Decisions & Heated Rant

Susan B. Anthony once said that “cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.”

Recently, I have been distracted by some changes happening both within me and also with regard to the decisions that I have made.  Some of the things that I am thinking about are personal while others are directly to do with Tiny House Ontario.

A couple of days ago I posted about my regret for not putting in a fruit cellar.  Now I have to confess that my mind might be changing regarding the type of furnace that I want to put into THO.  I have always, since the beginning of the project thought I would go with a Dickinson Marine Stove.  About $1,200 US +++

A couple of days ago, while checking around on the internet for other Tiny House stories, I noticed a stove that appeals to me visually a lot more.  The Mini Franklin Woodstock Soapstone.  About $1,200 US +++

I like this one visually a lot better because the vent pipe goes STRAIGHT out the back to the chimney.  No silly, wobbly, silver, tube climbing up the wall to find the exit.  The chimney too, if that is what they are called on propane stoves.  It also looks to me as though they offer a different sort of tidy looking chimney which sits flat against the exterior wall.  Both of these look so much tidier in my opinion.

The cost is about the same for the two stoves I am not sure that the cost of shipping is similar, nor am I sure if the cost additional things, such as: wall mount, vent, pipes, chimney and so on, is similar.  I am also not sure if the Mini needs a 12v electric hookup or even if it requires any electric at all.  I can’t find this on their website.


I found it easy to navigate the Dickinson site and they have the manual right there for you to print and read.  Which I have done and but truthfully, I feel as though, with this Dickinson I know what I am getting because so many Tiny Housers use them.  Their website, though, is not ideal.  I don’t know what beyond the stove I need to order; nor what it costs for these things I need to hook one up.  I would like a nice neat package.  I get that they are somewhat unique for every home BUT there are no images provided there either.  In short they don’t make things nearly as clear as I want them to be.

The Soapstone Mini makers are not even as clear at the Dickinson people.  Right down to the image they provide being so tiny that it is hard to see. I know… I know, you think I like tiny things, but this is really, really TINY.  No manual either.  You have to write them to find out more.  I am not too wild about that idea, I hate it when companies are vague.  Basically, if they just put the stuff on the site then I could do my own homework.  I don’t want to talk on the phone or spend weeks chatting back and forth via email.  The most frustrating thing is, I don’t know what questions to ask because the product information is basically just size and colours and the shipping method.  I mean, I want to know about size… all we ladies do… I might also like to choose a different colour… but seriously who cares how they ship it?  I don’t want to bash them totally, in fact, they had some things better on their site.  They do provide a few (albeit TINY) images of the types of hook ups and this was most appreciated.  Like Dickinson no packages with the extra stuff in it.  They give a nice 360* (TINY) option I can see a tiny wire coming out of tiny bottom of the tiny back — unless this is a tail.  In truth it is such a small image that I can’t see.

Before I have some knowledge I am silenced by not feeling I know even enough to ask a simple question.

So what do I want?  I am going to assume that these businesses are both dealing with a lot of DIY people.  I heard that Dickinson sells far more stoves to Tiny Housers than they do boat owners, so I would like to see them cater to our DIY philosophy!

Key stuff for me is I want user friendly, diagrams, images and explanation options in click out bubbles.

Examples would be more and larger images.  Diagrams of the various packages that are needed to hook one of them up based on the sort of place that they are going into.

They know better than I what I need!  In my naivety I think I will require a:

A wall mount thingy: $x

A going through the wall tube: $x

A turning up elbow: $x

A chimney of length x: $x

A bunch of other thingamabobs that only they know about: $x

Screws/nuts/bolts/any unusual drill bits etc: $x

Why do they not have a package that looks like this that has a nice little diagram showing you what you are going to have to do with the stuff when it arrives?

Ideally too, they could also provide VARIATION to those packages based on different roof heights, wall thicknesses and slopes.

Then and only then would I want to be told to contact them personally if I have questions… once I understand what I need.

I can’t be the only one who is like this?


If you are a Tiny Houser, I would appreciate a ball park on the costs of the other stuff and shipping.  Also if you have a Soapstone Mini… what electric system do you need for her?

Please comment on this one…

Thanks for listening to me rant!  xo L

Categories: Building code, Money, Off Grid, Simple living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Decisions & Heated Rant

  1. I understand your frustration. I build tiny wood stoves and it took me quite a lot of research to find what all is required for a complete installation and where to find it. As my small company grows, I want it to be a one-stop shopping experience and offer everything the customer needs complete with diagrams and step by step instructions. I also want to provide links to helpful websites. If I were going to do a project like this, I would tend to go with a company that would take care of my info and supply needs all the way through.

  2. Dan

    Have you considered a thermal mass heater or a rocket stove design? I saw someone even creating one to sustain a 4-season garden somewhere online.

    • Actually, I was googling for a long time trying to find one that is small enough so that I can move around it. If you find it, PLEASE give me the link. I would not want it to be any larger than 12-15 inches square.
      Thanks Dan!

  3. wyndwalkr

    I have a wall hung little gas heater as a booster in my small but not tiny full time home. The vent goes straight out the back of the stove but just ends a few inches past the siding of the house. No additional chimney turns upwards. Two inch pipe includes fresh air intake and vent out both in one double walled pipe. For the gasses to go out the back like that, it needs electricity to operate a fan. This also has an electric igniter and all I can find in my literature is that the max use of electricity is 85 watts. That would be fan plus the short time the igniter is on, so I would just take a guess at the fan being maybe 40 watts (continuously). Mine is probably double the BTU’s you would need (mine: 17K on high, 13K on low).

    There should be available some sort of propane heater that requires no electric. Vent would need to go straight up, not out the sidewall and there would be no fan–radiant heat only. But perhaps not available small enough for THO??? And I’m sure not cute…

    The search is on!

  4. ever think of a woodstove? you would have free fuel. you can cook on it and even get one with an oven.

    • Hi Nick!
      Thanks for responding! I wish that I could have a wood stove! This would be my first and most obvious choice because I am surrounded by trees. The simple act of keeping the forest tidy of fallen branches would provide far more wood than I could ever use. I would relish the idea of having a kettle on whenever someone pops by and I would like best to have one of the little Quebec heaters that has a small section where I could bake. Problem is that in the area of Ontario where I built the only way to go tiny is to build 108 at the footprint which makes the inside measure 93.77 square. If I add a wood-stove the concern is that they get mighty hot so you can’t get close to them, you have to put them 18 inches away from the wall here too. Basically it would have to go right in the centre of THO.
      I think my best hope is to lobby for change so that we can build 150 square feet. This would be a PERFECT size and for the land that I am on, far more practical.
      I love the shipmates! That would be choice 1 if I could.

      xo L

  5. I wonder if the climbing stove pipe heats the house as it climbs.

    • Hi Richard!

      I don’t know… you are right though this is one of those things I would like to know. Should be clear in the efficiency data.
      xo as always,

  6. cindy warren

    i enjoy your column very much. I understand what you are talking about as I have encountered this before with different manuals. I especially like the comment about wanting to know about size, all we ladies do. lol I had my chuckle for the day,

    • Hi Cindy!
      I am glad that I made you laugh! Nothing better for a person than a good giggle I think.
      Thanks for the nice words.

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