Jamie Corne

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since Jan 11, 2013
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Recent posts by Jamie Corne

paul wheaton wrote:I think there is a bizarre bunch of things going on with all this stuff that most of you don't know about.


Ernie and Erica would teach people, for free, for years. I posted videos for free. And because there were places where a few people did not understand the physics or the math, they would say mean and hurtful things. But smarter folks would understand and have great success.

Eventually the message was optimized so that people had less fuel for their ugliness.

So the first message is, keep in mind that those people that try to help others for free tend to get an ugly shit storm for payment.


I am dumbfounded at the number of fire themed bucket-of-horrors that are created and the creator proudly yells "rocket mass heater!" --- no, that is not a rocket mass heater. You need to come up with your own name for that freak show of flaming death.


I have managed on-line forums for over 25 years. So I am used to people contacting me outside of the forums to ask me questions that really belong in the forums. And I am a mega hard ass about it and say: If you ask me your question in the forum, I will answer you in the forum at no charge. Outside of the forum, it would seem that you are asking me for a private consultation, and I charge $160 per hour for that.

It is bizarre the number of people who email me (or send a PM from all sorts of PM services) and say "you don't know me, but I have a question about rocket mass heaters." I tell them the above and their response is "I don't like forums, can't you just answer my questions over email?" "Yes, I can. Here is my paypal account, please send me $160." "That is ridiculously rude beyond words! How do you expect to change the world with an attitude like that?"

The answer, of course, is that I cannot help 20,000 people if my time is consumed by one person. Posts in the forums help thousands.

Ernie and Erica get bombarded with similar stuff in their email. I try to tell them to charge these folks or direct them back to the forums. Usually they remember, but sometimes they are too softhearted. And being softhearted is nearly always punished.


These are growing pains. This is a technology with a popularity that is growing exponentially. The people that are involved are being run ragged. There is just not enough time in the day to personally help everybody. And a lot of folks that have come to the forums to learn, and have left once their rocket mass heater is working well. They do not feel the same compulsion to help others. Especially when helping people seems to always come with so much pain.

It isn't really the fault of the newbie. They're new! They don't know all this stuff that is happening. Since they are new, they probably think there are only 12 of these build each year and they will be one of the 12! So, surely, the great experts will be excited to hear about their efforts! The reality is that there are thousands being build this year - probably five times more this year than last year. And a lot of those people are seeking help privately - and want it for free.

All of the people in the rocket mass heater world are trying to figure out ways to cope with the freakishly massive demands on their time. As the crowds grow ever larger, the previous techniques will fail, nerves will get frayed, and new techniques will need to be tried under the banner of "trial and error" - and the "error" part will surely lead to more stumbles.

An ever growing massive gob of less-than-perfect human beings trying to collectively move forward.


I would like to ask people to try to use a slight language differentiation. A "rocket stove" is for cooking - typically outdoors. A "rocket mass heater" is based on rocket stove technology, but is for heating your home - typically indoors. Calling it a "rocket stove mass heater" is okay. But when you say you want to heat your home with a "rocket stove" then a lot of people get concerned about the smoke and gasses that will build up in your house and then everybody will die. Adhering to this tiny bit of vocabulary stuff soothes a lot of problems.

Respecting people's various trades is important. Many people in many different industries go to the "experts" for things that they don't necessarily know about. There is a rapidly growing interest in rocket stoves throughout the United States. A lot of this, I think has to do with our current economic climate.

Many people find this site through Google or Youtube. I found it by being referred. I will not name his name for certain personal reasons.

When I first came here - I did not realize who the "more experienced" people were. I was excited and it was like an adventure for me. I was so curious - as most people are. The Rocket Mass Heater and Rocket Stove are very awesome things - that a lot of people are only starting to hear about. It's very difficult to know the "basics" of any of these structures because the internet is full of different designs and I think that's why most people end up here. Upon arrival - there are so many topics...

I read on this forum for a little over a week...before registering and beginning to communicate. The threads that I had read...showed many "experienced" rocket stove builders helping others with their questions...and conversations about helping...

As a newbie - I thought this was the norm. I wanted to learn - and so my questions were naturally directed at those people whom I felt were most knowledgeable. These same people seemed to be very open, kind and willing to help - so I emailed several (or PM'd on here).

I had no idea that might have been "offensive" to some. In my experience on the internet on forums that are directed at a trade - people that are experienced have always been more than willing to help and answer questions of those who are just getting started.

My suggestion: perhaps pin a topic on top explaining things to newbies - so that this won't happen in the future. There are many people who don't know anyone on here and once venturing out to other forums and sites...may not know there are connections.

When I go to a doctor - I always try to get a second opinion on things. Most people do, and in fact, among the medical community - it's recommended. By pinning a topic above explaining the various intricacies of asking for help - it might lead to less "trouble" here and more productivity.

