Installing a Wood Burning Stove: Part II

Cutting a hole in a perfectly good house top is daunting business, but it has to be done.  Fitting a deck iron (which is bronze) is less daunting, but a lot of work.  The deck iron wants to be level and the house top is not, so it is necessary to make a donut that supports the deck iron and levels it.

Taking the angle is simple enough.  Cutting the angle in a 9 inch square block of hardwood 3 inches thick requires multiple angled cuts on the table saw, and finishing with a hand saw.  The only hardwood I had that was thick enough was a slab of walnut.  Walnut is suboptimal for nautical uses (it is not particularly rot resistant), but painted well and properly maintained, it will do the job nicely.

The interior of the donut need not be cut precisely -- it just need to accept the bronze deck iron without leaving excessive space around the walls of the casting.  I wasted the interior of the donut with a drill bit, and then chucked a drum sander in the drill press and ground out the sloped sides by eye until it fit.

Finishing the outside of the ring is a good deal more demanding, as one wants a pleasing and consistent slope to the sides that is stylistically harmonious with the design of other accessories on the boat.  I used stationary disc sander to achieve this (after a scary and abortive try with a heavy router bit on a router table).

After shaping and drilling holes for the bolts, a couple coats of Brightsides finished the donut prior to installation.

Cutting the hole was straightforward.  The new one is much larger than the pass-through for the kerosene stove, and I took care to locate it between the house top beams so fasteners would bolt through from the top of the deck iron, through the donut and the house top, spaced so as to allow good access for fixing the nuts on the bolts.

The house top is curved gently, so it is necessary to profile the mating surface of the donut so that it fits well.  I was scratching my head as to how to do this, but my brother, a font of wisdom in such things, gave me the trick: fix a sheet of sticky-backed sandpaper to the housetop and use that to sand the mating profile.  Voila!

I used Dolphinite to bed the donut to the house top and the deck iron to the donut, and set it all in place with 4 4 inch 10-24 bolts.  I spun on the nuts from the inside, but didn't tighten it all up (one of the virtues of Dolphinite is curing time that gives you days to finish the job).


  1. Thank you for sharing this information! Where did you source the 3 inch bronze deck iron?


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