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Building RMH without welding

 
Posts: 23
Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
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I'm looking to build a RMH but I don't weld.  I also live way outback and have limited bandwidth so watching videos to learn is not optimal for me.  Could anyone direct me to a good set of written instructions for dummies?

My situation:  I've lived completely off the grid for 25 years in western New Mexico at 7000' altitude where winter temperatures have dropped to 30° below zero (F) -- though generally it doesn't go below 10° below in the dead of winter -- and where the wind chill factor can make it feel way colder than that.  I started out in a camper trailer (talk about cold!), but for the past 20 years have lived in a mostly unplastered 700 sq. ft. straw bale house.  Yes, I know I'm not taking advantage of the excellent insulation qualities of plastered straw bale construction, but it is what it is.  I plaster a little now and again when I can.  Too long a story to explain, though I confess that my motivation is limited by my having have come to love the aesthetics of unplastered straw bale walls.  Plus I love doing things by myself even when my To Do list is way too long.

I heat my little house with a barrel stove, converted for me by a friend using a Volelzang kit.  It puts out a lot of heat but consumes a lot of wood (pinon pine) doing so, and needs reloading constantly.  If I'm not home my house will freeze inside when it's below freezing outside.  Also, after 20 years of use, the door kit has worn to the point where it needs replacing and honestly if I'm going to replace that I might as well replace the barrel too.  

I'm thinking I'd rather have a RMH, but I'm not sure how much mass I really want.  A more efficient wood stove would be a great solution for small space but I don't have the money to invest in a really good one.  A cheap one would do the trick for a while but I'd probably use as much or more wood than I am now.  So RMH seems to me to be the better idea -- a project for next summer, not this winter, of course.  Not at the rate I get projects done.  

Anyway, I've read a bunch of threads about building masonry rocket heaters, but I have yet to discover written instructions for the basics of building them, or instructions for a smaller version that would not eat up so much of the limited space I now occupy (which includes not only the usual cooking/sleeping/bath areas but also my sewing studio).  Anyone have any advice for me, or links?  Thank you!
 
gardener
Posts: 2225
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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cat pig rocket stoves
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Hi Leif;
The best book on rmh building is the (RMH builders guide by Ernie & Erica Wisner), readily available  from them or thru Amazon.
Here is a link to my recent build , 8" J tube into a brick bell   (  permies.com/t/94980/Brick-Bell-Shop-Heater )
Plenty of other threads here , with brick bells using a batch box design.

A Bell design system allows you to utilize small or odd shaped areas and still gain maximum heat retention.

Any rmh you go with will work better / more efficiently than your average steel box stove.

-30F is extreme for any stove to keep up with...  -10 F is much easier!

EDIT)  No traditional rmh  requires any welding at all !
 
pollinator
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Location: Penticton, Canada
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LIf,  Here are some masonry stoves to look at which occupy a smaller footprint:
Cabin Stove
Cyclone heater
Vortex stove
 
Lif Strand
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Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi Leif;
The best book on rmh building is the (RMH builders guide by Ernie & Erica Wisner), readily available  from them or thru Amazon.



Thank you - I've ordered it.
 
Lif Strand
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Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
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thomas rubino wrote:
Here is a link to my recent build , 8" J tube into a brick bell   (  permies.com/t/94980/Brick-Bell-Shop-Heater )
Plenty of other threads here , with brick bells using a batch box design.

A Bell design system allows you to utilize small or odd shaped areas and still gain maximum heat retention.



Bell design = new term for me!  I'll study your recent build.  

Can these be built on regular floors rather than cement slabs?  I'm concerned about the weight.
 
Lif Strand
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Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
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Gerry Parent wrote:LIf,  Here are some masonry stoves to look at which occupy a smaller footprint:
Cabin Stove
Cyclone heater
Vortex stove



Thanks!

Edited to add:  I saw that cyclone heater thread earlier today -- that's more what I had in mind aesthetically -- no huge barrel to look at, for one thing.  And I love that casserole lid door!

The vortex stove looks like a bit more than I can handle.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi lief;
The RMH core itself will need to be on an insulated surface.   The bell not so much.   4" of insulated cob on the floor under the core will keep that heat going in the right direction. Or bricks and cement board can be used to raise the core up for air circulation underneath.
Weight is not an issue with a bell of reasonable size.
 
Lif Strand
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi lief;
The RMH core itself will need to be on an insulated surface.   The bell not so much.   4" of insulated cob on the floor under the core will keep that heat going in the right direction. Or bricks and cement board can be used to raise the core up for air circulation underneath.



Thanks again!  So much to learn, but I figure if other people can do it, I can do it.  Just wish I had thought about this in the spring instead of now.  It's already below freezing at night here.  I'm more of a grasshopper type than an ant when it comes to planning ahead.
 
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Hi Lif,

Another source is Walker Stoves, walkerstoves.com. I'm planning to buy the Brick Rocket Mass Heater Plan from Matt and simply follow the steps. He also gives very good support, as needed. There are also videos he has posted on youtube to give you a better sense of his stoves, etc. He's posted in the permies forum so you can also look him up on here.
 
thomas rubino
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Yes! Matts stoves , plans and support are top notch. I highly recommend  his services!
 
gardener
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The original book Rocket Mass Heaters by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson also has good info, less technical than the Builders Guide by Erica and Ernie, but it does include all the brick layouts and there's certainly no welding or significant metal work in their original design, just red bricks and cob. Using a high-content perlite filler under the combustion chamber will help isolate it thermally from the floor. You can also shape the mass in a way that it can replace existing furniture.
 
You get good luck from rubbing the belly of a tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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