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cold that cuts to the heart  RSS feed

 
Steve Palmer
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This is my first posting here, not sure if this is the right area but it seems like it is.

I have built my first rocket mass heater, I took some liberties with the design and it works very well for my needs. This story it seems is what is wrong with the majority of folks out there. The problem is just plain keeping warm in a cold season, after reading the story look through the comments, there are many. The most common one seems to be how it is the problem of politics or politicians followed by the fear of using an alternate source of heating. I am not sure of others experiences but my rocket mass heater cost nearly 20 bucks plus some of my free time to build it. I get free wood scraps from a local hardwood flooring plant.

I am hoping that this might move people to educate people on being efficient and comfy at the same time.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/us/maine-resident-struggles-to-heat-his-home.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2
 
Ernie Wisner
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Location: Tonasket washington
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Well i sent an e-mail to the oil company. this is why Erica and I are heading out east.
 
Gail Moore
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Location: south central Appalachia, southwest Virginia, US zone 6/7
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This is the Local Follow-up article from the Maine newspaper, of the souls who have assisted in some way. Some sent money, some came over and weatherized the Hartford's home...

We are each helping the healing of all.


http://www.sunjournal.com/news/river-valley/2012/02/05/america-has-heartbeat-donations-pour-home-heat/1150876

Blessings,
Max
 
Ernie Wisner
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it would help to bloody well build them something thats not going to continue to drain the pocket book.
 
Gail Moore
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Location: south central Appalachia, southwest Virginia, US zone 6/7
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Yes, building well the first time. What a concept...
 
Steve Palmer
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Separated by a distance that is unsurmountable for me, if they were closer i would gladly give of my days off to get them in a rocket mass system. Sadly there are many who are in the same place as the Hartfords.

Plentiful oil and cheap prices were a god send to those folks years ago and now that system is gone. The improvements most have to make are seen as expensive largely due to the profit taking by companies who can. rocket mass heaters have slipped through the cracks as a way to heat for cheap with out paying through the nose for the so called high efficiency products being sold today. My thoughts are to eliminate the politics and sell the ideas for people to have a better life.
 
Ernie Wisner
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Slipped through the cracks? we cant be every place but we will be out east this fall.
 
Erica Wisner
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Thanks for the links. Very touching article. I hope people keep donating to that fund, because it won't last long at current prices.

I sent a message to each reporter and the guy who did the weatherizing, about the Maine workshop and inviting them to pass an invitation along to Mr. Hartford.
(I always like having old stonemasons at workshops, and it wouldn't hurt the word of mouth either).

We also got an offer from a not-for-profit to act as an umbrella for free public education/speaking events, so a sponsor could get a tax deduction for paying us to teach people. Pretty awesome! Now we just need to find a sponsor (or sponsors) and a library. Or they could subsidize any fees to set up a demo slot at Common Ground Fair.

-Erica
 
Steve Palmer
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Ernie,
I think it would be fair to say it slipped through the cracks. The idea of this wood burning technique is or was so very patentable and as far as i can tell no one has developed it until just in the last several years, all small pockets aside. I became interested in wood burning heat during the energy crisis of the 70's. The news of better ways consisted of double barrel stoves and waste oil heaters. There were few articles about the use of "mass" to get the most out of your fire although it was done for a very long time. The rocket mass concept is a quantum leap in efficiency, at least it is in my little world. I am using way less wood to get the same results and those results are more consistent as far as heating. When discussing the "cutting edge' of wood heating they are showcasing the reburn in a wood stove but there is no mention of the storing and releasing of heat in a system. So without a commercial equivalent the rocket mass heating system will be spread word of mouth. It is fun too since most have never heard of it and the jaw drop is priceless. The local wood sellers are not really happy about it though.

Steve
 
Ernie Wisner
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Steve these stove are not patent for a good reason And I'll not argue that with you. Ianto has made the decision and that is the final word.
this stove was in development since the 70's and not one person outside the third world relief efforts took a single look. the US back to the earth folks totally ignored it an it was mentioned in mother earth news in 72.
Ianto cant force it on anyone and he wont nor will I.

It will be word of mouth and P2P and i would rather it that way. if it was patent we would be trying to deal with some sort of bloody standardization and it would be screwed.

I hear ya about the jaw drop and the wood seller anger. we kinda find it funny and go out of our way to show off our stove whenever we can.
 
Erica Wisner
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Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
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We just bought our first cord of firewood in 4 years (that's what we get for moving in September, I said "We can buy firewood easier than we can buy mud when the ground's frozen," so we built the heater first and then started collecting dead and down. But we got a lot of punky stuff and went through it pretty fast, and we needed some decent seasoned wood).

We got a cord of tamarack (larch) that is providing 2-3 times the fuel per volume.

The wood sellers thought the stove was neat, you could see the wheels cranking on the lower usage. They want wood heat but their current home setup is electric. Turns out they also have a portable sawmill. So they perked right up when Ernie told them what his friends in southern Oregon (whose mill is maybe slightly smaller than theirs) can get for the kind of straight-grained wood they are selling, milled into into boat lumber for heritage wooden boats. Roughly two orders of magnitude better prices ($5000 for 400 linear feet, vs. $180 for 128 cu ft), and it's not like it's much more work. They could still sell the scraps as firewood. We told them get ahold of us next time they have pangs of fondness for a pretty tree, and we'll get ahold of the Seattle boat crowd.

