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Lye from Rocket Mass Heater ash?

 
Chris Sturgeon
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I wasn't sure what forum to ask this in; it kind of straddles a few subjects. I thought those with experience with RMS would be most likely to know. Paul, Erica or Ernie, feel free to move this to a more appropriate area if you wish.

Q: Are the ashes periodically cleaned out of a RMH good for making lye (for soap making)? Or does the cleaner burn clean change the chemical make-up of the ash? Anybody here tried this?
 
allen lumley
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Chris S. : Yes, absolutely, check out the fox fire books, after i sign off here i will be doing a web-search for lye houses or ash houses- you have to use wooden buckets, an enamel bucket works until you get that 1st graze in the glaze ! g'LUCK pyro-maticly yours Allen L.
 
laura sharpe
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Lye is made with hardwood ashes, so burn hard woods only between clean outs then take your ash.

Always good to have another use
 
allen lumley
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Laura and Chris : Mea Culpa ; I was at least 90% wrong, In a clean burning highly efficient Rocket Stove the burn is So Clean that the ash
left behind is a mineral or elemental Ash. When you physically examine the ash it should feel as fine as Talcum powder. There may be a
few accretions of potash nodules and a few little micro-lumps of fused glass.

Within the bench itself, you may have some products of incomplete combustion from the individual starting-from-cold-fires, which can consist
of anything/everything! So basically, no there is not going to be much Lye in the remaining combustion byproducts . You got the old school
answer, not the reasoned answer of clear analytical thought. I am sorry for mis-directing you !

For the good of the Craft,Be safe, keep warm PYRO - Logically Big AL
 
nathan luedtke
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Chris, that's a darn good question! Good job making that connection, I'll be interested to see what the Wisners have to say.
 
Chris Sturgeon
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Thank you everyone for your responses. Once I get enough ash I might as well give it a shot! Nothing to lose but my pride.
I don't hold high hopes, between what Allen says, and the fact that we don't have much in the way of hardwood up here in the Yukon, I doubt the lye will have much strength to it... but maybe I'll be able to find some other use.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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any updates on trying this? Erica and Ernie?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Also, are there ways to capture that potassium? where does it go? what off-gassing does come from a rocket stove burn?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Lots of different compounds with potassium come out, according to some website about high-temperature wood burns,  https://www.vttresearch.com/sites/default/files/pdf/publications/2000/P414.pdf.  I couldn't cut and paste it so there's an image.
Screen-Shot-2020-08-01-at-8.09.18-PM.png
[Thumbnail for Screen-Shot-2020-08-01-at-8.09.18-PM.png]
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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I don't fully understand how it can be getting vaporized.  Lye's boiling point is:

Boiling point: 2,421°F (1,327°C)

What form is it in when it's in the wood originally?
 
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