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Need wisdom- putting an earth oven in my RV

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I hope there is a place to put a picture here. This is my first post and before totally winging this I thought I might get some advice/backup/feelgoodgoaheadvibes from some people who may actually agree with what it is that I want to do; which is;

Put a cob oven (vented) in my RV for:

*Food (cooking)
*Hot water- looking at doing a stovepipe waterheater)
*digressing my dependence on stuff, propane and electricity.

My progress so far:

There is a nice new ceiling in there (via previous smelly ceiling-water damage).
Sealed outter roof to prevent further leaks.
Taken out some walls.
Removed propane stove and refrigerator. Also microwave. Hope to get the propane tank/heating system out but right now its welded on there pretty good.

If you can see the picture, I will tell you that the microwave and stove hood above the window in the back are gone. Everything above that window is gone. The refer that used to stick out there on the left in back of the chair is gone. That is where I want to put some kind of earthen stove. Hopefully one with a pipe that can go out the roof there where the refer vent went up and out.

I was thinking of making a raised stand for the oven, to be about parallel with the top of the back of that chair. The oven may go there, and that way there could be storage underneath for firewood etc.

I am aware of heat. I would insulate with aluminum sheeting (firebarrier) and leftover insulation where needed to be safe.

My main concerns are draft, co2 poisoning, and how to make a nice oven/stove in that space that can cook a nice little pizza and not be messy as all hell.

Any help would be great. Thanks bunch

[Thumbnail for Screen-shot-2012-10-24-at-11.01.43-AM.png]
Posts: 554
Location: Asheville NC
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Hi Mike, cant help but think that the benefits of the extra mass is outweighed by the extra petro needed to haul it down the road. Is the RV to be mainly stationary?
mike waters
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Hi Brian,

The thing will be mainly stationary. I have my bike that I will bring where it goes.

The weight removed from the rig should make up for the small oven that I plan on putting in. The refer was really heavy (80+lbs)- the stove was moderate (50lbs) and microwave and stove hood surprisingly heavy (combined 40lbs). Now also the electrical system (27 year old inverter, wires, lights, outlets etc) (50lbs) and propane system (not fully uninstalled, yet). I think that when the tank, heater, water heater and propane piping are all removed that should be at least another 100 lbs.


So far now thats about 220 lbs lost. There was also alot of old woodwork removed, but also some extra roofing materials added (canceling eachother out in weight we'll say).

I think that I can make the oven within 220 lbs. Last night I scored two 5 gallon buckets of clay, total weight maybe 100 lbs. It seems like alot.

The oven that I was envisioning would have (btw I have no hands on experience here) an inner layer of 50/50 clay/sand. The inner layer will be 50/50 with alot of straw or sawdust mixed in- maybe at 50%, respectively. Then an outer layer of the 50/50 clay sand.

I think I can do it in 200 lbs. Clay, sand, some firebricks, stove piping and the hay material.

When the storm passes, I will be visiting the local stove store where they will look at me crooked when I ask them about the draft equations (any clue anyone???) and then I will buy some things.

Salutations, Mike
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It sounds like you are being very careful so it really shouldn't be a problem. The one thing to remember though is that if the RV is gasoline powered rather than diesel, you have to be more careful of the fumes and the tank location in relation to your oven. The gasoline is at least as much concern as the LP system. The floating sparks that can come from solid fuel burning are more of an issue with gas apparently, according to stove manufacturers I have talked to about it. They generally are happy to make wood fired stoves etc for diesel powered boats or RV's, but advise against it with gas. I have seen wood stoves in vans & RV's so it certainly can be done.

I wouldn't be too worried about the weight. People often drive with the fresh water tanks full and even in my van that is over 300 pounds.

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I admire your goal as I also own an old RV and I have been collecting for years photos of little wood stoves that I have
seen in other RVs. The best ones are usually the same ones used in Sail Boats. I dont think I could personally justify
the extra space weight and effort to do a mass heater in the RV. Remember if you try to build it light, then you
are detracting from what makes mass heaters work well. If it is mostly the rocket part you like then just get
rid of all the mass and use it as a pure lightweight rocket stove. I have looked at all kinds of tent stoves
as well as the sailboat stoves and also several of the smaller commercial rocket stoves. Those are definitely
test for portable outside cooking and maybe indoor cooking too but they are not so good for constant heat because of
the roller coaster "burn it all now" and then freeze for a while then do it again.

My reommendation for heat is for more normal tent stoves in your RV.
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