We found ourselves having a weird smell while burning our rocket mass heater, we don't have any smoke from within the heater as it burns perfectly horizontally and makes the normal noise. But for the first half an hour we have to exit the room as a very chemical smell is on the air, I am betting this is from the insulation container I am using in the heating riser. It was an old carburetor product container. I am thinking on getting the heat riser out of the heater on the garden and put some sheets of newspaper with diesel or kerosene on it and turn it into fire. If it does not work I think I will try to use sand paper, but I don't want to as it will be very tiring and time consuming. Another option would be to remake the whole thing using a customized metal mesh. Any ideas or advises?
thanks a lot
Carlos and Nara
I know I spoke to you about getting the pdf Copy $15.ooU.S>, of 'Rocket Mass Heaters' at rocket stoves.com, however i did not check as I usually do that you got
the copy, mea culpa, my fault !
For right now I want you to concentrate on going to - youtube.com/watch?v=MpCu7aG3fgl - sorry you will have to type it in ! the technique you see on the outside of the
barrel they call Clay mache' like papier mache' instead of dipping the full sheets of paper in water its a light clay slip with multiple layers of paper stuck to the outside of
the barrel to hold in the heat to burn every thing out of and off the barrel ! This will give you some thing to do to clean up your large barrel. Use what ever sections of your
stove pipe you need to use to make this happen and then re-use the stove pipe for the first Two meters as you rebuild it after your controlled burn ! Good luck !
Late note, while you are on you tube type 55 gal Pocket Rocket into the you tube Search Tool and click on, you are looking for the video that lasts 1:43, this is what you
should have learned from page 76-77 in the 'rocket mass heater' book !
For the good of the Craft ! be safe, keep warm ! PYRO Logical Big AL ! - As always, your Comments / Questions are solicited and are Welcome ! A. L.
that this step get done, regardless !
And once again my Mac that doesn't play well with others, fails and Satamax comes through again !
Carlos , by now I think you know what you have to do, make the papier' mache' layers Dipped in clay slip and thick so that the heat is held in against the barrel to
burn off all the paint on the first try, and note the extra shaping required of the stove pipe end that goes in the barrel and used to make a chimney.
If you wanted to take apart your heat riser and replace its outer shell with a metal mesh like 'hardware cloth' or the type of 'expanded metal lath' that is used in
the under layers of Stucco , then my next question would be how Did you make your Heat Riser and what are you using for insulation now ?
After practicing on the Outer barrel you can then set up the outer shell of Your Heat Riser. on bricks and shovel in some coals from your fist fire, again make your
clay mache' layers extra thick to hold in the heat and make sure you only have to do the 'burn' one time only !
Think about it this way, 75 years ago we would have done this with letters and black and white (only) pictures that we would wait 10 -days to two weeks to get
back from the developer before we could trust them to the mails. Air mail would have been erratic enough that any post master any where on the line could decide
to send it by steam ship for the safety of the mails ! Let us know how you are making out !!
For the Good of the Craft ! Be safe, keep warm ! PYRO AL - As always your comments and questions are solicited and welcome ! A. L.
As always I am very thankful for the information you provided. We tried the process in the video but our barrel was galvanized, therefore after the burning we noticed a thin layer of "something" still there despite the fact we also thought the outer layer of whatever it was went way. Then I tried to sand paper it and ended up using the power grinder and I guess the outcome was acceptable but I guess it will rust soon. We burn some wood this morning and no smell at all therefore the smell was originated from the outside of the barrel exactly as Allen mentioned. Thanks again guys.
I posted some pictures here. Please see the other pictures I am going to post on the other issue we are following.
We are very glad to have you guys replaying on our issues.
Carlos and Nara
communication problem in that I'm sure that nether Satamax and I were thinking about a galvanized barrel, rather than a painted one !, If you remember, I talked
about the fact that it would be a good idea to use the first 6 feet of galvanized pipe to make the vertical chimney of your Barrel cleaning equipment ! This was the
reason why I asked you to do it that way ! See how dull the Galvanizing looks on your stovepipe in the pictures ?
