Originally Posted by Maine1
I'll have to disagree with this. Wood heat is a key part of life up here for many people, particularly those of us who have land, but not lots of cash. warm clothing IS a big part of it, you are right about that, but a well insulated and heated BOL or house is where you will want to be when that clothing is wet with freezing rain or wet snow.
One of my winter projects is a knockdown type tent cabin, heated with a small woodstove that nearly anyone can build. Once done, I'll do a video of it- i though of this as someone was lamenting they could not afford a BOL. our nation was founded with shelters like these.
As far as a woodstove, i'd recommend installing it NOW, and learning to use it. Then you can take it out, cap off the chimner connection, and use your oil or whatever, then install the woodstove when you need it. They often go in the center of the house, not always the basement.
As a lifelong Mainer I will second this. My primary heat source is a woodstove in the center of my basement, 2 floor vents above it and a small fan pushing the heat up the stairway. I prefer this arrangement to having it on the main floor because it heats the whole house without overheating the main living rooms.
As to the OP - For what you are describing there are FAR better turn-key stoves out there than a barrell conversion kit.
Google up some outfitter tent stoves and/or military stoves...they collapse and all the pipe fits inside, when not being used they are basically a metal rectangle. I know guys that use them in their ice houses and they throw plenty of heat.
The time and effort involved in converting a barrell does not equal the monetary savings.