Just some thoughts.
7 years ago

Gerald O'Hara wrote:Jamie,
Not sure what happened. I was going back to answer one of your questions on the RMH string you posted and it was "GONE".Then I sent an email to you and it bounced.
I am, as you may remember in SDAK...Northeast corner.
I am just learning about permaculture and quite honestly haven't mastered the concept as yet.
Drop a line to Icu4dzs at gmail.com

Long story - I'll tell you in email.

I'm down here 13 miles north of Brookings in Bruce.

I'll send you an email right now.
7 years ago

Gerald O'Hara wrote:G'day Jamie,
At the risk of sticking my foot in my mouth I am going to offer some information that may or may not assist you with the "problem".
Before I started building a rocket stove, I spent quite a while trying to find out if there was a specific proportion to the rocket stove components. After "kissing a lot of frogs" I finally found a site from M.I.T. which described the specific proportions required. I will start by saying that my original piece of equipment was a 30" piece of exhaust pipe steel 5" in diameter. The steel was cut into two pieces on the 45 with the short peice being 10" and the longer piece being 20". This was welded together and actually made a reasonably credible rocket stove in that simple configuration. I did take a piece of 4" flat bar and weld that to the inside of the combustion chamber to provide a shelf for the fuel as it entered the stove. As I said, it worked pretty good but not great. It still seemed a bit "smokey" and I wanted to know what I had done wrong.

I found this website and on it was the equation necessary to have a very successful rocket stove. The entire stove depends on the area of the opening into the combustion chamber which in my situation was 5" x Pi. (3.1416) In the equation from M.I.T. the important feature was the diameter of the fire box, such that the diameter of the opening to the fire box is considered algebraically as "X" The horizontal portion where the combustion chamber is situated will now be considereed 2x and the total height of the riser should be x + (1.5 or 2 x) + 5 cm. So in my case the horizontal combustion chamber which was 12" long had to be cut down by 2" and the vertical stack had to be cut down to about 17 ". This gave a much more satisfactory burn and allowed the wood to keep burning as long as I tended it and added more fuel periodically.

Therefore, when looking at the opening in your RMH where the first thing is the rocket stove, it would seem to me that the proportions of the stove opening and the length of the exhaust stack might be mis calculated yielding a goodly amount of smoke.
As I said, I am NO engineer as may be a few of the gentlemen here but in either case, you may want to play some tricks with the math and see if your design meets with important principles needed to fix the problem.

I certainly hope this computes and adquately relays the thought process somehat more clearly.
I hope this helps in your quest to find a good resolution of your rocket stove difficulties.

Gerald Thank you so much for the clarification. I had (only yesterday evening/today in the early morning) looked through the MIT website in depth...

I know I said I was not going to post here again - but my email notifications are on and I saw that you'd made a response. I am not so disrespectful as to nod you off because you've been nothing but respectful and kind to me - not to mention helpful and encouraging.

At first it was over whelming. But once I looked at it and sat back and thought about it - it wasn't so "gibberish" anymore.

I think my problem was that although I knew the configuration had to be right - we were trying to use the little "fire brick" that we had...to the maximum that we could without altering the configuration. Again - the money issue comes in where we have to drive to Sioux Falls (20.00 to and from). While 20.00 doesn't sound like a lot of money...it is during the winter for us. That sounds terrible, but it's true. If we can escape having to drive that far so often for a deal on bricks...well you know. That 20.00 goes a long way in our house hold for now...anyway. I couldn't imagine having to drive 4 hours...everytime I needed bricks or clay...to Sioux Falls or Fargo. You have my respect...only recently have our gas prices begun dropping - and we're still in the 3.50'ish range the last time we checked in town and the news said it's supposed to reach over 4.00 a gallon again by early summer.

So, what we decided to do was disassemble the entire thing (and Donkey had suggested this as well), cut the floor out and just drop it onto the soil beneath the once-trailer floor two feet below. We'll be extending the riser of course, to meet the drop. It's going to be a bit of a "personalized" stove then. We are re-doing our Sketchup CAD figure as well. It's going to have to be 2 rocket stoves in 1 since we're putting it into the ground. One side will heat that side of the house (we're going to build a conclave around it and make it look like an architectual detail) and then with a reverse conclave on the other side (the two conclaves will form that portion of the wall) will be the other rocket stove that will fuel the "kitchen" area including range and will connect to yet another one that will serve as the "kiln/oven."

We've decided that with our current roof and how it's going to be - that we're going to build our own chimney that all the pipes from all three rocket stoves will connect to (after they get through the thermal mass in some instances) it and then go up vertically - per Peter's suggestion.

The confusion around the problem and our balking against the vertical chimney...was that we were only doing our "test" burn without the thermal mass...and thought he wanted us to put a vertical exhaust on it "before" the thermal mass and were not understanding how that would work. Miscommunication.

