Sunday, February 12, 2012

12 February 2012 Adventures in the realm of heat resistance

Cassi Creek:         After cleaning the wood stove Thursday, it has been in continual use since Thursday evening.  Temperatures fell to 17°F last night with a wind chill below zero.  The stove has consumed copious amounts of wood since last lighting it. 
          About 2300 yesterday I began to set up the stove for the overnight burn.  I added two large logs to the firebox, which contained a good bed of coals.  When I closed the door, one of the logs shifted, pushing the burning log on the bottom down and doorward.  This prevented closing the door and the wide gap between door and stove allowed outside air to enter the firebox. 
          I have welder’s gloves I use to feed the stove.  They have grown old and thin with use.  They offer no thermal protection from anything bigger than a spark.  They were absolutely worthless in removing the offending log. 
          In early January, I ordered a pair of fireplace gloves.  They arrived in a timely manner and I laid them aside near the stove.  Last night I thought to place them into service.  This seemed to be the sort of complication that called for new, flame resistant, gloves.  I pulled them on, grabbed the obstructing log, and laced the air with obscenities and profanities as the index and middle index fingers promptly flame-hardened and blistered my fingers.  The gloves are not very flame resistant. 
          The appropriate 1st aid for a 2nd degree burn involves removing the injured body part from further contact with the heat source producing the injury.  Immersion in cool water is helpful for extremity burns.  But I had a blazing stove with an un-secured door that was the more urgent problem.  I ripped off the new gloves, grabbed the old ones, and spent another 5 minutes wrestling with a problem in space and force before I finally managed to close the loading door.  During that time, the old gloves were absorbing heat from the stove handles and pumping it into the existing blisters. 
          After securing the stove, I started cooling down the burns.  By 0030 the pain had subsided sufficiently to allow me to drift off to sleep.  At 0400, I was up feeding the stove again.  I’ll bring in more firewood this afternoon. 
          I have two blisters on my index finger and one on my middle index finger.  I’m fortunate that the injuries were not more serious. 
          I spent a large portion of the morning reading ads for new flame-resistant gloves and reading customer reviews of LL Bean fireplace gloves.  Several reviews specifically indicate being able to pick up burning wood.  I’d rather not challenge that capability directly.  But it is only February and the stove-feeding season stretches out ahead of me.  

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