Wood Stove and Chimney

Jotul 602 wood stove

When it came time to choose a heating system for the cabin, a wood stove was the logical choice.  Cut and dried firewood is very reasonable around here, and if I’m so inclined someday I have plenty of trees to cut my own.  The wood stove I selected was the diminutive Jotul 602.  It’s the smallest one they sell, and it’s still rated to heat up to 800 square feet – more than adequate for my needs.  Another stove I would have liked is the Morso 1410 (Squirrel) , although it doesn’t have a cookplate and only takes 12″ logs.

The first thing I had to do though was install a chimney.  For ease of installation, and low cost, I chose an insulated stainless steel chimney.  While there are many good brands to choose from, I went with Selkirk SuperVent mainly because it was available for a reasonable price at my local Menards.  The biggest decision with a chimney of this type is whether to go out through the top or the side.  If this was a single container without an added roof, the best option would be to go out the side.  Since I have a roof over my containers, and I like the look of a chimney going through the roof, I chose the roof exit.  In all honesty though, going through the side would be much easier if you don’t mind that look.

Chimney roof support in attic

If you choose to go out the roof like I did, you might wonder how you are going to support the chimney.  All of the chimney support boxes I saw at the store seemed inappropriate for the top of a shipping container.  A quick call to the people at Selkirk solved my problem.  They make a generic roof support that was just the ticket for supporting the chimney on the container roof.  It wasn’t an in stock item at my local Menards, but I was able to special order it through them.

Installation of the roof support itself was pretty easy.  I first cut a hole through the roof of the container just large enough to pass the chimney through.  I then made a 2×4 frame with interior dimensions of 12″x12″ – this provides the required 2″ air space to combustibles for my 8″ OD chimney pipe.  I then attached the roof support to a 2′ section of chimney, dropped it down through the hole, and finally screwed the roof support to the 2×4 frame.  A final adjustment was needed to make sure the insulated chimney extended a minimum of 3 1/2 inches below the ceiling, and then the clamping bolts of the roof support were tightened.  To seal everything up, I applied Rutland 600° RTV Silicone Sealant around the chimney both inside and outside of the container roof.  I also used some silicone to secure the 2×4 frame to the container roof – it seemed to work well.

Chimney with stove pipe adapter

Inside the cabin you can see the insulated chimney penetrating about 4″ into the interior along with the required stove pipe adapter screwed in.  To hide the hole, and the large amount of red silicone sealant I used, I was able to slide an 8″ black stove pipe decorative ring over the chimney to give the installation a more professional appearance.  I will probably try to paint the exposed stainless steel chimney black sometime in the future for appearance sake, but for now it works as it’s supposed to.

While installing the roof support was easy, running the chimney through the finished metal roof was not.  I did frame an opening for the chimney when I built the roof, so that was OK.  The problem was cutting through the steel ridge cap and roofing panels.  The thin steel had no support in that area and flopped around when trying to cut it with either my jig saw or RIDGID multi-tool.  I finally gave up and just cut the opening out with hand snips from underneath the roof.  It’s definitely not pretty, but it works and you can’t see it from the outside.  I have to keep telling myself that it’s just a cabin.

Wood stove connected to chimney

The Jotul is connected to the chimney with double walled stove pipe.  I could have used single wall pipe, but it would have cost more for a larger heat shield around the stove.  I have two 47″ wide by 36″ tall galvanized steel panels that I will be installing on the walls around the stove – with a 1″ airspace behind.  Single wall stove pipe would have required the steel panels to run up to within an inch of the ceiling.

Just a quick comment on the hearth pad.  It is composed of a 2×4 frame (laid flat) on the floor, 3/4″ plywood, 1/2 DUROCK cement board, and ceramic tile with grout on top.  A good article on building hearth pads can be found at the Woodstock Soapstone Company.

I got the chance to try everything out this last weekend and it seems to work well.  The temps were right around freezing, and it had no problem keeping the cabin warm.  I still need to test it out on one of those really cold below zero weekends just to be sure though.  The only issue with the 602 is that it isn’t large enough to heat through a cold night on a single loading.  Someone is going to have to feed it at least once during the night.

14 thoughts on “Wood Stove and Chimney

  1. Michael Popenhagen

    Love your blog. Your cabin is very cool and inspiring. I’ve booked marked it and keep returning to see your progress.

    I have 20 acres in northern Michigan and I’m wanting to build a cabin on it. I’ve been kicking around a lot of ideas. Maybe you mentioned this and I missed it but did you need to pull permits or are building codes relax in this area?

    I can’t build anything less then 720 sq feet, then I need septic/well. So I’m trying to find a solution where I don’t have to build that big but meet all the requirements for the zoning board. Right now I have a park model travel trailer up there. There’s no issue with it since it’s licensed so, doesn’t fall under all the zoning requirements.

    1. Steve Post author


      I’m fortunate in that the building codes are very relaxed in my area. My building permit cost me a whole $5, and there are no inspections necessary at any point during or after construction. They did an exterior inspection of it for the tax rolls, and have classified it a storage building. BTW, I did state it was a cabin when applying for the permit.

      If you are unsure about being able to live in a 720 sq ft home, browsing the Tiny House Design website may change your mind.


