Note : This is the second edition, there are newer additions available.
Here is a superefficient wood fired heater you can build for yourself in a weekend for less than a hundred dollars. This book explains in detail exactly how to build one, then how to use it in a range of applications. We discuss materials: where to find them, what to pay and how to make use of found and recycled parts. The section on fire and fuels is thorough but simple; we tried to keep away from numbers wherever possible. There are success stories, case studies, references and where to find further information, all heavily illustrated. Home heating can be expensive both in capital equipment and in running costs. If we heat by gas, oil or electricity we are supporting a big corporation and impoverishing ourselves. By building an extra efficient heating system you will be one more big step off the treadmill and your move to self-sufficiency and true wealth. Good luck with your stove! From the Introduction by Ianto Evans
I have a signed edition of this book and spent many hours with Ianto, I'm going to give 8 out of 10 acorns. Not because the content wasn't good but because my builds didn't have the same success. That said I know I'm trying to cheat my test builds. I think the book needs solid info on what not to cheat on, what we can expect if we don't do this VS what you can slack on. We tinker and try before we commit, we have a bad habit of going 50% and not getting results and think the whole idea is flawed. I trust the idea and think I flawed by not committing more.
Seeing the finished products in place was inspirational. 5 of us warmed our butts on a minimal amount of wood (think the size of a 5lb bag of sugar) for 3 hours talking books, permaculture, plants, and the world/life in general.
Ianto want's us to do what we want to do, give up the NORM to become what we can become. (not a quote but what he expressed to me privately and what I'm still trying to embrace).
Rocket Mass Heaters are brilliant. Who doesn't want clean and potentially free heat. This book teaches you how to do it. I can't wait to build my own. It was difficult not to give this book 10 acorns. I just wish it were a tad more comprehensive.
I had heard Ianto lecture on rocket stoves at a cob work shop with him in 2003, and finally had a chance to try building one. I bought the book and followed the directions, including the trial build and burn. The mock up was good, but the finished stove was not a good little dragon.
Wind changes blew smoke backwards. There was not a strong enough draw in the stove to resist the changing air pressure outside.
I had put the exhaust through the wall at ground level, but apparently this only works when the prevailing wind comes from a consistent direction.
I had online help from Ernie and have a stove that burns better now after 3 builds.
It is an excellent book, and I think is the first book which made the instructions and dimensions available. When I purchased the book, I talked to Ianto, who advised me there were some young people who had taken up the subject and were researching wonderful things.
I give this book a 9.5 out of 10 (just because there's always room to improve anything)! It is a fantastic introduction to Rocket Mass Heaters in a very easy, clean and readable style. The case studies included are inspiring and educational. Highly recommend this book as an introduction to Rocket Mass Heaters, including explaining when they are a good fit and when they might not be. It's a fast read, packed full of information - can't recommend it enough!