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Heated bench around firepit. HELP PLEASE

 
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Hey Gang,

I admit to not having read everything on the site (but a good bit).  But I thought the best idea was just to post and see how people responded.  

I want to build a heated bench around a fire pit in the middle of my backyard away from my house and have design elements I would like to incorporate but I was looking for some of the more technical aspects to be thought upon by people who know much more than I (all of you lol).

I want a semicircle bench (probably brick) that uses dual stratification chambers from a more centralized rocket location (attempting to include rough drawing of my idea).  I don’t know if my wife will love a barrel in the bench as a riser so I was interested in a riserless burn chamber design of some sort.  

As this heater is mostly for entertaining I was planning on “thinner” walls to transfer the heat to my wife’s derrier faster and because I don’t need this to hold heat for more than a couple hours at a time. I hope to not offend anyone but a perfect efficiency isn’t one of my top priorities.  

Features I would like to include are:
Riserless design
Two benches with backs (going in opposing directions)
Thin walls for quick heat transfer
Batch box (and thus secondary air?)
A way to encourage the most flames (incorporated blower of some sort? Again, hope to not offend)
As many Flame viewing opportunities as possible
Storage for firewood incorporated behind the bench sharing a wall with the benches to dry the wood for future fires

Going for comfortable, warm (0bviously), and fun to look at.  The more impressive the flame show, the better.  

Any and all thoughts, additions, subtractions, or directions are appreciated.  

Thanks everyone.



Rocket-Bench-Rough.jpg
Quick drawing. Very rough. Not to scale in any way.
Quick drawing. Very rough. Not to scale in any way.
 
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Greetings D.R. and a big welcome to Permies!

Your idea sounds very much like a build Matt Walker of Walkerstoves.com built for a RMH jamboree 4 years back at Wheaton Labs in Montanna.
It was called  "The ring of fire"

Here's one he built at his home: Rocket Stove Outdoor System: New front-loading batch burn configuration

A riserless design is certainly feasible. You just need a startup bypass to get it going. Batch boxes definitely require a secondary air channel.

You said "I want to build a heated bench around a fire pit in the middle" which has me a bit confused. Were you planning on having 2 fires to enjoy?...One for butt heat, the other for roasting marshmallows?

 
D.R. Smith
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Yes lol one for butt heat and one classic campfire
 
D.R. Smith
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How much viewing is possible? Something like a front load batch box with two sides of glass? Is that possible?

What's the "best" way to go about getting maximum flame viewing with a front load box and a rear chimney?  I'm thinking to get any vertical protrusions towards the back of the bench to minimize blocking the line of sight between people sitting around the semicircle, which is another reason why I'd like to go without the barrel or riser in general.

 
Gerry Parent
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Matt is really the guy to be speaking with as he has the experience. I know he has several videos on his brodaudio youtube channel talking about his build but you can also reach him at his website via email.
Another excellent way is through his Live Chats he gives every Wednesday on his youtube channel. Matt-Walkers-Stove-Chat-Live

From my memory, I think he talked about the glass blackening and took a while for it to self clean. Also, that the stove efficiency went down considerable since the heat is being radiated out of the firebox when it should be reflected back to the fire to keep it burning hot and clean.
 
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Hi D Welcome to Permies and the wonderful world of rocket science!

As usual Gerry has been spot on with his advice.  
I will give you my take on your idea.
I like the concept, great idea! Nothing could beat a warm bench and an open fire in the evening with friends.

Your wanting to build a batchbox as a first build is very ambitious. They are a very technical build compared to a J tube.
After building and living with rocket stoves since 2013. This year I have just felt competent enough to complete my first batchbox. It took weeks, with metal fabrication, locating parts.It is a rather involved process.
Wanting to modify the design as a first build could be a rousing success or a huge disappointment.  
Building a J tube on the other hand is fast and simple. Some firebricks and clay, are the main ingredients.

