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Brick Bell Shop Heater  RSS feed

 
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Hi All;
Its finally time. Been collecting parts and doing prep work off and on all summer for my new shop heater. Starting to get cold out... I need my dragon roaring.
I started out by deciding where and how large the new heater would be, 4' x 6'. Then I dug down and put 2" foam insulation on the ground and up the sides. A 4" wall of concrete board around the whole thing and 4.5 yards of concrete to cover the whole floor. That left me with a 4'x6' section isolated and insulated from the rest of the slab and from the ground.  An ideal spot to build a RMH on.
I have 500-600 new and really old red clay bricks, plus a hundred or so full size firebrick. I purchased 15 new split firebricks... today I realized I needed 16...  I have enough 1" ceramic board to build my core. I have a 48" tall piece of 10" stove pipe that combined with my 1" superwool will be my 8" riser. I will be using a 55 gallon drum over that riser. I have one of those with removable lid already burned off to a shine, ready to go.
Today I assembled the ceramic board portion of the core. I used fire clay to join all surfaces. I then wrapped with a heavy aluminum foil around the whole thing, and temporary secured it together with tie wire. Only the burn tunnel and start of the riser are ceramic boards. The feed tube will be split firebrick.
I  sat the core in place and built a mock up to visualize things (and snap pictures). afterwards I mixed fireclay sand and water and mudded the first row of heavy fire brick around the base of the core to secure it in place. Tomorrow I will secure the feed tube bricks in place (all 15 of them :) surround the rest of the core bottom with heavy fire brick and start my red brick layers. I will be sure NOT to wear Birkenstock sandals while doing so...:)    
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Insulation in place ready to pour the floor
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Mock up
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mock up
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starting to look like a rocket
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I can hear it roaring already
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some materials near by.
 
pollinator
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Really look forward to watching your long awaited build to grow ...er... roar!
 
Posts: 37
Location: Australia Zone 10a
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Thanks for posting. I'm looking forward to watching the build progress.
 
thomas rubino
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Haven't had enough time to get much done in my build but here is how far I have gotten so far.  Due to the number of heavy firebrick I have on hand I will be using them to support the barrel. The rest will be red clay brick
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bottom layer and CF core
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The shop heater build gets started
 
Gerry Parent
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Thomas,   Is the aluminum foil (?) that you have wrapped around the core to help radiate some of the heat back to the fire or just there to help hold things together?
 
thomas rubino
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Hey Gerry;
Just to help hold it together. I built the core on my bench wrapped it in foil and used tie wire to help keep it together.I then carried it over to my build spot. The whole core assembly is shaky until it is in place and surrounded by clay brick. Once it is in place you must check your measurements and keep checking as you build up, it is very easy to push the CF wall in slightly as you place bricks and you end up with a tapering 7" tunnel instead of a square 7.5"... Don't ask how I know this...
 I asked Matt Walker's advice and it is what he uses on his builds.
 
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Looking good.  After researching your suggestions it seems that the heat riser with ceramic blanket is the only way to go.  I was afraid to deviate from the book when building mine.  I will build a shop heater in the future, and plan to incorporate a very tall riser with a brick type of bell perhaps.  Looking forward to more progress.
 
Dan Hatfield Ii
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Eric Hammond wrote:Looking good.  After researching your suggestions it seems that the heat riser with ceramic blanket is the only way to go.  I was afraid to deviate from the book when building mine.  I will build a shop heater in the future, and plan to incorporate a very tall riser with a brick type of bell perhaps.  Looking forward to more progress.




I'm going with the ceramic fibreboard core and riser. I believe, that at only one 1" thick, it does not require any extra insulation and can be nearly half the size of a standard riser.
Matt Walker super hot j plans
 
thomas rubino
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Note for all who wish to build with CF board.
 For my next CF board core, I will build a square wooden liner. With an outside dimension  the same as the inside dimension of the burn tunnel. This wooden form will burn out with the first fire and will make moving and building a ceramic fiber board core much easier.
 
Dan Hatfield Ii
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thomas rubino wrote:Note for all who wish to build with CF board.
 For my next CF board core, I will build a square wooden liner. With an outside dimension  the same as the inside dimension of the burn tunnel. This wooden form will burn out with the first fire and will make moving and building a ceramic fiber board core much easier.



