The Little Cod wood stove by Navigator Stove Works is going to be my primary source of heat in the Airstream. These stoves are made only by request and it can take well over six months for a stove to be ready so order with plenty of advance notice. For obvious reasons, it is extremely important that this is installed correctly, though it is possible to do it yourself. Make sure to check local fire codes for proper installation procedures. I will explain, in detail, the process that I used to install mine and a little about the stove itself.
The Little Cod is very small weighing only 66lbs, compared to the smallest conventional wood stove which is close to 300lbs. It measures approximately 13x18x 13.75 deep and you can have an optional glass window installed or have it painted. I opted for the glass window but decided to do the painting myself.
Below, the box when it is opened. The stove comes with a 4″ damper, mounting legs, 2 removable elements and a little handle for the elements. If you go for the unpainted one, it looks as below. I painted mine classic black but Navigator offers many colours to choose from. For stoves that are unpainted, be sure to apply a first coat of high temperature stove paint as soon as possible, as rusting will occur without.
Navigator will also sell you the stove pipe in different lengths and for a 4″ diameter pipe, its a good idea to order as it is not standard and its difficult to find in typical fireplace stores, most of which use 6″. The insulated chimney for the exterior is also sold in sections.
You will need several additional items to mount the chimney correctly:
– pipe boot (I recommend talking to them on the phone to determine which boot would suit your needs, certain materials are made for certain temperatures) – stove pipe (available through Navigator Stove Works)
– storm collar (available through Navigator Stove Works) – rain cap (available through Navigator Stove Works)
– high temp silicon (comes with pipe boot from pipebootexpress.com, also available at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.)
– stove thermometer (available at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.)
In the first photo below, you can see the two sections of external chimney. The shorter one gets mounted permanently to the roof flashing on the roof and the second is easily removable for travel. On top of the second piece there will be a rain cap. The second photo is the pipe boot which is made from high temp silicon and gets fastened over the roof flashing. In the third photo, we have the smaller chimney pipe with the roof flashing on the bottom, this part gets secured to the Airstream roof and holds the chimney in place. Its important to let the flashing hold the weight of the chimney and not the woodstove.
Before we get too far into the chimney install, we should position the stove correctly and for that we need a fireproof stand. I wanted the stove to come off the floor so as to make putting wood on the fire easier but also so that the flame is viewable from the couch, and most importantly to meet the clearances required. To do this, we made a fireplace hearth out of a combination of fire code cement board, ceramic tile, and stainless steel. This does add a bit of weight to the install but nowhere near the 300lbs a conventional wood stove would, and even that would still need some kind of hearth built anyway. In the first photo above, you can see some of the cut plywood shapes to build the frame. Below, the basic structure is built, the wood is stained to match the cupboards, the cement fire board is under the tile and it has been grouted. There is plenty of storage space underneath for logs, a fireplace shovel, etc. Next, the stainless steel backing is added. This part you will have to have custom made to fit your hearth. Any local metal fabrication shop can do this.
Below are a couple photos of the rear of the stainless steel backing. The steel has been folded to cover the edges and more cement fire board is placed behind and secured into place with stainless hardware. The entire structure is bolted to the floor and now the minimum clearances have been reduced so that the stove will fit and the layout of the Airstream is not compromised. Note: The wood stove itself must be secured to the hearth. To do this you will need to drill into ceramic tile which requires a special diamond tipped drill bit. They are available at any hardware store but they are quite different than standard bits and require cooling by immersing in water for every couple seconds of use. Have a small cup of water on hand when using this bit and take your time, it will take several attempts to get through the ceramic. Once the holes are drilled, use stainless hardware to secure the stove. Do not use locking nuts with the acrylic rings as the heat will transfer through the legs and melt them. Use stainless lock washers and nuts.
The stove pipe is attached in sections. Install the damper 30″ above the stove itself and use wood stove cement to secure the pipe to the stove. The second section of pipe is attached with metal screws. Once everything is aligned, cut a hole in the ceiling. The minimum clearance from the insulated exterior chimney wall to any combustible is 1″ but we removed more than twice that amount of the spray foam between the layers of interior and exterior aluminum just to be extra cautious. From outside, you can now attach the exterior insulated chimney to the interior stove pipe using the pipe adapter.
Below are some photos from outside the trailer, on the roof. The pipe boot fits over the flashing and a high temperature silicon sealant is used. It is then riveted to the shell of the Airstream and the storm collar is placed around the chimney and tightened.
Below is the finished chimney install.
Back inside, I have filled the base of the wood stove with sand as recommended by the manufacturer. A fire brick would be fine, but they do not fit in this size stove.
Navigator Stove Works recommends having 5 small fires in the wood stove to break it in, before having a large fire. I let the stove completely cool between each fire. It took a few attempts to properly get a fire going, but once I figured out the damper in combination with the bottom air intake, its very easy and very fast to get a good fire going. A fire could reach 250C in approximately 10 minutes.
And some firewood…