Matt Walker

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

Hey Permies, I thought I'd share my latest video with you all.  I go over the secondary air component in a batch box rocket mass heater and talk a bit about materials.  Thanks so much for letting me share!
2 weeks ago

Michael Linville wrote:I’m wondering if it’d work okay to scale this system down to a 4” one. I’m living in the foothills of the Himalayans, and the local stoves all have 4” flues. I would use it (at least for this season) solely for heat and some cooking. I won’t do the mass heater part or even the extra part for warming water. I don’t have a lot of room, and it’ll be freestanding in the middle of the room (I’ll move it at the end of the season). Basically, I’m thinking about building your riser-less core and adding a top to it (granite, concrete, or a big slab of rock).  I can get the ceramic fiber panels, and I’ll put a metal casing around the sides and bottom.  Do you see any red flags to this? I greatly appreciate your help, and I greatly appreciate you sharing this new system you’ve developed!

Michael, thanks so much for the kind words and interest.  I have to admit that I truly do not know the answer to your question.  I suspect that it would likely scale down and work wonderfully, although I do only think that of your proposed configuration.  I do not think a 4" core would function at all trying to drive mass.  However, a simple little cook stove made by capturing the core in a metal skin like my Aluminum Series has a very good chance of functioning acceptably, in my opinion.  I think it's worth a try.
4 weeks ago
Hey Permies!  I finally got around to making an update video on the Tiny Cook Stove.  The short version is I'm incredibly pleased with this little stove, it's been a wonderful amenity and I am not changing a thing.  A lot of you have been asking for an update on my experience living with it, and I finally got around to making a video for you all.  I'm greatly enjoying interacting with all of the builders and Permies who are currently building to these plans, so THANK YOU to all of you here, for letting me share and for the amazing support!

4 weeks ago
Joylynn, in my opinion cinder blocks are not suitable for the body of the stove.  It should be built with solid clay brick.

For tops, concrete, granite or marble could all work. 

A bench could be built at a later date.  It would require some disassembly of the stove body, but it would not be difficult.

1 month ago
Mary, you could use steel or cast iron for the top instead of the glass if you prefer.  Max gave you good info on the chimney.  My opinion is a good chimney above the roof line is a requirement for acceptable performance in a wood burning heater.

1 month ago
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.
4 months ago
He's in Bulgaria Bryan.
5 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!
5 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"

6 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. 
6 months ago