So, the stove.
You may have noticed I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post for quite some time… Truth to tell, it was probably the most painful project we have completed so far. Not least because so much was riding on it – having barely survived our first winter with the temperamental 25 year old diesel-guzzling monster boiler we inherited (rusted chimney and all), a good new multifuel stove installation was always going to be essential this time around – especially as our little bun was due deep in the darkest depths of January.
First, we had to insulate the hull behind where the stove would go, as we wouldn’t have such easy access once the new stove and its gravity fed system went in.
Cue: much cursing as the Owl mastered the dark art of spray foam and got it all over the floor in the process (no photos here as I was too busy being annoyed…)
Our next ‘interesting’ (read: MAD) decision was to make the tiles for the hearth. We made them, but they took about two months longer than anticipated (squeezing in evenings and weekends around full time jobs and being pregnant) and didn’t all turn out amazingly (sadly I’m even worse at glazing than I thought I was).
Still, we got there, and found these great tilers on Check-a-Trade to come and install them. They thought the tiles were so great that one of them subsequently went and did an introductory pottery class at my old studio, Turning Earth in Hoxton! So that made me happy.
Sadly there is no check-a-trade for boats. God, how I wish there was. Instead, of the 16 boat yards we emailed last summer about installing the superduper-all-singing-all-dancing stove we’d chosen, only two got back to us. And only one of them wanted to do it. And they rinsed us.
I still don’t know where we went wrong here, and I’ve been chewing over it for months now. We probably shouldn’t have bought the stove until we’d found an installer who knew what they were doing, and we should have allowed a (now standard for all our outsourced boat work) 3 month contingency for any setbacks, delays and let downs.
The stove we chose is a Charnwood Cove 2B (model: Cove, size: 2, B = with a back boiler).
Here it is on its plinth at Christmas, awaiting insulation and installation:
The Charnwood Cove 2B is, according to the lovely and knowledgable guy at the Kings Worthy foundry whose idea it was in the first place*, the “Rolls Royce of stoves” – which unfortunately meant that having bought it, we couldn’t find anyone who knew how to install it on a boat.
Not that that stopped the guys we ended up with giving it a go. Normally you’d find a load of local corgi(?) registered installation engineers and pick one. But because we live on a boat, house rules do not apply and these guys wouldn’t touch it – we needed someone who could install it to the BSSC standard instead.
So to cut a long story short, a installation job that started in October was finally completed in the first week of January to dubious standard, and destroyed all that remained of our renovation budget. Suffice it to say we did not part on the best of terms with our contractors – BUT at least we got it installed, it’s still working despite a few frustrating hiccups that we think we’ve mostly mastered, and the boat was toasty and warm by the time I went into labour.
Look, here it is! And this makes us so happy it makes up for all the preceding hullabaloo:
So, we got there eventually, and we love it – it’s transformed our home in winter into a cosy den we don’t want to leave. And it’s such a great, dry heat that our port lights don’t drop condensation any more, even in the depths of winter when we’re drying washable nappies on the rack overnight.
* NB: We didn’t buy it from him – on his recommendation – so I believe him,and will forever think kindly of him.