« Weekend Walks | Main | Size Matters! »

Firing up the Little Cod

little cod

Wait! Something’s different in that picture. What’s that coming out of the chimney? Ah, yes, it’s smoke! As the saying goes, where there’s smoke there’s a Little Cod.

Okay, so those aren’t the exact words, but today we finally got our Little Cod woodstove installed and fired up. It was a long time in coming, but there’s smoke curling out of the chimney at last.

One of the challenges that we had with the Gypsy project was finding a stove that was SMALL enough. With only 120 square feet to warm, most stoves on the market would have had us running from the heat. Then, there was the issue of clearances required from combustible surfaces. Larger stoves would have required an installation in the middle of the room and our entire tiny space would have become unusable.

A year ago, I’d all but given up on having a wood stove in Gypsy Rose, but then I discovered Navigator Stove Works. They build stoves for small boats, although the stoves are equally suited for small cabins. With a proper heat shield, clearances can be as low as 1 inch. That’ll work. We ordered our Little Cod model last spring and it’s been waiting patiently in a wooden crate for today to come.


The installation actually began back in December when I installed the chimney. I started by determining where the midpoint of the flue on the back of the stove would extend up through the ceiling/loft floor (using a plumb-bob). I cut the nine-inch hole for the chimney’s ceiling support and then extended the center point up to the loft ceiling.


The first floor hole is round, but the hole in the roof has to be elliptical due to the 45 degree pitch. I drew the required shape (using a technique that is quite simple, but too difficult to explain here) and cut the pine boards with the jigsaw. After knifing through the insulation I was finally at the roof sheathing where I drilled a hole at the center of the chimney opening to the outside. (Yikes!) From there, it was out to the ladder with tin snips and the jigsaw to finish the chimney’s path to the sky.


All the careful calculations and measurements paid off. The double-walled stainless steel chimney fit precisely in place. The only thing left was to put some adhesive on the base of the flashing, slip it over the pipe and screw it in place. (Actually, that was the most anxiety-ridden part of the whole thing as darkness was falling, Marion had left for work, and rain was in the immediate forecast.)


So, now skip ahead nearly two months. Before finishing the installation (adding the stove) I had to build the carcass for the cabinet that the stove will stand on. But, before I could put that in place, I had to build the carcass for the daybed/couch that the stove cabinet will join with. (Remember, the entirety of the furnishings in Gypsy Rose will be built-in, very much like aboard the boat.)

I did most of the work on the two furnishings in the maritime museum’s boat shop. When it came time to glue up the couch carcass I’d been torn as to whether it would be best to assemble it inside Gypsy or do it in the shop and then bring it in. After a dry run to be sure that it all fit as planned over the fender well, I took it out to the shop for gluing. As the glue was drying I went back to Gypsy for some desk work. Then, it hit me. Oh, my god! Will the completed unit fit through the door?

Nervously, I got out the tape measure and pulled it across the door frame. Twenty-seven and five-eighths inches. Phew! (The couch is twenty-seven and a half.) The next day, Marion and I carried it inside and secured it in place.

Don’t worry. That big hole will not remain in the top. I built an access lid (not yet installed in the photo) to allow us to get at our 50-gallon water storage tank, the 12-volt water pump, and the accumulator (pressure evening device).


After the tank is in place, there will be about 18 inches of space under the left end of the couch that would be dead space if covered up. In a tiny house, that kind of space cannot be given up to air, so I fitted the end of the couch with an access door. I hadn’t, however, considered the space that I’d planned to enclose in the arm of the couch. What was I thinking? Marion reminded me of where we keep the games in a similar space aboard Raven. Plans changed. I’ll be installing a hinged lid.

little cod

Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah, we finally got the carcass for the couch in place. (The cherry face frames and cushioning will come later.) I secured the stove cabinet to the side and then installed the fire-shield on the wall behind the stove. The hearth will eventually be tiled and the fire-shield will be faced with Lake Champlain stone, but we couldn’t wait any longer to get our Little Cod heated up. I installed the damper in the chimney pipe, connected the pipe from stove to the insulated chimney above and minutes later we were stuffing newspaper and kindling into the firebox. Ah, the fire feels so good!

little cod


Wow - Gypsy Rose looked cute in the driveway in Newtown BUT she looks at home in the snow of Vermont. It was fun to see her again with more done - well it is your house so she will always need something, even if it's just stoking the fire! Have a great day - Ally

Looks pretty cozy. How ingenious to keep the board games in the couch. I just showed the kids your house and they are playing with the idea.

What a great house! I just came across your site through Best Green Blogs. It's awesome!


Great looking cottage.
I was looking to install a woodstove/chimney in my shed outside and I was wondering where you got your flashing and stovepipe from.

Thank you.


The flashing is called Master Flash. It's EPDM rubber. I purchased it from Copperstate Roofing Supply. The stovepipe is another story. Four-inch insulated stainless chimney pipe is not available in the U.S. (to my knowledge or ability to source it). I purchased the pipe from Navigator Stove Works - the same company that makes the Little Cod stove. Be prepared, however, because chimney pipe is expensive. The temptation might be to find a cheaper alternative but that, in my opinion, is literally playing with fire. (Every winter when the temps drop far below zero here in Vermont you see the news of houses that burned when a chimney fire ignited the structure.)

All the best,

The author of paddleways.com has written an excellent article. You have made your point and there is not much to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not argue with: No truth is universal, everything has its exception. Thanks for the info.

This is great! My partner and I are just looking into buying a tortoise shell home and we'd love to put a wood stove in (We live around Vancouver, B.C., Canada). We also stumbled upon little cod, but we're not having much luck figuring out safety above the roof...We're hoping you might be able to answer a few questions:
1) what kind of height do you need on the chimney? We're wondering whether we could stick the stove against a side wall of the house which would have the chimney coming out of the low end of the roof (thereby allowing us to transport it on the road with enough clearance for overpasses etc.) or whether for safety reasons, the chimney should stick up much higher than the roof line?
2) Alternatively, can the chimney be easily dismantled above the roof for transport?
3) What's the second "chimney" for?
4) Also, wondering whether Vermont had any regulations you had to overcome for proper installation? and
5) how the heat is now that you've lived with it for a while? We're looking at an 8 x 28 unit. Thanks so much, Andrew

Post a comment

In the box below, type the two words that appear above it. Occasionally, the words may appear illegible. If you cannot read them, click the red refresh button to the right of the box (above the speaker) and a new pair of words will appear.