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Our first spear house build


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We're starting my 15 yr old son's spear house project today. I had posted earlier about wood stove in a spearing house and got a lot of positive encouragement. So I will start the wood stove for the house this weekend too.

I had an old 30# propane tank with a pin hole in it and it was also the old style valve. I decided to use the old tank as a stove body, we're going upright with it like a pot belly stove. I removed the valve last night, dumped the little bit of LP that was remaining, rinsed it out with water then filled it with water to the top before making my first cut. I removed the top of the tank so I can weld on a flat round plate for cooking on.


Used a grinder with a cut off wheel.


The plate before final fitting and welding.


The house we are thinking will be 4x8 with a 7' ceiling. We are planning for a sandwich style insulated floor using 2 sheets of 1/2" CDX with 2X and 1.5" foam sheeting between the plywood sheets.

2x2 framework and 1/4" plywood on exterior.

Since it will have a wood stove in it we plan to hold off on insulating the walls and ceiling.

I will build a steel runner style frame for the bottom of the house so it can me pulled easily behind an ATV or snowmobile.

The floor plan is simple, bench on each 4' wall, and we are hoping a 24" x 36" spear hole will be big enough?

One of the strange ideas other than the wood stove is to have 2 doors on the house. One for each person so they don't have to step over the spear hole to get out.

Something like this:


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Door on both ends is a great idea.

I would turn the hole the other direction but not sure it that would work with the wood stove in the house???

As far as hole size my opinion is bigger is better. My portable is 30x36 and my perm house is 30x48. That being said the size youre proposing will work just fine.

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I think I would go with a bigger hole 48" X 30'.

Half the bench on one side and move the woodstove to that corner.

Just my opinion.

I have a propane stove out of a camper under my bench and I really like that layout, but I fully understand your choice of a wood stove too.

I love the double door idea...

nice to for each person to be able to crack the door open and you wouldn't have to trip over all your stuff sitting behind you when you spear a fish like the design with the door on each end.

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Well, I have an idea for the stove to fit in a bump out that either hinges or pulls out like a camper slide out section.

It's certainly unconventional but what IS conventional about a home built fish house anyways? Lol!!

If we did the stove bump out... we could go with a huge spear hole and still keep the stove the same distance from both benches.

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Well, I have an idea for the stove to fit in a bump out that either hinges or pulls out like a camper slide out section.

It's certainly unconventional but what IS conventional about a home built fish house anyways? Lol!!

If we did the stove bump out... we could go with a huge spear hole and still keep the stove the same distance from both benches.

I really like that idea... assuming you can make it safe.. (lined in tin I assume?)

That is the best of both worlds.

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Years ago when spearing was legal on Minnetonka and I had a spearhouse, I added a couple large eyebolts into the frame of the house. When kids came out to spear or angle (not at the same time!), they all had to have a rope tied around their waist and tied off to the eyebolt. Didn't want to take any chances of a child falling in the hole and going under the ice.

BTW, both I and the kids had a ball angling in the spearhole (with the spear in the car) because we could watch the fish. We even did this after they closed Minnetonka to spearing.

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Ok, we just blew it out to a 4x10.

Same layout as above but the spear hole is 24x48, still 2 doors but each guy has a little more room, full 4' width benches and the stove is still in the center of the house without getting too tricky with slide outs etc.

(we decided to keep it simple)



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Instead of a bench I would use a chair that is comfy. I use a old desk chair tha is padded it gives you a back rest so you can sit most all day and it also gives you more room to move about.

I would try and stick to the 4x8 design this is mord=e that enough room and you would be suprised at how much extra weight that extra 2 feet will add to it. 2c

I also had a simalar idea for the stove but I was thinking duel fuel idea,

so if I wanted to burn propane I could with just a hook up of line and a tank.

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ok, we're going to think about the house while we build the stove. I'll take pics as the stove is coming together.

We might go back to 4x8 for the house and attach the walls to the outside on the floor rather than the top. (only saves 3" overall length and width) I've done it before with an 8x16 and it worked really well.

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you could make a Ledge for the bench to sit on (bolt a 2 by 4 or something similar to each wall) with or without legs...

then you could slide the bench as close to the Hole as you wanted (temporarly fastend so it didnt fall out) your gear could go behind the bench or you could just remove the bench board and use a chair if you wanted.

this way it the house would be adaptable to whatever you wanted that day

not sure if I explained that well enough?

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Here are a few pictures of the wood stove coming together.

Door cut out and framed with additional steel from inside.


chimney hole.


chimney stub and cook plate installed.


door and draft vent.



Turn the T handle to open and close the draft, it seals up really tight.


there we are, legs on, a couple of ford truck valve springs for the dampner and door handle.







We lit it up to burnthe old paint off, it will be easy to hit it with a wire brush tomorrow and paint it hi temp black.

It's goofy looking but we like it grin

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Thanks guys. It was a lot of fun building it.

It's not as big as it looks in the pictures. The stove body is 12" diameter, the footprint of the stove is basically 1 square foot.

It's got a really good burn time for a small stove and it's really air tight. Once the fire was established last night on our test run I really throttled it down with the stove pipe damper and the draft intake and I really think it's going to be a good one.

We'll clean it up today and paint it with hi temp paint.

Then we'll get a start on the house.

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Looks great, very good ideas on making a wood burning stove. Looking forward to your spear build in the future. From seeing your metal work, I'm guessing you will make some spears. After you build a few spear houses you will see what you like best. I said the perfect spear house wasn't built yet, but someone answered that the perfect one was with the hole opened for you. Good luck with your build. I enjoy watching what others are building.

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I'm dwelling on the stove a bit too much but we're kind of proud of it lol! It's fun "re-purposing" stuff.

It's cleaned up and ready for a coat of hi temp black paint now. We did a stove pipe with an internal collar plug welded into the long pipe section, it fits like a glove.




Headed to town for some paint and a few items for the wife.

(the boss)

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