. However, if it really is essential to have, then I might as well just buy it when I'm ordering everything else from them (like the flue pipe, deck fitting, charlie noble, etc...).

    Follow-up question: what about the barometric damper that Dickinson also offers as an accessory? Does that necessarily help any more or less than the regular flue damper? Would it be an important addition to my wood-stove set up?

    Thanks for your input!
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by..."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Update: I think I've begun to answer my own question in my head.

    Reasons that I should include a flue damper (as opposed to either no damper or a barometric damper):
    1) Helps seal in combustible gasses resulting in a more efficient fuel burn, meaning more heat and a longer burn
    2) Helps seal heat into the fire box resulting in it being thrown out into the cabin rather than lost to atmosphere via the charlie noble
    3) Results in slower/reduced airflow through the firebox and up the chimney, making the cabin less drafty as the fuel burns
    (I realize that the reduced airflow can also be accomplished with the different vent adjustments on the firebox itself but the flue damper definitely doesn't hurt)

    The barometric damper is still sort of lost on me, but I think I have at least convinced myself that the flue damper is a good idea.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by..."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Your thinking seems sound. The more control you have over the burn the better. Especially in such a small space.
    Itd be great if you could post photos of your installation progress.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Flue damper is critical on that heater to prevent runaway fires, especially if you are burning wood. It burns cooler and longer with charcoal.
    The barometric thingy is more about the diesel pot burner version. It prevents the heater from blowing out when someone opens a door or a stray breeze hits the chimney. It’s a super pita when the flame blows out on a hot stove. not so important on a solid fuel heater.
    DO use a thermometer on the stack , with wood, that lil bigger will run up to a thousand degrees in minutes, which will distort the heck out of the insides.
    I make up little bags of charcoal and pop em in rather than struggle with getting them in a few handfuls at a time
    Bruce

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    What wizbang says.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    In addition to what's been said above, a damper has an added benefit of cutting down on the draft in high winds. Gusty winds can make the stove burn surprisingly variably - a damper reduces that. Since a damper cuts down on draft surprisingly little when open, I'd put one in so you have the option. Make sure it has friction so it stays in the position you set.

    I've never heard of a barometric damper being used on a solid fuel stove - just oil & the like - but I don't claim to know everything!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    If you have downdraft trouble, extend the on deck pipe three feet and keep it hot. I do this by sliding a piece of four inch pipe over it. Sort of making my own insulated pipe. Cold rain and wind will cool it right down, killing the draft. Don’t forget a CO detector
    Bruce

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Wiz makes important points in both posts. "Insulating" the outside with a seecond larger diameter pipe over the hot stack really works. And make the stack as high as will fit under the boom. CO meter is about life and death as a boat is small space. And damper matters.

    My first winter living aboard the boat had a damperless small stove - soapstone same dimensions as the normal bulkhead heater. Adding a damper made awakening to a below freezing cabin versus the luxury of getting dressed in temperature in the mid '40s.

    Here's where I disagree with Wiz: added a regular damper. Good but . . . I switched from manual to barometric damper and never looked back through four boats heating with wood, charcoal, and coal. Once I got through the learning curve, the barometric was just right.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Here's where I disagree with Wiz: added a regular damper. Good but . . . I switched from manual to barometric damper and never looked back through four boats heating with wood, charcoal, and coal. Once I got through the learning curve, the barometric was just right.
    Could you elaborate more on this point? What is it about the barometric damper that is better? What effect did it have on overall performance and why?
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by..."

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    I've had one for years. No flu damper just a barometric one. Works great. I put charcoal bricks in brown paper lunch bags. I keep a few on board. Throw one in and light it and it keeps the cabin warm. The kids loved it after swimming. I'll put up a photo if I can find one. And my tea cup fits on top. 100_1028.jpg
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    Pay close attention to what Wiz and Ian have said. It appears that your experience with solid fuel stoves is limited. Get somebody to show you how to use it efficiently and safely. A damper is essential for controlling the amount of heat it puts out. As noted above, an uncontrolled solid fuel stove can get out of control fast, causing warping of the stove... or worse.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    London, England
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    Default Re: Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

    I had one with a damper, worked very well. Charcoal is the best fuel, proper lump wood. You can make up little parcels wrapped in paper, which makes fuelling easy. Until you’re used to how it burns with various fuels keep a very very close eye on it. I burnt some bbq briquettes, vile things, and the stove pipe started glowing red, which I did not like. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm.

    I was not very fond of the transfer picture of a barquentine on the ceramic tile on the front, but one positive outcome of the briquette incident was that the image burned off. I liked it better like that

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