Steve Boyd

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since May 03, 2015
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plumbing composting toilet food preservation solar rocket stoves woodworking
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Retired, and obsessed with everything Rocket fires, ovens and mass heaters. We spend seven or eight months of the year (spring/summer/autumn (fall) "off grid" located in the Tasman region at the top of the South Island, New Zealand. We go home to our beach side home in North Brighton, Christchurch for the winter.
In our off grid settlement we heat most of our water with an institutional type rocket stove and are in the process of building a RMH for our outdoor kitchen. We also have a composting shitter based on this design ( . We'll do some videos at some stage!
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Recent posts by Steve Boyd

Wow Jane - GOOD ON YOU. ( "I'm only 62! That's not to old to learn to be a permie, right? " -- absolutely not!)
You'll be around 66 yo by the time you get there so good prep is important.  
I'm 68 this year and live in New Zealand.
I wont "add" to the ever growing list of recommended tools.  
Just a couple of comments around electric tools - its a good idea to do some research on whats going to be available locally -
1.I'd suggest spending the extra on brushless battery powered tools - they are more powerful and efficient.
2. Stick to one one brand otherwise you'll end up with a confusing array of batteries and chargers, having to buy different ones for different tools. So make sure the brand you go with have a good range options.
3. My wife and I live off grid, along with another couple, for 8-9 mths of the year (RMH/Composting toilet/Rocket Oven etc etc) and only have 12V solar  for power - so make sure which ever system you go with has a 12v charger  to charge their batteries.

We've gone with Ryobi - mostly brushless - they have a 6 yr warranty as long as you register the tool within 30 days of purchase and a no questions return system.
We have circular saw/chainsaw/jigsaw/drill/tek screw gun/planer/sander etc
I have the brushless Ryobi chainsaw and whilst it has a small bar (300mm  I think) it meets all of our needs insofar as firewood and bush clearing goes - much quieter that a fossil fueled job, and our "go to" when a saw is called for, my friend has a petrol Stihl and it only comes out when I'm not around.
I have used the Milwaukee Chainsaw and was very impressed - but I am equally impressed with the Ryobi especially in terms of bang for buck.

PS.I also liked the idea of buying tools as you pick off each job discreetly.
PPS - finish off the job as you go (we haven't!) - otherwise in turns into a bit of a 'mare.
PPPS - love your idea of a copse.

Good luck and may the (Permies) force be with you
1 year ago
Yeah we leave it in the bucket for 2 weeks or more sometimes up to 12 months! And then straight into the worm farms.  Some people call it composting but it's not really at  all. Pickling it really  -but it works very well for us
1 year ago
We put everything (including avocado peels & nuts (crushed up), citrus peels, onion skins) through our Bokashi system and then into the worm farms - works a treat.  Make sure you regularly empty off the Bokashi liquid to avoid the strong odor that sometimes develops in the bottom bucket.
1 year ago
We do our canning using an All American on a rocket fire.  We use what is known as the "Institutional rocket Stove" design,  developed at Aprovecho.  If you don't want your pan covered in soot then wood fires probably aren't going to cut it. Regulating heat requires fairly constant attention but that's par for the course with an L shaped feed and burn system.  I actually enjoy the challenge of running the fire and keeping the temp steady - it's not hard.  This design is extremely efficient.  I don't have any pics on hand but I'll include a link to the maths you need to think about.  My last two builds use a commercial Rocket Fire (  incorporated into the drums.

Here's the link I was referring to -
1 year ago
Thanks for the response.  

The leachate you refer to is non existent, in our case at least - we have six bins and none of them have produced any  leachate - we actively encourage the men to piss on the plants outside and it's optional for the women, and visitors!  We have sealed the chute with a foam ring but this has proved unnecessary. The trick is to make sure you use enough cover after each use. Our bins are emptied after sitting for 12 months into another, large, compost bin which will compost for another 12 months before we use it on the garden.  Each bin is started with a layer of saw dust and put straight into use - we recently tried using untreated wood shavings but quickly reverted to sawdust after some odour developed.

Burton Sparks wrote:A couple additions to the last post:

The 99% risk reduction resulting in safe agricultural use if people are protected would assume a 90% pathogen kill before discharge for a total of 99.9% total risk reduction.  Keep in mind though that the passive aeration pipes might inadvertently allow leachate to bypass effective cleaning by the compost.  I'd be curious to know if the top of the pile gets the same kind of impermeable "lense" at the top like Dean describes for vermifilters here, making it even more probable that leachate would bypass treatment from compost within the bin.  Composting worms naturally occur in manure piles, and adding them may help reduce the risk of bypass (but likely not eliminate the risk given how narrow the bin is) and improve pathogen kill in the compost and any leachate that does trickle down through it.

I suspect that the use of the chute makes it harder to ensure you've fully covered your deposits to prevent smell and effectively prevent bugs from bringing pathogens out.  This suggests ensuring you have a seal not just around the bottom of the chute and bin lid, but the top of the chute and toilet seat lid.  If you seal everything air tight you could also consider adding a dedicated vent with a bug screen to allow the passive aeration pipes to function while in use and curing.

In summary of the 2 posts, some ways to help ensure the safety of the Geoff Lawton composting toilet method include 1) starting with some finished compost instead of sawdust; 2) adding worms when there is enough moisture to sustain them; 3) ensure the effluent discharge is subsurface; 4) use closed cell foam self-adhesive weather stripping to ensure a good bug seal around the bin lid, chute, and toilet seat; 5) add a vent with bug screen for in use and curing; 6) and either manually aerate at least once every other week while in use and curing or cure for 1-2 years.

1 year ago
I've just noticed this thread and all the awesome stuff people are moving on their bikes. This is my very first RSO I built for a local community garden in Christchurch, New Zealand. I constructed the main body of the at home as it's sometimes easier than carting everything to site, rather than risk leaving my tools on site and losing them (it's happened) to those less scrupulous.  The J.Tube was built at the gardens.
1 year ago
Hi -we've been using this method -  
 - for the last 12months with excellent results - I have pictures of the build - including the  emptying of the bin and the finished product! - link  to pics (  
1 year ago
just saw this post. I have built an outdoor RMH in addition to several Rocket Stove Ovens
1 year ago
I thought I'd start a Rocket Oven "mods" page to see  if there was any interest. I've been using the plans ( produced by Davin Hoyt. These plans are of exceptional quality and have set me off on my Rocket Oven building path.  I'm heading towards my tenth build and have made only one minor mod as I felt the door hinge needed a bit of beefing.  

Firstly I have changed to using T-Hinges for the door.  The lower T part are much more substantial  and the longer part run up inside the door - so are unseen.  I use the off cut from the door front and sandwhich that to the inside of the lower hinge attachment point.  I'll attach some pics.  

I also use a completely different build for the fire which involves no welding and the use of a brick/fire brick build with a clay/perlite/fire cement insulation around the riser. This also make for an easier installation of the oven - but I'll leave that to another 'mod' on this tread.
1 year ago