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Dale's Outdoor Kitchen - Rocket Stoves - Cob Ovens - Bio gas Start Up - Charcoal Option  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6678
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale's Outdoor Kitchen - Rocket Stoves - cob ovens - Bio gas Start Up - Charcoal Option

I've been wandering around the internet in search of outdoor kitchens which utilize rocket stoves made of clay, brick, cob and refractory cement. There seems to be hundreds of examples from Australia to Africa to Guatemala but just about every example is a smoky, primitive attempt. Usually there is no J-tube but just a cylinder with a feed mouth. They are often not very rockety and there is usually nowhere to move a pot to once it's hot enough. The feed door is often overstuffed which ensures incomplete combustion and smoke.

MY NEW AND IMPROVED MODEL
I like the idea of having a counter top with several rocket options built into it. Giant pots go on one size, while small ones go on another. A metal plate set above one could be a griddle surface. Another could feed a cob oven. It might work just as well to link two or more functions to one rocket so that the cook doesn't have to run around feeding four stoves. This would be the perfect spot to test my feed slide. See --- rocket stove slide allows for burning of 6 foot long firewood http://www.permies.com/t/10419/stoves/Rocket-stove-slide-burning-foot All rockets need to have insulated risers and a burn tunnel long enough to fully burn the fuel.

There's another closely related thread called --- Dale's Rocket Mass Heater/ Grill/pizza oven/Hot Water Heater – One appliance does it all. http://www.permies.com/t/19603/stoves/Dale-Rocket-Mass-Heater-Grill --- Features of these two communal kitchens are bound to be interchanged as the plan evolves.

Although this is an outdoor kitchen, it still needs a roof. Sides would be open other than an option to erect a movable wind screen wall which could be attached to any of the corner posts. A cupola would ensure that smoke does not accumulate within the roof.

Here are four incarnations of rocket stoves that I haven't seen.
1.ROCKET CHARCOAL LIGHTER --- With outdoor cooking it is often desirable to cook over charcoal. If the charcoal pit which is recessed into the counter top were supplied with flame from the rocket , it should be possible to get it lit and up to temperature in record time. I'm guessing one minute. It's like a giant blow torch.

2. PORTABLE STOVE TOP cob oven --- A small, one or two loaf sized cob oven with handles and no bottom, light enough to be placed over the burner could be brought up to temperature and then be moved onto the griddle. A clay tile could support the bread pan or the dough directly. We'd have heat without the ash. A version of this with shelves could bake cookies.

3. COB GRILLING LIDS --- Large thick lids made of cob could also be heated over the rocket stream. They would have slots cut in the rim to let the fire flow out and have long loopy handles rising from their centres well above the heat. Such a lid would get up to several hundred degrees on the inside and when placed over the frying pan it would expedite the process with a broiling effect. Anyone who has tried to make a grilled cheese on a windy day can attest to the maddening experience of having the upper surface cooled a second after flipping the thing. It makes it difficult to get the centre hot enough without charring the bread. This sort of broiling lid would work for pancakes, eggs, steak, bacon... For years, I've placed doubled up kitchen towels over frying pan lids in an attempt to retain heat. This is a eureka moment for me. Super heat the lid!!!--- I'm a culinary genius !!! And modest too. When frying a steak, I hate the way that conventional lids steam the steak, boiling the best cut into shoe leather. A big, preheated lid could convert the griddle into a pizza oven. Julia Child, move over.

4. DEHYDRATOR --- A tera cotta dehydrator could be placed over a rocket near the end of a burn where it would heat up and sit for several hours in the up draft rising from the hot cob. Food might stick to tera cotta.

GAS LIGHTING --- I would like to have 3 different types of gas lighting. I plan to make some biogas about 30 ft. from the cooking area. A digester in the 100 gallon range will gobble up kitchen scraps and some animal waste.

1.Lanterns are available to consume this gas for lighting the eating area.

2. Effluent from one of the kitchen rockets could heat a ceramic filament encased in glass. Above this lantern would be a tank for hot water. See --- rocket stove gas lighting
http://www.permies.com/t/9900/stoves/Rocket-stove-gas-lighting

3. And finally, a flex hose could direct gas into the mouth of the rocket(s) to facilitate very quick starting without paper. I guess this is called lighting it which brings us to three kinds of gas lighting.

Well, I believe I've just mentally constructed the world's most ambitious rocket stove - outdoor kitchen. Let's examine this and see if anything has been left out. I'm far more open to adding functions than trimming the list.

Believe it or not there's more. You'll never guess where I'm going with this one.

Thank you: Dale Hodgins --- One of the world's most ambitious campsite cooks.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6678
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Along with the obvious benefits of being able to cook for large crowds without burning down my forest, I have an additional motive for wanting to build such a large complex of outdoor cooking devices.