Hi Thomas,

How do you personally join/stick the ceramic board together and what is the benefit of using the wood core please?
Thanks
 
thomas rubino
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Hey Dan;
I used pure fireclay with no sand to stick the boards together. The whole assembly is wobbly as you move it , by having a thin wooden form inside, it would be much more stable while moving.
But more important in my eyes is not having to constantly check dimensions when surrounding with brick.
I had my bricks almost to the top of the core when I realized that I had pushed with each brick moving the top of my side walls closer together. I had 7.5 " at the bottom and 7" at the top... with a wooden form this would be a non issue.
I removed two rows of brick to correct this ...  I could have had the whole core covered by now if that little boo boo hadn't happened.  Wood form might take 30 minutes to make...  burn out with the first fire...  no brainer for me.
 
Dan Hatfield Ii
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thomas rubino wrote:Hey Dan;
I used pure fireclay with no sand to stick the boards together. The whole assembly is wobbly as you move it , by having a thin wooden form inside, it would be much more stable while moving.
But more important in my eyes is not having to constantly check dimensions when surrounding with brick.
I had my bricks almost to the top of the core when I realized that I had pushed with each brick moving the top of my side walls closer together. I had 7.5 " at the bottom and 7" at the top... with a wooden form this would be a non issue.
I removed two rows of brick to correct this ...  I could have had the whole core covered by now if that little boo boo hadn't happened.  Wood form might take 30 minutes to make...  burn out with the first fire...  no brainer for me.



Great tip thanks. I'll do that. I have a cabinet saw and lots of joinery ghear so I'm very comforatable in the wood zone. I'll just use some 1/2" ply
Thanks for the help.
dan
 
thomas rubino
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Got a little time to play in the mud today.  Sure is a slow process getting started.  A working brick layer would be embarrassed to see my work... maybe I'll get better by the top of the bell.

I haven't worked on this project for almost a week ... A third full bucket of perfectly mixed clay was patiently waiting for my return... try that with refractory cement.  Working with the clay is so nice, your hands get nice and smooth.  

My Morgan Superwool has arrived !  12.5'  enough to do two 48" tall 8" risers. I'm excited to try a five minute riser out !



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getting there
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you end up with quite a mess
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coming along
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Morgan Superwool plus
 
thomas rubino
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Got a little bit more done today.

For starters I built my 5 minute riser. What a wonderful experience!  Might have taken 15 minutes....

Continued brick work.  Feed tube is now up to final height.  Lots more to go.  Finished the first bag of fire clay today, 2 more on hand and more easily acquired.  Finished off one small stack of heavy firebrick, one huge stack still on hand.  No lack of red clay brick so far.
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shop RMH build
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feed tube at full height
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shop RMH build
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shop RMH build
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shop RMH build
 
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Good project & thread.

How about posting some pics of the shop interior/layout.  I'm interested in that sort of thing.  Another place to put some would be here...  https://permies.com/t/62659/homestead-workshop-shed-situation  
 
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Thomas, one thing Fox James said, is that the five minute risers cool down rapidly. When i do mine, i think i gonna use some mass around it. Don't know yet.
 
thomas rubino
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Good Day Max;
I noticed Fox's comment on low mass risers as well.  I know that Fox likes to cook on his stoves, so a riser that slowly heats and then takes a long time to cool would be ideal. That is exactly how  Matt's  fireclay / perlite risers work.
In my build, I am thinking that the shear volume of brick will negate any quick cool down of the riser.
My shop is 24 x 32 with tall ceilings and minimum insulation. I want that thin barrel pumping out the heat & I also want that brick mass to hold the rest of that heat for me.
My previous stove in the shop for the last for the last 20 + years was a thin double barrel wood eating monster. It threw out great amounts of heat as long as you could throw great amounts of wood in it... 30 minutes after it went out it was cold to the touch. Rough to go in the house for lunch and come back to a cold stove and rapidly cooling shop.
My expectations for this new stove are slightly higher...

 
Gerry Parent
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thomas rubino wrote:Got a little time to play in the mud today.  Sure is a slow process getting started.  A working brick layer would be embarrassed to see my work... maybe I'll get better by the top of the bell.



