Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Woodstove Sock Puppet

They say, "Necessity is the mother of invention." I've written frequently about the wood stove that is the heart of our cabin, especially in winter. Over the years, we've learned a lot about living with a woodstove. Not all of those lessons have been easy. One of the most difficult was smoke blowing back into the cabin, especially during windy storms. One solution was the installation of a revolving weather chimney cap.

The cap works well, but only if creosote is cleaned from it's underside and the chimney pipe. Because we use our stove almost 24/7 during the winter, we find that we need to do that cleaning once a month. We pick a fairly warm day and let the fire die. First we disconnect the interior pipe and manually clean it's interior, paying special attention to the 90 degree turn through the cabin's wall.

Next, Wayne goes up on the roof to clean the chimney cap and exterior pipe. When our good friend John installed our new cap, he also installed a new section of outdoor pipe with a T-joint and a built in clean-out hatch. This really works well for cleaning the vertical pipe, but it actually makes it harder to clean out the exterior portion of the 90 degree turn as the pipe goes through the cabin wall.

Here's where my invention comes in. I call it my wood stove sock puppet. We needed a device that was flexible enough to feed through the bottom of the pipe and up into the 90 degree bend to scoop out the creosote. A bent wire coat hanger, an old sock and some twisties from bulk food bags were recycled into the perfect tool. Now our chimney pipe can be clean from top to bottom.

If you need to more information about troubleshooting wood stove issues and problems, try some of these websites. -- Margy


  1. I will also try this technique in my home with my wood stove.
    I Buy Wood Stoves

  2. Knowing you I am suprised you didn't paint eyes and a mouth on your sock puppet (LOL)then it could gobble up the creosote.
    Your picture is gone from my follow me place. I hope you have a very nice floating garden this year.

  3. When we had a wood burning stove we used the plastic bags that bulk fruit and onions come in for our "sock puppet". It scrubs the pipe for you.

  4. And all I think about is a nice warm fire. That's a ton of work. Well done on the work & the research.
    My grandmother in Pula, Croatia used a wood stove her whole life - only in the winter for heat & cooking. I do remember her complaining about how the chimney was pulling.

  5. Thanks all for the comments and visit. Betty, you are right. I'll go home and give him eyes and a big mouth to gobble up all that creosote with. Watch out for an update. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy