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We are very excited to announce that Tim Barker and Joel Meadows have just released their new book, The Rocket Powered Oven. This practical, hands-on how to guide will run you step by step through the process of building your own rocket stove oven, with two different types of designs to choose from.




You may remember Tim Barker from our big event this past summer - he was the instructor for the Appropriate Technology course.

Tim has come a long way since his days as a diesel fitter mechanic, and now spends his time between Australia and New Zealand (and sometimes the US) as a semi professional pyromaniac and mad scientist, teaching people how to burn stuff and make really cool machines and devices for low carbon living.





Joel draws on a deep well of experience (as an energy auditor, sustainable transport consultant, environmental educator among other things) which he combines with a rare knack for explaining technical issues in a clear and engaging way that cuts straight to the heart of matters. Joel has just finished owner-building his permaculture-designed property and strawbale house which features impressive passive cooling, heating lighting and water strategies, rocket stoves for heating and cooking, and a beautiful curved roofline that follows the path of the winter sun.



Here's a look at the Table of Contents for the book:

Table of Contents

About this volume
Foreword: the future of fire
Introduction
- Fire
- Conventional stoves
Rocket stoves
- The anatomy of a rocket stove
- How a rocket stove works
- Dimensions
- Materials
Ingredients
- Rocket stove power unit
- Black oven
- White oven
Building your rocket stove ‘power unit’
- The mock up
- Starting the stove
- Final placement
- The final build
Building a black oven
- The baffle plate
Building a white oven
- Barrel safety
- How the white oven works
- Making the inner barrel
- Making the outer barrel
- The shelves
- The door
- Building the door latch
- Insulating and covering the oven
- The stand
- Final touches
- Controlling the beast, or how to cook with your oven.
- Taking care of your beast
- Tips and tricks

COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
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! Imitating his conversion of a conventional wall mounted oven to a rocket powered one is my grail quest!
 
gardener
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Are there going to be a solid real time copies sold, or just an e-book?  I read enough online.
 
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No plans for a physical book at this stage. If there is, it will be available from the product page for the Rocket Powered Oven on the Permaculture Principles website.

The designs in the eBook are for a barrel oven and a conventional gas / electric oven rocket stove retrofit. I attended Tim and Joel's workshop (in Australia) and it was awesome. I too had a dream of converting a conventional oven, and hope to do one at my place in the next month or so. I've got the oven! The idea of heating up my home during summer seems crazy - an efficient outdoor oven is the way to go,

This image is from that workshop and features in for January in the 2017 Permaculture Calendar.

 
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I give the book 9.5 out of 10 acorns.   As expected from Tim Barker (a great mate to have a brew with after a day of building permie stuff) it is a no nonsense this is how it done instruction with not much more than an angle grinder and a pop riveter.   With all the materials stockpiled probably an easy weekend project (for sure if Tim was there helping).  You can kind of tell Tim is not from around here with all the measurements in metric and terms like "star picket or waratah" but still totally readable and executable.  

The only thing I would have liked him to have shown his detailed design for his self contained J rocket stove design that he had built several of at the Wheaton Labs.  It was brick with insulated fire board over it. an angle iron frame, with aluminum sheeting slipped in-between the angle iron frame covering and protecting the softer insulated fire board.  A slick and multi-purposing design that could be used for an oven like here or repurposed to drive a water heater design like we did at the AT course last summer.  

Overall a book that can have you rethinking your oven requirements and for the price you should check it out.

PS
Just because you can get the oven up to almost 1000 degrees F, it does not mean you can flash cook frozen pizzas as the outsides will burn before the middle is thawed and cooked....this is how Tim was banned from cooking at the AT course...

Rob
 
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Rob Griffin wrote:
Overall a book that can have you rethinking your oven requirements and for the price you should check it out.

PS
Just because you can get the oven up to almost 1000 degrees F, it does not mean you can flash cook frozen pizzas as the outsides will burn before the middle is thawed and cooked....this is how Tim was banned from cooking at the AT course...

Rob



1) Cut or break the frozen pizza into quarters first. That gets it to cook faster if you have issues with center not done enough, just place the pieces with 1/4" to 1" spacing.  
2) 1000F *IS* a tad bit excessive for flash frying a pizza.
3) Try a cast iron frypan with a viewable lid to put ON the surface not IN the oven
4) Yes I was in college and spent my wayward time with a burnout oven and kilns around. If someone was firing a kiln the frypan on top of the kiln worked pretty well after breaking the party pizza up. Double or triple potmitt MANDITORY to handle the frypan.

Yes, I'm buying the ebook on the third, as I'm pretty broke right now. Looking forward to a good read in about a week.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody.
 
Rob Griffin
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Almost 1000.
IMG_0909.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0909.JPG]
Tim and his IR thermometer
 
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Rob your such a spoil sport. That is how Aussies eat Pizza. The Biochar exterior is good for keeping your teeth clean and your internals in good order. It also seals the Pizza killing all the microbes so it lasts longer when we are travelling in the outback wrestling Kangaroos. How are you Big Fella ?
 
pollinator
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I'm interested in buying the book, but I have a question.  How is the temperature regulated?
 
