Matt Walker

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since Nov 27, 2011
North Olympic Peninsula
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Recent posts by Matt Walker

Burra, up to about 16" in length, and under 6" thick are good guidelines for firewood.  You can exceed both of those by a bit, but I try to cut to those limits.

Mark, the bells don't need cleanouts in my opinion.  Ash will accumulate slowly and it would take a very long time for ash to interfere with performance the way it does in a system of flues.  It's easy enough to inspect and clean via lifting the tops.  All that said, there no harm in cleanouts if a builder wants to include them.
2 months ago
He's in Bulgaria Bryan.
3 months ago
Bethany!  Wonderful to hear you are having such a positive experience.  It's amazing how the cravings go away and things just become so simple, isn't it?  Thank you so much for the update, your post totally made my day!
3 months ago
Hi Permies, I thought I'd share this lovely review I just received with you all.  It sure makes my day to hear from people building these heaters, thanks for letting me share here!

"Building this stove is the best decision I have made as family man and home owner. After purchasing and reading all of the books on rocket stoves / Rocket Mass Heater (RMH) and purchasing and watching the videos of same, I feel the single greatest ROI is the Builder’s Guide for the Tiny Masonry Cook Stove and Heater. Not only are these plans highly detailed, he offers additional videos and email support which I found extremely valuable and motivating.

I am grateful for the RHM videos because it introduced me to Peter Van Den Berg and Matt Walker. Mostly I was impressed with Matt’s ability to simplify and innovate beyond the greatest hindrance of building the heater in the first place, having a big metal drum in the main living area of the home!

In order to sell myself on the concept of the heater, I built my first one outside. After a couple of emails with Matt, I built a half barrel system based on his design and instructions from his YouTube channel. It was a bit more primitive but was a fun project with the family and eye opening experience to see the heater come to life. After the proof of concept, I made plans to build the heater inside my home. I started my build with four half barrels for the bench and was planning to build a Batch Box Rocket / Stove Heater. As an amateur builder and DIY’er I quickly became confused and frustrated of how to make Peter’s design work for my home. Thank the Lord, Matt published his designs around this time and after much consideration we purchased them.

At the time, my greatest concern was the “idea” of less, immediate, radiant heat from the ceramic glass cooktop. But, after completing the build and firing it for the first time, we quickly realized this was not the case.

We are on the metric system and do not have the same standard size of bricks on my market, but Matt did the conversions and was available to answer all of my questions and concerns promptly and proficiently. My build was never slowed down because I did not have the right answer to my question or the information was to complex, quite the opposite.

This was a very fun and, more importantly, rewarding build. We have been firing the heater for less than a week and the performance only continues to exceed, our very high, expectations as the masonry continues to dries out from the building process. On the first day of firing, the instant radiant heat was more than enough power to heat my 150 square meter home, while snowing outside, from 18C to 22C after three loads of dry seasoned wood. We have thermostats in every room and for us, I can say the temperature difference is less than half a degree Celsius. For example, the heater is in the living room and the bedrooms and kitchen stay consistently between 20.5C and 23C. But, the temperature/degree is not the same comfort of other heating systems, there is simply no comparison of the comfort from head to toe.

After using an electric cooktop for the last 10 years, we were blown away with how quickly our first few meals reached the boiling point on the cooktop. A large pot of water comes to a rolling boil in a minimum amount of time on top of where the fire exits the core and meets the cooktop. And if you need to lower the temperature, move the pot to a different location. We were able to master the heating zones for cooking before the first charge of wood had finished its combustion cycle. 

Having now built both a RMH with a barrel, and the Tiny Masonry Cook Stove Heater I can confidently say the cook stove meets all of our goals. Plus, we are not bothered with the smell of hot metal when the fire is raging inside. We already find ourselves cooking more home meals on the cooktop since we all jump at the chance to be closer. Honestly, we have not had a good reason to use our conventional cooktop since we started firing our new heater. It now serves all of our cooking needs for a growing family.

Overall, we love this new feature in our home. Even though we don’t have cushions on the bench, yet, they are still the first choice to eat, sit or nap on as the comfort of the heat brings inexpressible joy to the occupants. Surprisingly, we find ourselves opening the windows more often for fresh air, not because we feel we need it, but since the heater holds and radiates heat so well, there is not a drastic change in room temperature after leaving a door or window open for 10 minutes. The same can be said after a long cold night of not firing to heater too, once the masonry is heated it holds a solid temperature and the decrease is gradual, half a degree over several hours no matter how many times you open the door on a freezing cold day.

