Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
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R Scott

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since Apr 13, 2012
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Recent posts by R Scott

If you think it isn’t stable enough, you can put diagonal bracing on with big SPAX screws and easily remove them when you need full access.
Farmers use them as weights to hold down tarps

You could use them as part of your geogrid or as a driveway base in less sloped areas.
3 weeks ago
You definitely want the rain screen, just make sure the gap is screened for bugs and mice at top and bottom. It creates a calm air space so wind driven rain stops and gravity takes over. The gap is good for a minor r value boost as well. All wood siding should have a rain screen.

If you want a little less permeable, old fashioned tar paper as a backer to the rain screen will still breathe between the seams but stop the wind pressure. Where I am at I would need that, but a cabin tucked in the woods probably doesn’t see that much wind actually hit  the cabin.

Hitting dew point in the wall is bad, that is why they thought plastic vapor barrier was a good idea. New technology has smart vapor control layers that change their permeability based on conditions and are one way—they let vapor out but not in. Really cool stuff but most assume a powered HVAC system to deal with the majority of interior moisture.

Look up vapor diffusion ports. It’s a southern thing but the ideas can translate to the north. Basically all interior vapor in a low permeable house eventually rises to the ridge, so you build most of the house zero perm and then spend a the money for the fancy smart barrier only at the ridge.
1 month ago
When I put in a wood cook stove, I documented all the changes I made, especially how I replaced the wood studs and drywall with steel studs and cement board. I made sure my clearance to combustibles was more than needed and I had the receipts and spec sheets for the chimney components.  And fort chimney cleaning gear.

The key was it couldn’t be “primary” heat, so have a furnace of some kind even if you never plan to use it. I know several people with baseboard electric heater or a blue flame gas heater in the living room that has been used once.

3 months ago
I’m a builder for my day job. We build in areas with code and inspections, and we build in areas without. There are many times the code is out of date or just plain wrong. There are better ways to build, either new materials or new methods, that are both stronger and cheaper but not allowed per code.

It is important to understand the WHY of the code. Then you can figure out the best way to meet that need for your needs.
Sure you can. Issues to think about:

cleanability. Patio stones and can be hard to sweep, so keep that in mind as you decide on smoothness and grout/mortar between joints.

Vapor/radon Barrier. Depending on where you are, you need a barrier to keep ground moisture and radon from coming into the house.

Insulation. The floor can get COLD depending on your climate. You will want to isolate the floor slab from the outside. But if you are in a hot climate, you may want to keep the floor coupled to the ground for natural cooling.

3 months ago
My second hand conclusion from watching LOTS of videos is that a homestead scale it is easier to make mud balls by hand than use the larger blocker.
Here’s a pretty good video on stump grafting an old pear.

4 months ago
Valid idea. Solar white paint is probably the winner for price/performance. Need to worry about ventilation in that space. I don’t think filling it with insulation is worthwhile unless that is a solid beam header above all the windows.

I am totally stealing the idea!  
4 months ago