Logan Jonker

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since Dec 07, 2013
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Recent posts by Logan Jonker

Topher Belknap wrote:

note: a 55 gallon drum full of water weighs in at 450 pounds or so.]

Doh! I don't know why I was estimating a gallon at a little over 5 lbs- thanks.
6 years ago
I've seen in other posts, that a barrel of water in a greenhouse (or more than 1 barrel) would help slow the swing of temperature from day to night.

Would this be useful in incorporating barrels of water into walls, tables, etc. in a home to maintain heating/cooling needs?

As I understand, the ancient columns were rounded stacked stones and once the height was reached- the exterior was coated/decorated to make the uniform design on the column.

Would stacking 3 55 gallon water barrels, coated by 2 or more inches on concrete, would it offer structural support like in a wofati type structure.

I know this would weigh over 700 pounds, but might cost less then 20 dollars a column, especially if non insulator mix of papercrete was used to cover the column.

Further, what would the heat exchange properties be with a house full of these columns.

Could this be safe/useful for passive heating and cooling?
6 years ago
well- we were losing too much radiant heat outside through the exterior barrels and up the chimney. So I have moved it inside and made the following modifications:
Instead of air flow between the inner burn barrel and the exterior 55 gallon drum, I have filled that in with pea gravel.
I have also filled the burn chamber with several gallons of pea gravel capped with a clay sand mix. The Interior burn chamber is now closer to 20-25 gallons
I have capped bother barrels with cob to level the tops, seal any gaps and provide additional mass.
I still have an 8 inch feed tube and a 6 inch flue.

This sucker is HOT.
Flue temps are about 600 degrees,
The cob top and sides of the 55 gallon barrel get between 200-300 degrees.
My feed tube extends through about 4 inches or so of Cob and then about 17 inches down with a 2.5-3 inch gap below it to the bottom of the burn chamber.
The burn is actually occurring about 10 inches above the ground, on top of steel, pea gravel, steel, pea gravel and cob, The base of the barrel doesn't get as hotas the upper walls and top, by design.
It heats up fast, warming the room up fairly quickly.
I did have bricks lining it, but they acted more as insulation rather than storage, so they are gone, allowing the heat to get out more quickly.
I know I am losing massive amounts of heat out the flue, but I am working on a solution for that as well.


It doesn't hold heat for more than a few hours, which is understandable as there is only about 2 inches of pea gravel as mass between the walls of the pocket rocket and the exterior barrel. Would Adding about 6 inches of Cob heat up and radiate longer through the night?

Fire is climbing up the feed tube again, but only about as far as the feed tube is in the burn chamber, so I think it has to do with 600 degree radiant Heat around the tube at that point. Flames sometimes lick higher and a briefest puff of smoke might come out of the feed but gets sucked back down again. I have a removable 8 inch round, 9 inch tall ceramic section of pipe I have resting on top to the feed tube (this makes it easier to clean, light and provides better draft)

Is there a way to slow down the burn, if that is a solution? Either Go to 6 inch feed tube or move the feed tube lower? Would slowing down the burn keep it at about 400-500 degrees for a longer time.

Thanks for the input.

note: this is a Pocket Rocket, not an RMH. Thanks (at least I think there are some technical differences in how they run)

6 years ago
I haven't taken any pictures of the unit due to freezing rain the past few days and my 3rd shift job, but here:
6 years ago

Cindy Mathieu wrote:When I said stove pipe, I meant the exhaust pathway that goes up through the roof or out the window. This has nothing to do with whether you are attempting to store the heat or use it right away. I believe it explains the fire crawling up the wood in the feed tube.

but the specifics on the pocket rocket state that the feed tube should be bigger than the exhaust, as most of the heat leaves through the exhaust. This slows the heat escaping.


I couldn't get 4 inch pipe so I smooshed 6 inch pipe into an oval.

I calculated that the feed tube should extend about 7/6ths to the bottom of the barrel.

So My feed tube is getting "too Much" oxygen, allowing the fire/draw to work its way up the tube? It's tough fine tuning the amount of wood into the tube to keep it burning without choking it out, but I do notice a better burn when I place a cover over the feed tube.

