Glenn Herbert

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since Mar 04, 2013
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Glenn Herbert currently moderates these forums:
Early education and work in architecture has given way to a diverse array of pottery, goldsmithing, and recently developing the family property as a venue for the New York Faerie Festival, while maintaining its natural beauty and function as private homestead.
Upstate NY, zone 5
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Recent posts by Glenn Herbert

"Thick enough" is a relative term. Whatever thickness you can afford or have space for is right for you. Obviously, the thicker the insulating layer, the more isolated from ground temperature you will be. If you have 4 cm total available, and the wood slices are 2 cm thick, I think the wood will have as much to do with the overall insulating ability as the clay mix. All I can say is to try small sections of various combinations and see how they feel and hold up, before doing the whole floor.
13 hours ago
When I think of "raging river", I see the creek that runs through my property, which can move 2000 pound boulders and 80 foot tall pine trees roots and all downstream in a major flood... so the picture of a brisk stream flowing peacefully through grassland is incongruous to me

But the OP's description sounds more like my situation than later posters'. Without access to modify the headwaters, there is nothing that can be done unless there is access to large rocks, in the several hundred pound range, and lots of them. Large tree trunks in plenty might also be effective at making control structures that will not be washed away in floods.

If water rights are not involved, the idea of adding swales to conduct bankful flooding away to soak into the ground may be viable, although my experience with similar features is that the access from the streambed to swales would need to be reestablished after every flood, as the water will deposit sand or gravel or other debris in all secondary channels as the water recedes, leaving only the main channel(s) for flow.
To get the best combination of properties, you might try a thick layer of the lime/ash/etc. mixture with lots of straw or sawdust, left rough for good tooth, and a finish coat without the insulating additive.
1 day ago
I see no reason not to build an RMH with a masonry bell; it probably won't heat the whole house in the dead of winter, but may do it much of the year. Adding a second chimney and heater would be a good solution.
2 days ago
If laid out for proper convective circulation, it might work. The bigger the connecting pipes, the more likely it will be to work. A pump will make it work faster.

What will be best for your situation depends on the exact details of the installation and what you want from it.
4 days ago
Yep, about 3000 square feet, even well insulated, that is a lot of house. In a really cold climate like yours, I expect Max is right. And if you couldn't get enough heat from a batch box RMH, you couldn't get enough from a traditional masonry heater either.
4 days ago
My feeling is that this may be a good product for someone who wants to keep it stashed in a vehicle for immediate use while traveling, but $300 is a lot of money. Unless you need the collapsible factor, you could build one just as good for a few bucks and a couple of hours with hand tools. If you want the function while traveling light, you would be better served by learning to make a Dakota pit stove.

The unit looks to be sturdy stainless steel, and the hinge seams which would be slightly leaky are probably tight enough for the purpose. Many of the claims of superiority are not valid against typical rocket stoves; I am not sure exactly what they are comparing it to for these claims. I think it would operate exactly as well as any other rocket stove built to good dimensions. If used for serious cooking for a long time, the metal would probably start to warp if not corrode. Based on the promotional text, there will be no real user reviews as it has not been produced in commercial quantities yet.
5 days ago
Do you plan to cut any holes in the container walls? If so, that will drastically affect the support needed, as described by others. The exact support required depends totally on where and how the cuts are made, so nobody can advise you without more details.

If uncut, then you can support them at either 40' or 45' spacing, as mentioned by Caleb.
5 days ago
You wouldn't want to build a heater the way you have shown - as is, the fire would hit the water heat exchanger before it finished burning, and deposit tons of creosote right in the exchanger. Pollution, inefficiency, and danger. You would want the fire to do all its burning in a hot, insulated chamber, then the hot gases would go through the exchanger.
5 days ago
Donkey's forum is great for in-depth discussions of systems; for a distillation of the best recommended practices and dimensions, go to
6 days ago