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barrel?

 
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is a barrel necessary for an outdoor bench? i mean could you just have pipe coming off the top of the riser, and going down and into a mass bench? am i missing an important function of the barrel besides giving off fast heat?
 
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The hot gasses cooling in the barrel helps them sink into the bench/flue. If you keep the firebox low you could just use enough riser to reach up to the bench.

Without extracting heat, downflow is a draft liability.
 
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