I'm thinking that by the time we're done, it will be late spring (maybe early spring in March or April) - and then we can begin doing the "aesthetics" to it. It will look like this - only with a conclave wall behind it, mirrored on the other side (only on the other side - it will simply be one giant bench that extends around the corner in the other room - which will be our dining room)

It's going to take some time - there's no question about that. It's gonna take some mistakes - that's for sure (and welcomed). But it's gonna be well worth it in the end. There's a lot of people over here who want to see ours when it's done and who are contemplating doing the same. While we don't really have time to go into "business" nor do we have the experience...we'd be more than happy to get people started and direct them at people who are willing to help out.

I really appreciate your input here. There are so many "cross section" designs out there on the internet - that it was difficult for us to determine which one would work for our stove..without us having to spend a trillion dollars redoing our stove just to see which one works. We're also going to have to get pretty "well experienced" in the problems of building one of these because we plan on taking the skill with us to the disaster sites on our disaster projects. For more information on that - you can go to this topic: http://donkey32.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=tester&thread=689&page=1

That is - if our stakeholders will agree to it.

Anyway - thanks so much for the advice and tid bits of measurements. We'll probably be restarting the project tomorrow morning (today is my 32nd birthday, so we took the day off to enjoy and relax...and read lol)

"You have to be the change that you want in the world." Gandhi

Lord knows I'm tryin lol.
7 years ago

Marcos Buenijo wrote:

Jamie Corne wrote:I appreciate your pessimism. It drives my want to experiment so I can come back and say, "guess what? it worked!"

I am not interested in traditional methods. I am interested in new and improved methods.

Thank you for your input.

Well, you did make the same observation in the original post ("restricting the very top of the chimney to increase the velocity of the steam in order to turn a turbine fast enough - but that would seem to also restrict draft and become counter productive"). There is great value in learning how certain things can't work. It's not pessimism to point these out.

In principle, it is possible to get more form the rocket mass heater than heat. However, this must come at the expense of simplicity and at the expense of direct space heating. For example, there is a large piston steam engine near where I live that was used to power a sugar processing plant during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Piston steam engines have a reputation for poor thermal efficiency. However, it turns out that this well designed Corliss engine was literally too efficient in its particular application. What the plant really needed was process heat. So, while the plant did use the engine for mechanical work applications, and it also used some electricity generated by the engine driving a modest generator, it really made the most use of the steam exhausted from the engine. It often needed more heat than what the engine exhaust would provide, so they would often take additional steam directly off the boiler. There are also good examples of this principle on Navy ships. The steam generated from the reactor of a nuclear powered vessel is used for many applications, and this steam is generally taken after it passes through at least part of the engine. So, the heat in the steam is used to generate work, then the remaining heat is harvested for other useful applications like water distillation, space heating, and water heating. It's even possible to use heat to provide refrigeration applications such as air conditioning. It seems you're contemplating on the same basic principles here, so that's why I mentioned these things. I've thought along the same lines, and have considered many possible configurations for a residential setting.

Very interesting. Tomorrow I might look into that during the morning hours. My husband and his father are Navy Vets. My husband's father served on a destroyer and my husband on an air craft carrier. My father-in-law was a barber while my husband was a catapult technician on the flight deck.

It's exactly the issue about "excess" steam and pressure that I'm worried about. If I used a pressure canning system (like the one I can veg and fruit with in the autumn) - only making into a bit of an altered machine...it might be possible but the thing is - I'm going to have a bit of difficulty controlling the amount of steam coming out...especially after firing the stove up after it's been out for "x" amount of time. I do believe it would take a bit of equation to put it together...and test in "theory" before building.

It's great to be among like-minded individuals who are thinking these things. There are so many inventions out there...that the government "prohibited" for "x" reason. They are out in the market being used today..but people are scared to say...because of the government. Cold fusion...for example.

In China, it's called "New Hydrogen Technology."
7 years ago

Claire Skerry wrote:Why not just sink the rmh lower and set a closed system of a water reservoir over the barrel where the steam goes up to a turbine or something then back to the base. If you sink it lower enough you could probably use the top of the second barrel [water reservoir] as a cooking surface? That way you're not obstructing the flow etc.

Just an idea. Good luck!


This is an excellent idea. I am going to actually "try" it and will take pictures doing so - so you can see our progress. Won't be anytime soon though - but just know, we will update on it Thanks!!
7 years ago

Allen Jackson wrote:This isn't going to work, and any restrictions in the flow of your Rocket Mass heater exhaust will backfire, or at least smoke you out - best not to do it.

Probably best to look to a hybrid combo of solar & traditional wind turbines for electricity, unless you wish to be running a RMS-powered boiler to generate higher energy steam, which is probably much less efficient than just putting up a windmill.

I appreciate your pessimism. It drives my want to experiment so I can come back and say, "guess what? it worked!"

I am not interested in traditional methods. I am interested in new and improved methods.

Thank you for your input.
7 years ago