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Burn Bin  RSS feed

 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
94
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Stopped at the shop on my way home, loaded the truck with about 30 firebricks.  I dry stacked them about an hour ago, turning one of the bottom course bricks sideways for air flow.  This fire bin is 3 courses high, plus another half a course to complete, so about a foot deep.  Center is 18" square.

I tossed in some newspaper, added some palmettos leaves and lit it up. 

Judging by the 8 foot flames, it seems to do the job intended.  I let it burn out quickly-not the best time for me to get a roaring fire going.  I just wanted to give it a quick test to see what happens.  I'll light it up big time come Saturday.

I've got a pile of brush too big to compost in this small yard, too small or impractical to serve as fuel.  Shrubbery, bamboo, a punky old oak that fell over, lots of palmettos and cats claw vines.  Gotta do something with it.  If I put it by the side of the road the city will haul it off, but it will be dumped up at the landfill in a yard debris area and burned.  Rather than see the material go to waste entirely, I can at least harvest the ash.  It will be good for my onions.

 
Ken Peavey
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Got distracted, now I can finish my thought...

I've got a 12k sqft lot.  I don't have room to let a pile of woody brush compost for a few years.  I've read almost nothing on hugelkulture, so that is not yet an option I've considered.   I have been looking for a solution to this debris pile that puts it to work.

The Chaos Projects Theory dictates that if you have enough things going on all over the place, no matter where you are, there is something to do. 

This outdoor firepit is a means of controlling and harnessing fire in a manner that does not pose the threat of burning my house down.  Adding in ideas I've seen around these forums, this little stack of bricks gives me a chance to try some of them out, do some experimenting, see what I can come up with.  An example is the Upside Down Fire posted by Jami McBride over at  Tips & Tricks - What's working for you?   

I absolutely must head over to a friends place for some fresh horse hockey.  It's gonna be hard not putting it in the compost heap, but I really want to try some different shapes and methods for manure logs.

What better way is there for trying out Susan Monroe's Cheap/free-firestarting?

cast iron fits in here.  I've got a dutch oven with legs that I've been wanting to try out.  I've got a cast iron grill grate that has been calling me begging for a ribeye or marinated pork shoulder steaks. 

I want to try some charcoal production methods and look at biochar as a soil amendment.  I want to look at using brick to construct something not unlike a rocket stove to try slow cooking outside.  I also wanted a place for a controlled campfire as a good place to have a beer, should I ever find the time.

The original plan was to use a burn barrel, so I picked up a metal trash barrel many moons ago but never got around to it.  Rather than destroy the barrel, I can get these bricks for free and they will take the heat.  I'd like to try using the barrel as a cover for the firepit.  Combined with the grill grate, the fire pit becomes a smoker.  The workload never being complete, I have to read up on TCLynx's tank fish then try smoking some catfish. 

I want to try some home canning with this rig.  I figure I'll start with pickles and a water bath to see what I'm up against before I try a long burn with the pressure canner.

I wonder if there is a way to incorporate the chickens into this fire pit idea...
 
                    
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Sounds like you made a dry stacked rocket stove?  I bet you could water bath process on that with woody brush, just be prepared to sit there and feed the fire the whole time.  Maybe recruit a lovely assistant for this task if you want to be zen focused on the canning. 
 
Ken Peavey
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Taking a break from lovely assistants right now.  I'll find an Igor instead!
 
                    
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Yeah, Igors have the distinct advantage of doing what they're told.  A [s]snotty wench[/s] lovely assistant would probably want to have an opinion about your instructions. 
 
Ken Peavey
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Up at the phosphate plant the sulfuric system has been shut down for emergency repairs.  Looks like they will be taking the entire system offline for a complete overhaul.  This is good for me, 2-3 weeks of 12 hour shifts ($$ ), but I won't have a chance to fire up the bin until it's over. 

Stay tuned
 
steward
Posts: 25174
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I've tossed this idea around a couple of times. 

And now I made a drawing ...