Thomas,  Just curious to your red brick laying technique. Probably no surprise to anyone but isn't it better to stagger your joints for strength rather than work on one side and having more joints in a row?

BTW....I can see by the splashes of clay slip on walls and tools that your having fun.....that sure is one muddy hammer you've got there too!
 
Satamax Antone
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Thomas, when Fox James said this about his riser. I thought "i understand."

You might remember my workshop heater build. My heat riser is in a big 750 liters tank. It is not low mass, per se, but neither high mass.  I used those terracotta tubes from schiedel or Tona. With rockwool around, all contained by those pozzolan concrete flue elements.  And that's a fairly high mass around. I often wake up the next morning, still feeling the radiation of the heat riser, through the barrel. Not direct radiation.

So i thought, with your tiny 5 minutes riser, fitting another huge tube around, and filling with sand or else, could prove beneficial; in radiating through the barrel for longer.

Obviously, you do what you want, but this is an idea.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Gerry;
Your being very polite :)  
Actually you can't tell, but all the single wall brick around the feed tube, is laid out in a properly staggered pattern.  What I think you are seeing is the firebrick around the core unit.  That brick is 2 x 2 stacked, it is all non structural mass. Its main purpose is to surround the core, hold heat and as a solid base for my barrel. I am quickly reaching a height where I will go back to single wall construction for raising the barrel the rest of the way up. That will be in a traditional stagger pattern, as will the bell.

As far as my mess ... well, its clay... it sticks to stuff ....it splashes on stuff... its just wet dirt...  that hammer should have never let me touch it ... and  OK OK  I admit it, I'm just a sloppy kind of guy :) having fun playing in the mud with bricks. You should see my clothes (and me) when I come in...  I get many scowls as I troop through the house ... its just clay honey it cleans up .... Ha Ha   we live on a farm, on a gravel road. I always troop thru the house dirty. Scowl's and tongue lashings over dirty clothes roll off me like water off a duck...
 
Gerry Parent
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Hey Thomas, I figured you knew what you were doing.... pictures can sometimes be deceiving.

I live in the boondocks too with a community of many former house wives and get that same look too... especially the other day when the septic system backed up for the last time and I repositioned the section of pipe that didn't have enough angle to it. Dirt, poop and other nasties are not too welcome anywhere but outdoors far away from the house!
 
thomas rubino
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Little bit more each day.  Starting to form the barrel seat. Cardboard cutout is to visualize where the barrel will be.
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starting barrel seat
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Shop RMH
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Shop RMH
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Shop RMH
 
Eric Hammond
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Looking good Thomas.  What does the joint between your heat riser and the brick it sits on look like?  Did you seal it in anyway?
 
thomas rubino
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Right now it is still just sitting on the bricks.  My plan was, might still be, to just bed it with fire clay. I am tempted to bed it on superwool.  I need to cut my next two pieces for the greenhouse riser and see how much extra I have left. If it is enough ...  we will see.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi All; Been a busy week, I've wanted to work on my stove ... keep stopping and staring at it when I pass thru., then I remind myself that I have other things to do and to quit goofing off. All things in their time I guess...
Took a good look today at the seat for my riser. I think that provided I have extra, I am going to stuff the four corners with ceramic blanket and move on.  It can't go anywhere being surrounded by firebrick, no need to fireclay it down.
I have been using hot water to mix my fireclay really helps keep your hands from turning blue :)  Still coming up with my barrel support, almost all the bricks need an angle cut on them... sure takes time. things will speed up some when I get to the bell.
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shop RMH
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shop RMH
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feed tube complete shop RMH
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shop RMH
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Riser seat shop RMH
 
thomas rubino
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Well I've been busted :(  Was informed last evening that I must wear my rubber boots when working on my stove AND remove them EVERY time I come indoors ...  seem's I have been leaving clay footprints everywhere on our beautiful hickory floors...  I argued that the cats have been doing this with litter for years...  True I was told BUT... they have smaller feet AND they do not leave dry clumps the next morning ... (the real issue I think) .... and beside ... those cats are her babies . :) I saw those dry clumps .. should have swept them up on my way out the door, before the boss arose...