Over the last Several days i have set a new personal record for not speaking clearly and for that I apologize ! If you find that you don't understand what Satamax and I
are saying, Never be afraid to ask us to explain or re-explain the part that you are having problems with !
For the good of the craft ! Be safe, keep warm ! PYRO Logical Big AL - As always your Questions and Comments are solicited and are Welcome ! A. L.
Please accept my apologies I never thought about mentioning the barrel was galvanized, I wasn't ever very sure about it. I never thought about paints and galvanization before until now.
Still, the whole information will be useful as I am trying to convince friends and neighbors to build their Rocket Heaters.
thanks a lot,
Carlos and Nara
There is a general rule that I always find to be true , an 'Expert' is someone from 50 miles away that no-one 'here' Knows !
For the Good of the Craft ! Be safe and warm ! PYROLOGICALLY Big AL ! - Your comments/questions are welcome here A. L.
The paint nearly all stayed.
The barrel is now unusable for a rocket... Its form is not round any more.
It has crinkled.
We put the barrel IN / over a wood fire outside.
Yes, its VERY important to remove all the paint / galvanization from the barrel before using it indoors.
The method Allen pointed you toward, with paper and clay, we find very effective but time-consuming. It works best with about 3/4" to 1" (1.5-2cm) of layered, damp, clay-soaked paper, to capture the heat and absorb harmful vapors until the paint/galvanized is all consumed and turned to powder. It's important to do all the surfaces, and to prop the barrel up on a few rocks or bricks so the bottom also burns at high temperature.
After this, we generally scrub the remaining powder away with wire brushes or damp sand.
About 6" of damp straw can also work if paper is not locally available.
Other methods include the grinder as shown above, or taking the barrel to a local mechanic / auto-detailer for sand-blasting.
You can also buy unpainted barrels - I would still burn a fire in them outside to ensure no oil or varnish has been used to preserve the surface.
Once the barrel is clean of paint, the surface can be protected with high-temperature woodstove enamel or engine-block paint (these come rated as high as 2000 F, but 1200 F is also fine). Or it can be oiled and 'seasoned' like a cast-iron pan, for an attractive dark, translucent finish. Weathered steel radiates heat better than polished steel, but the difference is not enough to affect performance overmuch.
With a cleaned and oiled surface, you can even cook directly on the top as a griddle.
Erica Wisner wrote:Satamax- sorry, I credited Allen with your video reference. Thanks for putting the video on!
Nevermind Erica. Doesn't mater.
One question thought. Do you have any idea on how to burn a barrel without clay and paper? I was thinking wraping it with rockwool. So it gets very hot and burns faster.
a paper mache`-ish invention called clay mache`, this should cover the whole barrel.
This is a good time to burn up any softwood or resinous wood or whole bunches of last years 'berry Canes, you want a super hot fire,where the barrel glows f red hot
under the paper/clay mache`, some spanish friends added a layer of aluminum foil shinny side in with a final layer of paper/clay mache` over it to hold it into place !
They pronounced themselves satisfied with the results, i do wonder if the steam trapped under the foil acted for the good or the bad, but I have not personally seen
the results !
The dampened straw does work well as it confines the deteriorating paint to the immediate area of the barrel, the straw stays mostly intact until the steam is driven
off and then seems to work as well as the other methods, be sure to place rocks or bricks under your barrel to allow the then bottom to burn off cleanly!
By using 2-3 lengths of pipe you also burn off the volatile portion of the zinc galvanized coating on your barrel, then the pipe changes from a shinny surface to a dull
one, the way that the remaining zinc coating is bound to the steel piping has changed on the chemical bonding level ! Hope this helps and is timely ! Big AL !
Erica Wisner wrote:... Or it can be oiled and 'seasoned' like a cast-iron pan, for an attractive dark, translucent finish.
I have thought that would be possible and practical for a whole lot of items other than cast iron skillets.
Straw did a good job and got most if it off. Thinking about torching the rest of the paint and hitting it with a wire brush before a good seasoning.