What if you take a 55 gallon steel drum and attach a tube that will act as a brace for a longer tube that can slide up and down.  The inner, longer tube is an insulated chimney-like thing.

The idea is that you start with a full barrel and as the stuff in the barrel burns, the chimney-like-thing slides down to be closer to the burning surface.

Because the chimney-like-thing is insulated, there should be a bit of re-burn effect - so cleaner emissions.  Plus, with the powerful draw, the stuff inside the barrel should burn more completely. 

I tried to make a lid in red.  And the lid has a hole in it.  Although now that I think about it, there should be enough gap between the outer tube and the chimney-like-think that that should let enough air in.  Although, yet another think:  maybe there shouldn't be a hole at the top, but several small holes along the left-most edge. 


burn_barrel.gif
[Thumbnail for burn_barrel.gif]
 
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Paul, what if the sliding chimney-like-thing was attached to another barrel top, only slightly smaller than the inside of the barrel. This way the chimney-like-thing doesn't slide into the burning heap prematurely like a hot knife through butter. The inner lid would ride on top of the entire heap, instead of very small surface area pipe which would want to punch right through to the bottom at the first chance it got.
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 25174
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Ken Peavey
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I'm firing the thing up as we speak.  cast iron grate at the ready, pork chops on hold in the fridge, neighbor has hot dogs on standby, potatoes wrapped in foil going imminently, even have a cold beer online.

Best day in weeks down here. 70 and sunny, light breeze, couldn't ask for better.
 
Ken Peavey
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The thing burned just fine, although some of the dry palm leaves sent the flames up 8 feet or more.  The firebrick held the heat as expected, did a fine job of cooking long after the flames were gone. 

I need a piece of steel to make the bottom opening bigger for ash removal.  Currently have a brick turned sideways supporting the two bricks above.  Also want to add another couple of courses, then try it again.  It will be a couple of weeks at least before I get another chance to play with it.  I'll start in with some diagrams when I have it working well enough that it's useful.

Fuel was dried vines, bamboo, palm leaves, some sticks and shrubbery branches.  Nothing I can use in compost or the beds. 

Salvageable output was cooking heat and some ash.  Also helped utilize yard debris and reduced the town waste stream.  So far so good.
 
Ken Peavey
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Lit the thing up again today.

Started the fire with dried up palm fronds, they light easier and burn faster than newspaper.  Added small twigs, thicker branches, then finally a couple of logs and some stud framing from my neighbors old kitchen door.

The firebrick holds the heat, its the heat that does the cooking.  I can burn anything in there.  After the paint has burned off the door frame, the fumes are gone but the heat remains. 

Tonight I put a couple of pots on the grate.  1 boiled up some egg noodles, another took care of the asparagus.  Hot italian sausage went directly on the grates.  Tossed some sweet red pepper, peas, butter and alfredo sauce into the noodles.  Stuffed my face, let me tell you! 

Finished the meal with a dark ale.  Well deserved after these past few weeks.

The entire meal was prepared without the aid of fossil fuels.  I'm pleased with that fact.

Lord, it was DELICIOUS!
 
paul wheaton
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bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I have some footage of two cases of preparing a barrel for use in a rocket mass heater.  In both cases, the barrel is loaded with wood and a piece of duct is used as a chimney.  You get the rockety sound.

 
Ken Peavey
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I've seen steel burn barrels rust away to nothing in just a couple of years.  Brick will hold on for quite a while.
 
Posts: 37
Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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I had been thinking somewhere along these lines and came across this forum after coming up with this idea this morning. If the barrel is tilted and set in the ground with the chimney leaning diagonally across it so that when the barrel is leaned at an angle the chimney would stick straight up in the air, then this would allow all of the ashed and debris to gravity feed into the throat of the chimney and the hottest part of the burn zone. Another thought I just had; with the upward thrust effect here, some sort of screen might be needed so as not to send hot embers flying all over the place. I am attaching an image of what I have in mind, but I'm not sure if I can make it display or not.
Filename: rocket-burn-barrel.bmp
Description: Rocket Burn Barrel idea
File size: 1 megabytes
 
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