Occasional thoughts and deeds of an Engineer
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Four insatiable desires

    Posted on November 20th, 2022 cwmoore No comments

    Man differs from other animals in one very important respect, and that is that he has some desires which are, so to speak, infinite, which can never be fully gratified: Four infinite desires — acquisitiveness, rivalry, vanity, and love of power.

    However much you may acquire, you will always wish to acquire more; satiety is a dream which will always elude you.

    The world would be a happier place than it is if acquisitiveness were always stronger than rivalry. But in fact, a great many men will cheerfully face impoverishment if they can thereby secure complete ruin for their rivals.

    Vanity is a motive of immense potency. Anyone who has much to do with children knows how they are constantly performing some antic, and saying “Look at me.” “Look at me” is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart.

    Love of power is greatly increased by the experience of power, and this applies to petty power as well as to that of potentates. In any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford.

    Excerpt: Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872–February 2, 1970)

  • Navigator Wood Stoves

    Posted on November 17th, 2022 cwmoore No comments

    Safety First

    This being published for the authors memory jog in the future. For safety reasons, the stoves should not be used on gasoline-powered transportation.

    These iron stoves are cast in the northeastern United States and then shipped in sections to Navigator Stoves on Orcas Islands. The stoves are sold as plain iron with a traditional stove polish, but a customer can opt to add one of six porcelain enamels -grey, black, mint, deep mariner blue, dark green, or classic barn red.

    Navigator Stoves prepares, polishes, and smooths the iron on each stove at his workshop, and then tweaks and assembles those ordered as polished iron. Stoves that are ordered with the porcelain coating are sent to the Midwest for coating, then flat-packed back to NS for polishing, tweaking, and assembly. Lead times vary from one week to eight weeks, depending on availability.

    All three stoves are designed to burn natural wood and charcoal. The two smallest models are best for heating 300 square feet or less. The largest model, the Halibut, is able to burn coal. The stoves are not intended for use with any other fuel sources. For use in warmer months, Navigator has designed alcohol drop-in burners. The drop-in burner literally drops into the stove top and burns denatured alcohol. The burner element is self-pressurizing and is located in the cast-bronze burner housing to minimize fuel spills. One 2-ounce filling will burn for 20 minutes. Running in simmer mode, the burn time is doubled. Tests show it takes 8 minutes to boil a liter of water. The alcohol can be refilled for longer cook times.

    Navigator Stoves also sells many of the accessories associated with installing and maintaining a wood burning stove, including stove pipes, deck heads, and heat shielding. Heat shielding can be a critical issue, and Navigator offers custom-made shielding panels made from either 20-gauge stainless steel or 16-ounce copper.


    The smallest and most popular model, the Sardine is a mere 12 by 12 by 11 inches, and weighs 35 pounds. The heat output is 7,500 to 18,000 BTUs.

    Navigator Stoves suggests using this rule of thumb for determining required BTU: 15 x volume of space to heat = required BTUs. If extreme cold temperatures are expected, one might want to use a factor of 20. This compact Sardine is best suited for small boats or sleeping cabins aboard larger vessels. It is two-thirds the size of the Little Cod and costs $699 for plain iron and $1,199 for the porcelain enamel option.

    Little Cod

    First produced circa 1917, this solid-fuel stove was initially designed to keep fishermen warm and well fed as they jigged for cod. Simple and reliable, it is economical to run and maintain. It is intended for use in the galley, cabin, or pilothouse, or small spaces on land. By adding one or two of the alcohol drop-ins, it can essentially replace any alcohol stove onboard. The Little Cod measures approximately 13 by 18 by 14 inches and weighs 55 pounds. It produces 10,000 to 28,000 BTUs. It has a stainless-steel sea rail to keep cook pots in place, and has holes in the legs for securing stove to a platform. It is priced at $1,125 for iron and $1,675 with porcelain or $1,875 for red porcelain.


    The Halibut has cast-bronze sea rails and corner posts. It has a glass firebox door, stainless-steel ash pan and oven rack, an oven thermometer, and a Halibut relief on the door. The Halibut doesn’t come up to temperatures as fast as the little stoves, but it does offer the oven for onboard cooking of bread, potatoes, and pies. It can also burn coal, whereas the smaller stoves are designed for wood and charcoal only. The platform size for the Halibut is 26 inches wide minimum, and 18 inches deep. The oven is 9 by 9 by 8 inches, and the stove weighs 175 pounds. The approximate heat output is 25,000 to 35,000 BTUs. The stove costs $2,850 with porcelain.

    Herring Prototype

    Navigator Stoves is also currently working on a diesel/ biodiesel prototype stove. It is intended to be 28 inches tall with a 12-by-12-inch footprint, and weigh 55 pounds. The Herring will have a glass-plate front and a herring relief on the front plate. It is designed with a “blue flame” natural draft burner from Europe and no fan or electricity is required. Tests by Navigator have shown a very clean, steady burn. The expected BTU rating is 16,000. Navigator is also working on a design for a water heating loop.


    The stoves can be installed by an experienced and involved do-it-yourselfer in a couple of weekends, with the lions share of the time dedicated to thinking and planning, rather than installing.

  • Tyranny

    Posted on November 7th, 2022 cwmoore No comments

    “All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.” – Orwell