The other suggestion I made was, what's your electric bill or gas bill for winter heat? If someone only needs one cord for the winter, what's the fair price of that cord?
Even with good equipment, they are making crap hourly to do cordwood for people. Folks that work that hard should be able to make decent money, not have to cut their prices because folks are trying to burn 5 cords a winter and compete with subsidized utilities.

- Erica
 
Steve Palmer
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Not sure how the prices in the Ozarks measure up but about 120 bucks for a locally delivered cord. Oak and Hickory is the norm here. 4-5 cords would be a good number for most here. I use my stove in a poorly insulated unattached garage which i use for a shop, metal working, wood working and a Ham shack. I would burn 2 cords when i made sure nothing would freeze and work time.

I have usually used cabinet shop wood scraps and whatever log wood i could find, frugal is the nice word but cheap b****d is the not so nice way of putting it. Since my Rocket Mass v 1.0 I have gotten a short bed pickup load of oak flooring scraps and it is really lasting and i am warmer for longer than before however i tend the fire more than I did. I don't have enough mass for real heat storage due to not wanting to loose to much floor space but i think i might have to pay that price. I need to rethink my fire box to allow for a bit more in there to make it last longer. It is small compared to the designs Ernie has built. I did follow the ideas that i saw in this forum and others who follow Ernies work with the heat riser and it just works without any fiddling around. I will probably build v 2.0 better after what learned about cob and clay construction building the one I have. I was a bit apprehensive about that process but is was easy, masonry is so awesome. The real beauty of all of it is cheap enough to build and rebuild until it suits the space i am using.

I really want to thank you for sharing the information you have about RMH's. I am sure that there will be a venue for you if you want to come to Southwest Missouri and do a workshop.
 
Erica Wisner
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Steve Palmer wrote:Not sure how the prices in the Ozarks measure up but about 120 bucks for a locally delivered cord. Oak and Hickory is the norm here. 4-5 cords would be a good number for most here. I use my stove in a poorly insulated unattached garage which i use for a shop, metal working, wood working and a Ham shack. I would burn 2 cords when i made sure nothing would freeze and work time.
... The real beauty of all of it is cheap enough to build and rebuild until it suits the space i am using.

I really want to thank you for sharing the information you have about RMH's. I am sure that there will be a venue for you if you want to come to Southwest Missouri and do a workshop.


Thank you, and I'm glad you have found it useful.

People often wonder why we are focusing on heating. Don't poor people live in cities, or hot places where they only need fuel to cook? We describe how "there are mountains in Africa, and deserts are cold at night; very few of the world's people live on a warm beach eating coconuts." Here we are in the northernmost US mountains, playing "colder than thou" with Midwestern friends, and we can still be surprised to remember that it snows in Virginia, and the southern states use heat. Not just in the mountains, but in what we would call hills, and cool valleys, and in the winter. One of our biggest projects so far was in California; their climate is not that different from coastal BC.

We had an invitation to Florida this week, and the folks in Virginia are still wondering if we can come by. We could potentially swing southward after the end of September in New England, and work our way back across the southern states in October and November.

What it takes: People willing to commit to host an event, either by paying us directly for a site visit, or by recruiting enough people that their total, affordable contributions cover our time and travel.
If it's the only event in a region, the travel costs are steeper.

There's a fair amount of legwork to get a workshop to cover costs. It helps if the host is an established community member with a good mailing list or grapevine. Even a new person can find local grapevines, though: permies, farmers, librarians, handymen and -women, survivalists, thrifty homeowners, matriarchs, college students, co-ops, and really good old hardware stores. The occasional retired mason, architect, fire marshall, or back-to-the-lander cop make great company too.
If there are philanthropists or a local business willing to sponsor a workshop so others can attend more affordably, we have an Oregon not-for-profit that can take deductible donations for education events. Their charter is creating learning opportunities for tribal youth, but they can facilitate anything that provides publicly-accessible education.

(About "free" vs "affordable" education events: Free public presentations at schools or libraries are great; or as part of a larger community event. People expect to find free information in these situations, and we like to contribute to public knowledge and promote our pet projects. We can showcase a wide range of clever wood-heat devices, and make a compelling case for clean-burning biofuels and natural building as contributions to a sustainable local (and global) future.
In the longer hands-on workshops where supplies are needed, eager participation can make or break the experience. 'Free' can lead to freeloading or disrespect of the opportunity. We prefer that attendees pay at least a token amount, or contribute a donation to a community heating fund or food bank, rather than having the event be completely free. That way, we both know that they value the experience, and it's not merely a quixotic crusade on our part or our sponsors'.)

Please feel free to PM us if you want to make this happen. Or start a thread in the regional forums, to see if anyone else is interested in making the SE and Gulf states part of our tour this year.

Yours,
Erica
 
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