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Zen and the art of Rocket Mass Heater construction

Rocket Scientist
Posts: 4176
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
cat pig rocket stoves
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Hi all;
This is some unsolicited advice for all you folks who plan on or would like to build an RMH sometime... in the future.

If your dreams are years away then the best thing you can do is read read read!  Here at Permies, over at donkeys   Peter Bergs Batch site Matt Walkers site   The RMH builders guide by the Wisners and   Ianto Evans RMH book.  All are superb research tools to expand your basic knowledge.

Another good way for you to learn. Is to find someone who already has an rmh. Even if they did not build it, they will still want to talk about it! Even better if they helped or did build it!
These are the places, you  learn about where you might  acquire the pieces and parts for your RMH. You may also start getting a better "feel" about just what goes into the build itself.
How do you find these people?  You talk to any and all that you can, complete strangers will do.   Post asking at Permies. Put an add in a free local paper, use social media.  The grocery store, the bar, the coffee shop, bulletin boards... If you put yourself and your desires out there. The universe almost always comes thru. "Hey mister, ever hear of a rocket mass heater??? " You can get in some good conversations that way.  You might even find the guy that knows the guy who's brother really has an RMH...

There will come a moment . Usually in the middle of winter... when you come to the big decision...    that by next year you will have your very own RMH!!!
CONGRADULATIONS! Great choice... you WILL be a happy camper... after you start and finish your RMH journey.
Between that winter decision and happy camper Ville lies a road... at the end of the road is warm happy town.  The road twists and turns but it is always there.
The problem, is moving forward on this road... there are so many spots to stop and ponder what do I do with this or that and what about after that... Its just so confusing!
This is where some folks stall.  They have notes and lists. They have some materials, but it just seems so overwhelming that they just can't get started.

So the best advice I can give you, is learn all you can ahead of time.
And then stop worrying about the whole project and focus on just one aspect.
Have the obvious things like your chimney or if needed your floor support ready to go.
Collect any materials you can ahead of time.  Plan on a conventional build with tried and true dimension's.
Believe it or not building a RMH is simple. Once you have completed just one you will wonder why you stressed out and stalled for so long.

Everyone who builds their first RMH is unsure.  Its all new and certainly a long way from mainstream life.
Take it one step at a time. Finish what you start and only worry about the next move when you get to it.
So many things will be self explanatory by the time you reach them that you will cruise right thru your build and be ready to light your very first RMH fire!

Posts: 1440
Location: Westbridge, BC, Canada
building solar woodworking rocket stoves wood heat greening the desert
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We all are beginners at one point in time. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, as that's how we often learn.

Posts: 238
Location: Northwest Missouri
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This man speaks wisdom! Rocket stove building is not something you can just “follow a recipe” for because each build is unique. Each builder has different heating needs. Each must choose the balance between quick heat, long heat, or even cooking heat. Each has access to different materials easier than others. Study the principals, take notes, ask yourself what you need… then make a plan (and plan on that plan changing several times!)

Never have I build anything where community was so important for ideas and feedback. And luckily this is one of the most helpful communities I’ve ever found.
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