  2. Ron

    Hi Steve,
    As far as the wood stove thing goes did at any point did you think of doing the pellet stove. ? I wish you all the luck in the world with your home as i want to do the same out in AZ. will check back to see how you are going. Oh and thanks for posting it is a good inspiration for the rest of us to live a dream.

    1. Steve Post author


      Never considered a pellet stove, although I have heard good things about them. If this was my permanent home, a pellet stove would probably make a lot of sense. With a wood stove though I can cut my own firewood if I need/want to, but I can’t make pellets for a pellet stove.

      Let me know when you start building yours.


  3. Woody Strohm

    Steve: Just touching in for the second time. 2 items that I wanted to toufh on. I saw another container cabin where they had insulated on non-opening walls with straw bales. Did you ever consider? One other thing that I have found for heat, soda can heaters. You can find them on Youtube and the rest of the web. Great inexpensive way to heat the cabin. Other than the windows/door facing south, do you have any other windows?

    As always, great job. Woody

    1. Steve

      Hi Woody:

      I have heard of straw bales on the outside of containers for insulation, but I have never seen a picture of one. I think it would be difficult with my cabin since it is so high off the ground, and more importantly, I really want the low maintenance of a steel exterior. I could probably have saved a bunch compared to spray foam though since straw is pretty cheap around here.

      My south facing windows already do an excellent job warming up the cabin on a sunny day, so I’m not sure I would go through the extra effort for additional solar heating. My biggest problem is keeping the cabin warm throughout the night. While my small wood stove is a good fit for my cabin, the burn time just isn’t long enough to last the night. I’ve found that I need to get up twice during the night to refill it when it is really cold out (~ 0 F).

      In regards to more windows, my plan is to install one or more steel weld-in ships portholes on the north side. They come with 3/4″ tempered glass and an interior metal dead cover for additional security. I’ve seen a fair number of container buildings with portholes on the net. Here’s a link to the ones I’m looking at: http://www.freemanmarine.com/CommercialPortlights700.htm


  4. robin yates

    I recently saw a suggestion for porthole type windows and was quite impressed by it. The front door of a washing machine has a strong “plastic” window. Just an idea

    1. Steve Post author


      I had seen those on Relaxshax’s Blog, and it’s definitely an interesting and unique idea. For my purposes though, I don’t feel they have the same security as a ships porthole. If I was building a tree fort for my kids it would be awesome.


  5. Ines I.

    Hi, I find your website just now (thanks to Tiny House Blog). I think your design is really cool, and all the information about the building process you have place in here is gonna be very usefull to me.
    I’m about to build my container home next autumn (next march or april, really, I’m in Uruguay, South America), and I’ve been reading a great deal about alternative construction methods (here, standard method implies the use of brick and concrete, everything beside that, like plywood and such, are “dry building methods”, and a complete mistery in Uruguay)
    In any case, I’m also planning to place a stove, and after much reading I choose an argentinian highly efficient model. But I also have read a great deal about stoves and security and such, and I wonder if you have consider one of the Blaze King stove models.
    The Blaze King Princess is the stove I would have had if I could get it here in Uruguay. I don’t know if Blaze King Stoves are too expensive in the US, but they can burn for really long periods of time when full loaded (they burn for almost an entire day when loaded and left alone). http://www.wiseheat.com/wood-stoves/Blaze_King_Princess_Ultra_PEJ1006
    I hope you find a way to solve that problem. I will keep visiting your webpage, I really like it. Saludos from Uruguay

    1. Steve Post author


      Glad to hear you’ll be building with containers, please keep in touch and let me know how it goes. I hadn’t heard of the Blaze King stoves before, but I did just check out Hearth.com and several posters there had nice things to say about them. I really limited my stove research to just the smallest wood stoves that I could find – basically the Jotul 602 and Morso Squirrel. I think it’s important to properly size a stove so it operates at optimum temperatures to avoid creosote buildup. I’m going to experiment with some different wood next winter to see if I can find a longer burning species.


      1. Joseph Raymond

        Concerning small stoves, don’t forget the Englander 17-VL and the Amesti Nordic 380 (sold at Lowes around here). Both nice small plate steel stoves. The Englander can be bough factory direct from overstockstoves.com for $550 and I just got a Nordic 380 from Lowes on clearance for $399. We had also looked at the Jotul 602 and Morso 1440 Squirrel but couldn’t afford either one.

  6. Lech

    Hello Steve,
    Have you used any inspection pipe in in your chimney? I’m going to build a chimney for small Jotul and I wonder what parts do I need in it…

    1. Steve Post author


      I’ve never heard of “inspection pipe” for wood stoves and I even tried Googling it and couldn’t find anything. I’d be interested in knowing more about it though. As to what parts you might need, here’s what I used:

      I used the following Selkirk SuperVent items for the chimney:
      6″x24″ insulated stovepipe
      6″x36″ insulated stovepipes (2)
      6″ deluxe rain cap
      6″ stove pipe adapter
      6″ ceiling support
      6″ storm collar
      6″ locking bands (3)

      I also used the following to connect the stove to the chimney:
      Heat-fab 6″x38″-70″ adjustable 22 ga pipe pipe



  7. John H.

    If you are a man you neednt worry about getting up in the middle of the night to restoke the stove. As you age you will be getting up anyway…trust me.


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