Resistance is futile and consequences will not be to my liking...

Watch out Gerry YOU could be next ! Ha Ha
 
Gerry Parent
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Groan!  Thanks for the heads up man! Boy, how some truths are universal..... however.....now that I think of it, I do recall recently seeing a picture of Staci wearing some "hairy" rubber boots covered with cob.... I wonder if we should warn her too?
So perhaps after all its not just a 'guy' thing but rather a mad rocket scientist kind of thing?
 
thomas rubino
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Happy Thanksgiving Day !  Our children are all to "busy" to go way out there ... just for turkey dinner...  they do seem to manage it at Christmas time though... imagine that :)
That means that I got some free time to play in the mud today.
First photo is the most important one...
Happy Wife..Happy Life !
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Rubber boots OFF for break time
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Starting up with the walls
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Shop RMH
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Shop RMH
 
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thomas rubino wrote:
First photo is the most important one...
Happy Wife..Happy Life !



Next house you get, make sure it's a clay floor!
 
thomas rubino
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Test fit the barrel today.  Sweet ! Sat on there like I know what I'm doing... Things should speed up some now that I'm not having to mark and cut every brick. Sure makes a mess cutting brick indoors...
Hickory floors now only have small clay foot prints on them...:)
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Shop RMH
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Shop RMH
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Shop RMH
 
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That's really looking great Thomas!

Happy Thanksgiving!
 
Graham Chiu
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Are you using a wet saw to cut your bricks?

Oh, and you need new gum boots with these soles.

 
thomas rubino
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Hi Graham;      Great sandal's ! I'll have to see if I can find some gum boots with that tread !

No, I should be using a wet saw but...I don't have one, So  I'm using a hand held 4.5" angle grinder with a masonry blade. Children do not try this at home!
 Cut from 4 sides then take a hammer and snap it off ... use grinder to smooth the cut off.  Slow , dangerous , definitely not recommended by the safety department.
In my defense I do wear a respirator and a full face shield .      
 
Satamax Antone
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Thomas, can't you get yourself a diamond wheel? They're cheap now.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi max;
It is a diamond wheel, I just think of it as masonry blade.   It still is on a hand grinder and the safe thing to do, would be to get a wet saw... Luckily I'm almost done cutting, so no need...
 
Satamax Antone
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi max;
It is a diamond wheel, I just think of it as masonry blade.   It still is on a hand grinder and the safe thing to do, would be to get a wet saw... Luckily I'm almost done cutting, so no need...



Thomas, since you need to soak the bricks before using them. A good trick to cut with a diamond wheel without water, is to soak your bricks which need cutting, overnight in a bucket. If not perfect, it helps.

Another trick, mind you, i have never used it with a 5 inch grinder. But on a 9. 1/4.

Is to ude a hand pump sprayer to wet your cut. I use something like this:

https://www.grudge.com.au/product/5l-hand-pump-sprayer/

But may be on your own, you could use the small type.






 
thomas rubino
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Haven't gotten any more built on the stove for a few days. But I did move all my remaining clay brick indoors ... snow is on the way, much easier  too build with without snow and ice.
I suspect my old bricks are early 1900's , I found some "special" one's that go around corners...
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new bricks
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old bricks with "class"
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"special" bricks that go around corners
 
thomas rubino
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Posts: 1599
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
153
cat pig rocket stoves
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Got a touch more done yesterday, and heading out this morning to do a little more...   wish I had started this in the spring!
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shop RMH
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Shop RMH
 
thomas rubino
gardener
Posts: 1599
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
153
cat pig rocket stoves
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Little more each time.  Adding the heat sink bricks in the wall now. As a single skin bell these will help resist against cracking.
Will be forming the exhaust outlet soon. I have decided to leave the bell at floor level with a brick box , large enough for my chimney to sit down inside. It will run up the outside of the bell and on up to the roof. (APX. 18')
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Shop RMh
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Shop RMH heatsinks
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Shop RMH heatsinks
 
It runs on an internal combustion engine. This ad does not:
Groundnuts, Chestnuts, Elderberry, Comfrey+ from Interwoven Nursery
https://permies.com/t/94677/Groundnut-Tubers-Apios-americana-Improved
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