Building These Stoves at Campgrounds and Parks
I intend to use the kitchens built at my place to serve as prototypes for others that could be produced at campgrounds and parks. Most of British Columbia experiences high forest fire risk during the camping season. Fire bans prevent visitors from cooking with wood other than in charcoal barbeques. Even the charcoal poses a risk since it is burned at different sites all over the park where individual visitors choose where to place the barbeque and often how to dispose of the ashes.

A centralized cooking hut, set well away from vulnerable coniferous trees would be much safer than having 50 separate little fires spread throughout the park. Most campgrounds have a river or pond and these wetter areas grow maple, alder and other deciduous trees that don't pose a serious fire risk. Somewhere that never floods in this region could be cleared of evergreens and flammable ground litter.

After I have a few good working examples of outdoor rocket fired stoves to display, I will invite park owners and managers to visit and see for themselves how it could work for them. As the operator of a camping bus, I'm bound to find myself at sites that need this sort of thing. The vast majority of sites I've visited have either poorly designed stone fireplaces which require huge quantities of wood if anything is to get cooked or they have nothing at all. I haven't seen one system that wasn't smokey and inefficient. They generally throw so many sparks that they are shut down during the fire season and are only useful during the off season.

Building at Campgrounds
The bus holds 24 people, and this would allow me to show up with my own labour force as part of a workshop. One way that it could all be made mutually beneficial is that I'm willing to receive payment for each structure in camping credit. It costs about $150 to rent space for 24 campers for one day. Suppose I am hired to build a nice unit with several burners for $3,000.00 I'm likely to spend under $500 on firebrick and other supplies. Then, it's just labour. In the end the campground would owe me 20 free visits that I've already budgeted $150 per night for.

Bus drivers often spend countless boring hours waiting, while their passengers pursue other activities. This work would allow me to make productive use of down time.

I would lay all bricks and would place stone counter tops etc. Others in my group would mix the cob, excavate for the foundation and do general gopher work so that I could work more effectively. It won't really mater if a project takes longer than expected since each trip to the campground brings in money from paying passengers. Campers who prove themselves valuable on one trip will get a discount of up to 75% on a return trip. In this way it should be possible to always have some experienced cob mixers in the group. Given the choice between hiking , swimming or learning how to safely play with fire and cob, I'm sure that many of my passengers will choose to get dirty while they learn something.

I've never led a workshop or built a cob rocket stove. This will start out with me and a friend building a three burner model at my place and will develop into a good chunk of my income if this sort of thing proves popular with my customers and potential owners of an outdoor kitchen. So, at some point I'll be able to use all of this unique cookware to market my place and if a side business develops, one enterprise will naturally feed the other.

The largest hurdle will be in convincing others that they need to get their customers to cook this way. With my many free supplies scrounged from demolition projects, my need to fill idle waiting time, a supply of unpaid labour and a bus to transport everybody, I could do this for a better price than a masonry company could possibly compete with. This could mean a 100% market share. But, it's up to me to create the market from scratch. My customers don't know what a rocket stove is and they don't know that they need one. They do want guys like me to show up at their campsites with dozens of people, particularly during the off season. I will bring with me photographic and video evidence of how it could work for them. I can haul those people to any number of competing locations and will always try to avoid paying full price for the camping fee. A bartering system where I build kitchens and other structures would suit me. Structures could be built during slow times, and then during the summer I could cash in as my biggest cost has already been paid.

The government has forestry people in charge of forest fire prevention. I'll want them to check out my kitchen once I figure out how to make it spark free. A recommendation from them or from a fire chief could help with sales.

I'll bet nobody other than me could have guessed where this was headed based on the title and lead in.
Please chime in with any ideas you may have.

Thank you: Dale Hodgins – Once I understand a technology, I generally feel compelled to reinvent it.


 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6678
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
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Check out this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VypiS5X31aA ---Rocket Kitchen--- This guy has built a whole kitchen out of cob and bricks. He has been involved in aid work in Haiti. The first few minutes deal with a rocket powered oven, followed by the whole kitchen.

Respiratory disorders are common amongst poor women who cook over dirty open fires and often these people spend much of their day in search of fuel. The adoption of this sort of cooking technology would help greatly in terms of health, time management and forest restoration.
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Although I would like my stuff to be a little more visually appealing, with a few refinements, these people are definitely on the right track when it comes to third world cooking. I'll bet that when they return to Haiti and build a few of these, it will be copied and adapted by others. I plan to keep track of this guy and wish him great success. I'm also going to offer them a free bus trip and let them stay at my place should they care to visit Vancouver Island.
 
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