BTW- the entire unit is outside, if that matters- I think I may be fighting the exterior temps sometimes as well.

6 years ago
Thanks for the Response-

Storm Shelter- Are you familiar with the F5 tornado that hit Joplin, Mo in 2011? That's an hour south of us- I've actually lived within an hour of 3 different F5's in my life and several smaller storms. The Wofati design does offer the natural hill protection that resists wind damage. Oehler comments in his book about the fallout shelter aspect of his designs.

My kids are a bit nervous during storm season- Having a shelter within the structure for safety would be nice. Our land doesn't offer the option for a simple cellar- the land is mostly sandy soil with a sandstone bedrock about 6-8 feet down, so when it rains, the water level rises, yet drains away very quickly. "Floating" the structure at the surface offers the best chance for natural building, but having a safe place within the safe place is necessary. As well as offering storage, I thought a Shipping container would be comparable to some other makeshift options I have heard about.

The trailer provides kitchen and bathroom till you build replacements then pull it out. That was my thought for my build too, but I would leave the trailer outside or in a barn. In my case I am thinking RV, you may have a mobile home? I want to go wood heat/cooking in the long run... my hope is to be able to get by with just enough wood to cook and then harvest the exhaust for mass heating.

My sentiments exactly- we are using a mobile home.

BTW, part of using Annualized Thermal Inertia, is learning to live with some temperature swing through the seasons. Acclimatizing the body to live cooler or warmer... dressing warmer when needed. If you have family who expect 72F year round, they will not be happy without heat. My thoughts on this are that much of the home can cycle through the season, but that there should be a main room that has a warm mass that people can sit around to eat and or relax. A warm stone put in the bed a half hour before use will get it warm and the body will keep it that way if the quilt is thick enough. I guess what I am saying is that there is a life style change. Be prepared for it. I am looking forward to it and the kids are too. We will see what my wife thinks as we progress, she claims support, but I will have to make sure she is comfortable more than anyone else.

We are learning to deal with the temp shift as it is now, but having insulation from the natural design will help. Having just the 3 inches of insulation in our addition makes it so much more comfortable during weather shifts and we compensate, more clothes, less clothes, so with this new structure, I anticipate minimal heating and cooling will be needed.

6 years ago

Cindy Mathieu wrote:Feed tube, burn tunnel, heat riser and stove pipe should all be the same size. Consequently, if you have an 8" burn tunnel and a 6" stove pipe, its not going to work properly.

It's not an RMH, but a pocket rocket. I used the specs for a 25-30 gallon pocket rocket from their book. It is sitting inside a 55 gallon drum that acts as the heat exchanger.
6 years ago
So- Initial burns resulted in about 200 degree heated air coming out of the exchange barrel, So I thought the the flexline insulated duct would work fine.


I had made some tweaks in the design- instead of the circle of 6 bricks in the heat exchange barrel, I move to 4 bricks in a t pattern to increase air flow.

Well, I setup the thermometer after insulating the pipes and ran a burn- over 450 degrees pipe temp and air temp! Melted the plastic in the insulation. I pulled it apart and built a double wall insulated pipe using black pipe and surrounded the pipe with bricks in the wall, so the exterior pipe temps and the temps on the surrounding wall are not very high, just the hot air.

I am planning on surrounding the heat exchange with bricks and cob. I am also looking at using the flue pipe to heat water (looking forward to seeing boom squish DVD) and using some of the hotwater line to heat another layer of cob around the heat exchange barrel. I am considering a design like this:


My feed tube is filling with coals tonight- I can't just leave a few pieces of wood or the fire goes out, but prolonged burns fills the tube with coals and chokes off the air intake.

Do I need to lower the feed tube close to the bottom of the barrel? Or put some bricks in the bottom (to raise the floor)? Or do I need to simply clean it out each day?

Is the fire suppose to stay at the bottom of the barrel? it seems to crawl up halfway the tube, but still burns down though...

My feed tube is an 8 inch tube, should I go down to 6 inches?
6 years ago
The Boy in the above pic is my son who wanted to help build our heater.
6 years ago