Nathan Strumfeld

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since Sep 08, 2017
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forest garden cooking bike
Skokie, IL
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Recent posts by Nathan Strumfeld

The eye is a window into the soul...
3 months ago
Looks awesome! Love the window!
How did you affix the flange to the bricks? Or is it just sandwiched in there?

Have you noticed a difference in performance with the higher temp. bricks?

Nice work.
3 months ago
Wow, super excited to hear that Gerry! Thanks! I'm part-way through the episode now.
I consulted with Matt before starting this and he gave me a few pointers. I'd love to build one of his cookstoves someday.
4 months ago
Hi Thomas,

Great info! I've often wondered about the doors. With no welding experience I would probably look to buy one.

What's your plan for rebuilding the door and firebox?
4 months ago
Thank you Gerry! I appreciate all the support along the way.
4 months ago
Hi Chan,

I went with 2 parts fireclay: 1 part sand: 1 part medium grog. I also added some sifted wood ash, hair clippings (from the barber), and dried grass.

I'm happy to report I finally got this thing built enough to test fire it just yesterday!

The J tube was easy to light and had good draw right off the bat. To my surprise, the heat was drawing up through the clay pot, but it wasn't extremely hot coming out. I was able to stick my hand inside the oven without burning myself. The barrel of course got extremely hot right away, so once I insulate it the oven should be much hotter. Using just the J tube, the oven seemed to hover around 200 -250 F. So using the J tube alone, I think this would make an excellent smoker. It also holds the heat for quite a while after the fire goes out.

Today I decided to try lighting a fire inside the clay pot to see if I could achieve higher temps. I discovered that, with the J tube firing, any fire or coal inside the pot seemed to smolder and not stay lit. This is because the gasses have no oxygen once they've gone through the J. So instead I started a fire inside the clay pot without lighting the J tube. This worked great! The J tube unlit just acted like an air intake. The fire got raging, the temps reached 650 very quickly, eventually settling to about 400 and stayed their for quite a while. The oven maintained heat for a long time, slowly dropping, once I put the cap on top of the lid. Of course, this method is not clean like a rocket! There is smoke.

So it seems these are the 2 ways of using this thing. I think this design has many advantages. One nice thing is there's not much cutting of metal, only a few basic cuts that are pretty easy. Also, I cleaned it out after the first couple firings and it was so easy! The shop-vac tube goes right into the hole in the bottom of the clay pot and sucks everything out, and same with the J tube.

I can't wait to do some cooking in here, and get the insulation/brick surround in place! Thanks everyone for the support!
4 months ago
Thank you Gerry!
I think the pulley system is a great idea. I'm gonna look into buying one, I'll just need to build a temporary frame to hang it from.
5 months ago
I've got the inner clay pot built, just waiting for it to dry. Still thinking how I'm gonna lift this into the barrel, it's very heavy!
I cut some notches into the rim of the pot and then ground a couple pieces of rebar so they fit together to form temporary cross-bars. There's lots of cool accessories I'm thinking about for this, but I want to make sure it works first.

The lid doesn't fit perfectly- it's slightly bigger than the mouth of the pot, but it seems like it will still work well.
5 months ago
Thanks Gerry! I really appreciate all the technical support I've gotten here.
5 months ago
I cleaned up the barrel on the inside with some steel wool and applied a little olive oil. Worked great!

I've built up the clay pot about 21", I should just need one more layer to get it up to about 32". You can see the 6" hole in the bottom. Once it's up to height, I'm going to mold the rim to fit the lid.
I'll need a few people to help me lift this into the barrel once it's dry, it's really heavy! It will be awkward to lift it up a few feet and then down into the barrel without much clearance on the sides. I guess that's why I wanted to build it inside the barrel to begin with.

If I did want to add a chimney bypass later, could I just use a 6" hole saw to cut a hole in the side of the barrel? And then push the stove pipe into that? Seems like it would be the simplest way to do it, but it is a rounded surface.
5 months ago