So from everyone in my Family, THANK YOU Matt Walker for working through 5+ iterations to reach your high standards of quality and expectations of heater you are willing to offer and promote others to build in their home. We truly appreciate your efforts and have already invited all of our friends who were interested in the build and concept to come and experience how wonderful this heater in our home is, especially after not having fired it for 8 - 10+ hours. It is just amazing to us that everyone walks around with a tiny Smart phone / computer in their hand or pocket, but still most homes in Europe are heating their homes with wood at only 35% efficiency. Really appreciate your efforts to help us break the mold and build our own heater that no longer produces pollutants out of our chimney and into the air we are breathing in our front yard.  

Nicholas O’Neal – Europe"

4 months ago
Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments you two! Bethany, I'm so glad to hear you are giving it a try, here's hoping it's as profoundly positive for you as it has been for me.  Xisca, I don't drink any water starting about 30 minutes before eating and I wait for about an hour afterwards. 
4 months ago
Hi Permies!  Many of you have been asking for a full plan set for a Batch Rocket Mass Heater along the lines of my Brick Rocket Mass Heater Plans.  I've finally dug in and got the full Plan Set and Builder's Guide finished up this week, and it's now available! I'm excited about this plan set, the heater is a small-ish, simple brick build built around my ceramic fiber batch core based on Peter van den Berg's brilliant Batch Rocket core design.  Using my easy door and hardware methods allows for a build even a first time builder can easily complete with a minimum of tools and skills required.  Hopefully this meets the needs and wishes of many of you who have been looking for simple batch rocket plans.  Thanks so much as always for allowing me to share my work here, I greatly appreciate all the kind support and interest from all of you Permies! 

You can find the plans here:

Walker Batch Rocket Mass Heater Plans

5 months ago
He did not Kathleen, I'll see if I can find out though.
6 months ago
Got another great testimonial from a customer today.  These totally make my week.

"All I have to compare it to is years and years of conventional wood stove burning, the little j tube I built last winter, and what is on the internet. It's at least 5 times more efficient than last years j tube and much more sturdy (structurally stable). The j tube literally crumbled apart during disassembly because of the different amounts of product in each layer and different amounts of heat exposure. Wood stoves require an unlimited amount of wood and somewhere to keep it which just isn't practical living in the city like I do. In real world application, it's a wet cold here in Portland and my place is poorly insulated against it. I have an electric furnace and while I can turn it up and stand in front of it, it isn't able to drive out the cold wet air that permeates everything right down to your bones. But your stove has no problem driving out the cold wet air. So it's not only warm in here, it's dry. That was my primary reason for building it and here are some of the criteria; it had to have a small foot print which it does, it had to be fuel efficient which it is, it had to produce very little pollution and it gets A+ in that. And finally, it needed to a decent cookstove which it is. And the icing on top is that this stove can be reproduced if and when I move. What's more, it's a great little project that requires very few tools and is quite fun to build. I used a jig saw, drill, portable cutoff saw, tin snips, screwdriver, hammer, and miscellaneous mortar tools. I just youtube how to cut bricks, which is really simple and easy. After it was all said and done, getting your stove plans which is already designed and tested is way cheaper and easier than starting from scratch which I know all about.
So you should feel good about this one Matt, Yeah, there's always somebody out there that can screw it up but for the most part, your average person who is into these kinds of projects will really enjoy building it and be surprised by how well they work. "
6 months ago
Ok Permies!  I finally got the site fixed after my major screw up.  If anyone is still having issues, please let me know!  Thanks Gang!
6 months ago
Thanks for the great comments all!  Dale, clearances depend on which face of the stove, but the backside can be 4" from combustibles.  The sides and front are heating areas and should have at least 12" clearance from combustibles.  Non-combustibles only need airspace so there is no direct thermal coupling.

As for the wood use, while it is interesting I find it useless.  Pauls "1/2 cord" statements are a great example.  We don't get the details of how he lives, time spent in the house, what one considers comfortable, home construction, weather, fuel type and condition, and on and on. I believe these are worse than useless as indicators of performance as they can deceive people who only grasp the basics and thus cause much misunderstanding and false expectations. The Tiny Cook runs at better than 85% efficiency, which is better than almost any wood fired heater you can purchase.  These stoves are at the top of the food chain regarding efficiency, regardless of how little or much wood one uses.

For example, it's 85° in here right now.  If I was trying to impress with wood use I'd put on a sweater. Hope that helps.
6 months ago