April 16, 2007

Trelstads start outside wood-burning furnace business

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Matt Trelstad of Cokato had heard rumors in the past couple years of the existence of an amazingly efficient wood-burning furnace. Little did he realize that the Legend outside wood-burning furnaces would become the basis of a new business for him.

Trelstad has been displaying Legends out front of Matt’s Machine at 1087 Wright County Road 4, Cokato. Trelstad has been the Legend distributor for Minnesota and Wisconsin since the fall of 2006, he said.

Legends heat water outside a farm house or multiple buildings, and then circulate the hot water through the buildings. It produces six gallons of hot water in a minute.

“Dairy farmers are looking for a lot of hot water,” Trelstad explained.

Trelstad also sells parts and supplies for the Legends, such as underground tubing and circulating pumps.

Trelstad, originally from Minnetonka, has owned Matt’s Machine, where he builds engines and manufactures log splitters, for 18 years. About 10 years ago, he moved into his current location north of Cokato. His parents already had a hobby farm near Dassel Cokato High School, he said.

For the past three years, Trelstad had been selling another brand of furnace. He had heard that the original designer of that brand, and a 16-year veteran of the company, had developed a new type of wood-burning stove that had superior workmanship.

The Legend has lights on it, for example, it accepts solar panels and has a hinge back door. It heats four different buildings at a time, rather than two. Larger pieces of wood can be put into them, and they have a 12- to 24-hour burn time, Trelstad said.

“They pay attention to detail,” he added.

Trelstad said he felt like a detective or investigator tracking down the source of the new furnaces, and ended up calling the owner of the company at home in North Carolina, where they are made.

Trelstad also found other conveniences.

“They’re preferred by insurance companies, because they get the fire out of the house,” Trelstad said.

Being outside, also means they’re closer to the woodpile. They burn waste and scrap wood, pallets, and green wood, as well as the good wood used in an indoor wood-burning unit.

Trelstad believes the Legend has a better price than other outside wood-burning furnaces. Consumers can buy directly from Trelstad and bypass the middleman, he said.

Matt’s Machine also manufactures T.M. Wood splitters, which run from skid loaders, he said.

Trelstad is married to JoAnn Trelstad, a para-educator at Dassel Cokato schools. They have four children, Travis, 17; Kelsey, 13; Thomas, 10; and Kristie, 7.

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