thomas rubino

rocket scientist
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since Apr 14, 2013
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cat pig rocket stoves
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13 acres in extreme rural Montana 100% off grid since 1983. Solar and micro hydro. Summer time piggy farmer. Restoring 2000-04 Subaru outbacks wagons for fun and a little profit. Not quite old enough to retire YET but closing on it fast... until then I must occasionally leave Paradise "home" and run large construction cranes on union job sites across the inland northwest. I make (Well try) A-2 A-2 cheese, I love cooking with my wood smoker for everything! Would not live anywhere else but rural Montana ! My wife Liz runs "Rocks by liz" a successful Etsy store and we have a summer booth at the Missoula peoples market. We currently breed and raise persian cats but are about to retire all the girls and let them be happy kittys for the remainder of their days.Oh and my biggest thing is... I LOVE MY RMH !
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latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Recent posts by thomas rubino

Now Available, my new  Batchbox core construction book!

See my site for prices.
Save and order both my books together.
To order with PayPal contact me at
To order with a check
4 hours ago
Why yes, I have three and the fourth is rattling around my head almost ready to appear!
4 hours ago
My new book for first-time builders has arrived from the printers and is available to purchase now.
Understanding Batchbox construction supplies you with all the information needed to build a Batchbox core.
Material and tools needed, detailed measurements for a 6" batch with the numbers to increase to any Batchbox size.
Suggestions on where to purchase materials in your area.
I asked Peter van den Berg to proofread this book for accuracy before printing and have received his approval.

This book only details Batchbox Core construction, it does not direct you on how to build the bell or bench that your core will be heating.
Bell or bench construction is a site-specific detail that must be decided on site when laying out your stove build.

See my site for prices.
Save and order both my books together.
To order with PayPal contact me at
To order with a check

4 hours ago
Hi John;
I have been raising and containing piggies for many years.
To fix their excavation job you need to start with one of your own.

On the imaginary yellow line, you would want to excavate a trench apx a foot down.
Place used metal roofing (often free) horizontally in the trench and backfill, half of the roofing will be exposed.
Next, I suggest using gabion baskets filled with rock behind the metal roofing.

This gives you a subterranean wall that when they go to "accidentally" root under, they hit solid dirt (nothing to eat) this is backed by the very heavy large gabions.
The gabions will retain your driveway even if you are moving heavy equipment on the road.
Your pigs will now... excavate in a different direction away from the road.
3 days ago
Well, we would need to add an "H" making it  WAFH
Women are from heaven.
4 days ago
Hi All;
Some would say that there are far too many acronyms in use these days.
Even the Rocket Mass Heater world is not exempt from them, (RMH, CFB, IFB)
Today, I read what could be the most important RMH construction acronym there is, or possibly ever will be!
The WAF factor is in fact, the deciding reason for many to build or not build the RMH they always dreamed of!
What is this powerful acronym?
Where did it come from?

WAF  is The Wife Acceptance factor!  
If your wife does not approve... come up with a new plan!
This could be modified to be a HAF (husband) SOAF (significant other)or even LAF (landlord).
We may never know who first uttered these prophetic words.
But, truer words have never been spoken!

4 days ago
Hi Patricia;
I just searched this and what I found was that your number "should" be 2-4 pci/l  if your number is 25 pci/l then you have a problem that needs fixing.
I also discovered that there are short-term tests (2 days) and much more accurate long-term tests (up to a year).
Apparently, the numbers can vary wildly between seasons.

This site has some good information.,radon%20concentration%20in%
4 days ago
Hi Justin;
I would leave just enough room between the bricks and the pipe to allow the pipe to be removed many years later if needed.
I would also be sure to screw each section of pipe together so they can be removed easily if needed.
Clearance around the stove itself would vary between styles.  A stove with firebrick inside might be as close as 6", and a steel box stove might need a foot.
You can always dry stack extra brick closer if you need/ want more heat in your mass.
Ceiling fans and non-electric stove top fans will keep that heat spread out.
I would leave a 1-inch clearance around the faux chimney and use metal flashing for looks and to seal when you go through the roof.
Better safe than sorry when it comes to heat transfer.

4 days ago
Hi Justin;
Clay bricks are best for your project.
Surrounding your stove with brick will certainly hold some heat for you.
However, you must maintain clearance between the stove and your bricks or it will overheat and warp.

If I understand correctly you are thinking of boxing in your stove pipe?
Creating a non-functioning chimney around your pipe?
I have not heard of this being done before, but it would certainly look nicer than steel pipe.
Even though I do not think the bricks would be hot enough to be a fire hazard, I would leave an air gap between any wood or sheetrock.

Is your intention for this faux chimney to be a heat-holding mass or is it more of a visual improvement?
My only concern is where and how you end this brick chimney.
How would you seal it off at the top end?
Ideally, it would penetrate the roof with the pipe and end outdoors.

5 days ago
In the short sleeve, I have medium, large, and extra-large
In the long sleeve, I think I only have 1 large, and 1 extra large left.
5 days ago