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

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since Apr 30, 2013
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Recent posts by Tom Gauthier

There is much good advice here, and I would like to emphasize a few things.

Alan mentioned three 5' ground rods and Brian's illustration showed three 6' rods. I would suggest using 8' rods ... I believe that's a standard length. It's amazing what an extra 2 or 3 feet can do for conductivity.

Alan you didn't specifically say what configuration you plan to use for the wiring of the fence. The illustration shows an alternating hot/ground pattern, and I think this is very important. Doing this means that the fence doesn't require the animal to have contact with the earth to get a zap. The pattern shown uses 3 wires, but I've also used 5 alternating wires. Just make sure the wire closest to the earth is hot, then alternate from there up. This system doesn't rely on the conductivity of the earth to deliver the zap.

Finally, get a fence charger with a high power rating (joules). At 1/2 acre, the length of your fence is about 1/8 mile, so even the smallest charger would work. But for only a little extra money, the stronger charger will provide a lot of extra advantage.

5 years ago
Decimate (dec·i·mate)
1. kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage or part of.
"the project would decimate the fragile wetland wilderness"
2. (historical) kill one in every ten of (a group of soldiers or others) as a punishment for the whole group.

The historical meaning is just that... historical. The English language changes over time, otherwise ...

Me thinks we would still speaketh Olde English.
5 years ago
I don't think the drywall will stand up to the weight of the fill. The weight pushing down would blow out the drywall at the bottom. I'm not sure about the wire in the wall, but there may be a problem if it's encased in clay/sand. I think another problem might be that the infill could never dry.

The best suggestions have been to add a thermal mass to the exterior of the wall, but I can understand if you not want to do that. If you do, the thicker the better. I don't think tile has enough mass to be very effective.

But specifically to answer you original question, I don't think the drywall would hold up to an infill of wet clay, sand, and gravel.

5 years ago
Thanks for all the great feedback. We've been at it for over a year and no problems with bears in the compost. We have found scat up near the back of our 20 acres, but no sign anywhere near the cabin and garden.

I believe there are two things that are working for us. We have a dog that roams the area around our cabin and garden, peeing & pooping and generally making himself known. The other thing is as Wyatt mentioned, we put all our scraps into the humanure compost and make sure to cover the scraps with a layer of straw. The only evidence of any pests in the bins was one time when some moldy bread was thrown in one corner and squirrels when through the straw to get it.

Thanks again.

5 years ago
One thing to keep in mind regarding a thermosiphon system is that it really only works if the heat source is below the level of the water storage tank. This means that the cold water return must be higher than the highest point of the heat coil. Also, there is a practical limit to the horizontal distance from the heat source to the storage tank. As mentioned previously, larger transfer pipes will reduce the hydraulic resistance and allow the thermosiphon to work much more efficiently.
6 years ago
Here is the Lowes webpage that identifies the brick as Oldcastle. It is a heavy brick, so it won't provide a lot of insulation.

Here is the Oldcastle website:
6 years ago
After a little research, I would guess that the description of Concrete Material is an error ... it's probably clay based. From Lowes website, that brick is from Oldcastle and looking at their website I could not find that specific product, but they do have sources for clay bricks. Since it is described as fire brick, I would think the 3000 degree rating is accurate. That's a good price for new, full-size fire brick. Unfortunately my local Lowes doesn't carry it.

Good luck.
6 years ago
Matt, regarding your question on the turbo charger inter-cooler: cooler air is denser thereby increasing the volumetric efficiency of the engine. This is relevant in an internal combustion engine, but not to a wood fire.

Warm inside air burns easier and a "breathing" house helps the draft and lessens the problem of smoke-back. I don't know if these are Paul's reasons, but this is why I think a direct outside air feed is not a good idea.
6 years ago
Check out the Walker Wood Cook Stove ...

I haven't built one, but plan to do so in the future.

6 years ago
Humans have been using soap since about 2800 B.C. The use of shampoo (detergent) to clean hair is relatively knew.

I have been using baking soda wash and vinegar rinse for my longish hair for more than five years now and I like it.
I would really like to use homemade, lye soap for washing, but I don't always have that available, so I use the simplest soap I can buy ... something like Ivory.

I couldn't find the original permies post about going "poo-less", but it was there about five years ago.


7 years ago