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Solid Fuel Cooker

Going to see a narrowboat with a Rayburn cooker, having only used gas before was wondering how easy and practical they are to use, and how legal is it to just chop down branches on the side of the cut for wood, and would fresh branches burn? or do you have to let them dry? Many thanks.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | 10.38am, Monday 21 June

WW says:

Solid fuel cookers are almost works of art. They can manage to heat an entire boat, as well as efficiently cook a whle sunday dinner.
However, consider the need to have a full burning stove just to heat a kettle for the morning cuppa, or when the boat is already a furnace from hot weather. Some are fired with diesel and can be quick start up time and fairly controlable.
If the stove is wood powered, and the only source of cooking, then it might be more difficult to use- however, it is very much a personal choice- most people who specify them for a boat have experience of using them in their home.
As for collecting wood, it would usually be illegal to chop down wood from trees without the owners permission- and this includes any along the towpath. Also, wood might required anything up to 18 months to dry sufficiently to burn well, depending on the type of wood- so most people will either have their own coppice woodland, or buy in from a reputable source.

Mark Langley  | 4.05PM, Monday 21 June

Readers say:

Another consideration is that a Rayburn is expecting to be fed decent smokeless fuel, which has entirely different burning characteristics to wood.
Unless an adapter plate of some sort is placed in the grate (to make the wood burn more slowly) and the wood is well dried you'll get a godawful amount of tar and clag in the middle-pipe, thus blocking it and risking carbon monoxide poisoning at worst and a vile smoky cabin at best AND tarry crud all over thye outside of the boat from condensate in the chimney / collar

Ray Butler  | 6.41PM, Tuesday 6 July

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