Here is what I would suggest building.
Your double brick benches would be walker style 1/2 barrels , quick to heat and enjoy.
You build an 8" J tube, it does have a short riser, but in place of a barrel you encase the riser with brick. (No ugly barrel in your wife's back yard)
You could  put a steel plate on top to heat water or even cook on.
The feed tube on the J is directly between the two benches easy to see and feed. (feeding a J tube while sitting beside it, is a highly enjoyable experience!)
The beautiful brick covered riser is behind everyone not blocking the view at all and would have an added benefit of releasing heat higher up to warm your back and shoulders.

No matter what style you choose to build. Please keep us posted with plenty of photo's!
download.jpg
[Thumbnail for download.jpg]
 
D.R. Smith
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I've watched most of his videos and the efficiency isn't my main concern.  I attempted to counteract the heat loss and subsequent cooler burn with the forced air.  
 
D.R. Smith
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi D Welcome to Permies and the wonderful world of rocket science!

As usual Gerry has been spot on with his advice.  
I will give you my take on your idea.
I like the concept, great idea! Nothing could beat a warm bench and an open fire in the evening with friends.

Your wanting to build a batchbox as a first build is very ambitious. They are a very technical build compared to a J tube.
After building and living with rocket stoves since 2013. This year I have just felt competent enough to complete my first batchbox. It took weeks, with metal fabrication, locating parts.It is a rather involved process.
Wanting to modify the design as a first build could be a rousing success or a huge disappointment.  
Building a J tube on the other hand is fast and simple. Some firebricks and clay, are the main ingredients.

Here is what I would suggest building.
Your double brick benches would be walker style 1/2 barrels , quick to heat and enjoy.
You build an 8" J tube, it does have a short riser, but in place of a barrel you encase the riser with brick. (No ugly barrel in your wife's back yard)
You could  put a steel plate on top to heat water or even cook on.
The feed tube on the J is directly between the two benches easy to see and feed. (feeding a J tube while sitting beside it, is a highly enjoyable experience!)
The beautiful brick covered riser is behind everyone not blocking the view at all and would have an added benefit of releasing heat higher up to warm your back and shoulders.

No matter what style you choose to build. Please keep us posted with plenty of photo's!



I am usually quite ambitious with my projects, and thus take a lot of time to plan.  LOL

I am actually thinking of building two. One at my campground and one in my back yard.  I thought to use the 1/2 barrel idea in the campground, but would I need a 12 barrel system inside a brick bench? I was under the impression that the hollow brick structure would be the whole bell.  If I am incorrect, thank you for educating me.  

On the campground half barrel system, how would I go about constructing the benches to be protected through NE Winters? Would it be something basic and then on me to simply cover it sufficiently when we aren't using the campground?   Sorry if these are basic questions that annoy.
 
Gerry Parent
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D.R. Smith wrote: I thought to use the 1/2 barrel idea in the campground, but would I need a 12 barrel system inside a brick bench? I was under the impression that the hollow brick structure would be the whole bell.  If I am incorrect, thank you for educating me.


Yes, you are correct, it would be one or the other.

D.R. Smith wrote:On the campground half barrel system, how would I go about constructing the benches to be protected through NE Winters? Would it be something basic and then on me to simply cover it sufficiently when we aren't using the campground?   Sorry if these are basic questions that annoy.


There really is no incorrect answer, mostly its your goals of how much you want to take care of it that would be the deciding factor here.
I believe Matt used flagstone to cap his. Anything like brick, stone or other weatherproof material that can tolerate a bit of heat would work also. Cement mortar would probably be needed unless you want to repair and patch cob fairly often.
 
D.R. Smith
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Repair often is definitely not what I want to do. Especially because I am trying to use this campsite to be a way to get my wife to camp more often. Having a low maintenance heated bench would certainly help and go a long way to making it more of a pick up and go to it often option. It's only 5 minutes down the road.
 
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