Tim Barker
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Hi Todd Actually there are lots of ways. Fuel wood size is one, lots of small sticks will give lots of heat while three bigish sticks will comfortably maintain a temperature range good for probably 95 % of cooking tasks a combination of both and you can get in between. Also manipulating the feed tube opening with a brick or such brings another layer of control  The addition of some mass (not too much) will damp temp swings. Above all this is not a set and forget device you will have to brings some intention to your cooking which i think is a good thing and you will have to "Learn" your oven. Its very much an interactive process but we had an early rocket design that we cooked in  and it was our only oven for two years we turned out everything from pizza to roast to cakes and cookies with no problems at all and it was a 3.9" system.
Cheers Tim
 
Rob Griffin
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Hey Tim!,
Good to hear from you mate.  I keep needing to dig around and see if I have your email...

Also I thought it was "wrestling (rassling here in the South) crocs and riding kangaroos"  or did I have that backwards???  (extra points for not spilling your beer while doing it, right?)

I see you are teaching the PDC and AT course this Summer...I have thought about coming out for the AT part, but I don't know.  I was think the next one I went to would be somewhere else.   Don't you do something like that in Australia?  I think Howard said he did some in Thailand, which also sounds interesting.

Who knows I could come to Australia for a course and maybe take in a bit of a walk about and wrestle or ride one of those kangaroos after you show me.

Rob
 
Tim Barker
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Hi Rob we might have to start you out on something a little tamer maybe a fairy penguin (yes we have some in Oz) and work you up to a Koala or Possum. Sure would be good to see you in Oz the guys at VEG (very edible gardens ) do a good course.
Cheers
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Thanks for the reply Tim.  I'll tell you how my oven turns out
 
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Thank you for putting this together and making it available!  I've already purchased the ebook.  

But I was wondering, is it possible to buy a hard copy as well?  It's be nice to have a physical version on hand while working on building one of these, and I'd love to put a copy in the library of the center for sustainable living where I work.  Are there currently any options for purchasing a printed version?  

Best wishes and thank you again!
 
Tim Barker
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Hi Tyler unfortunately not. Im a physical book kind of person also. All i can advise is print it out double sided and ring bind it. That's what i did when i bought the ebook of Ianto's rocket mass heater book.
 
Rob Griffin
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Tim,
You may be on to something, that sounds like they should be rides at a theme park "Aussieland".  You wrestle all five and you win a "Crocodile Dundee" hat and you get to say "throw another shrimp on the barbie" as much as you want....

Actually I saw Steve Irwin knock a koala out of a tall tree with a long pole ( he said they bounce like Winnie the Pooh's  friend Tigger) then wrestle it...I tell you what, that little bugger was giving Steve all he wanted....

I am going to check out VEG and see what I can come up with.

Rob
 
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So, it looks like scubbly is closing down. How can I buy this book now?
 
Tim Barker
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Hi Paul try here
https://permacultureprinciples.com/product/rocket-powered-oven/

Cheers Tim
 
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Tim Barker wrote:Hi Tyler unfortunately not. Im a physical book kind of person also. All i can advise is print it out double sided and ring bind it. That's what i did when i bought the ebook of Ianto's rocket mass heater book.



It looks like the book is only available in Kobo or Kindle format. Is there a way to print a Kindle or Kobo file?
 
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Tim Barker wrote:Hi Paul try here
https://permacultureprinciples.com/product/rocket-powered-oven/

Cheers Tim



Hi Tim

Do you have a PDF version for sale? The Rocket Oven DVD, though informative left me wanting more info especially from you.

Hoping you have an updated book or your solo DVD. That would be great.
 
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Hello Everyone,
 I bought Tim’s book, read through it, and plan on building something in the “white oven” style. I have a few stainless steel beer kegs that I was thinking of using instead of barrel drums. The kegs have a 15.5” diameter. Do you guys think this is too small of an inner oven? Thanks
 
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If you're going to cook more than one pizza at time, how many trays would you be able to stack with a 15.5" diameter?  One? Two?
 
Graham Chiu
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The Koanga Institute has an article on their barrel oven by Tim

https://www.koanga.org.nz/blog/low-mass-insulated-barrel-oven/
 
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Tim Barker wrote:Hi Todd Actually there are lots of ways. Fuel wood size is one, lots of small sticks will give lots of heat while three bigish sticks will comfortably maintain a temperature range good for probably 95 % of cooking tasks a combination of both and you can get in between. Also manipulating the feed tube opening with a brick or such brings another layer of control  The addition of some mass (not too much) will damp temp swings. Above all this is not a set and forget device you will have to brings some intention to your cooking which i think is a good thing and you will have to "Learn" your oven. Its very much an interactive process but we had an early rocket design that we cooked in  and it was our only oven for two years we turned out everything from pizza to roast to cakes and cookies with no problems at all and it was a 3.9" system.
Cheers Tim



Hi Tim,

I am getting to the point of building the rocket engine for my oven.  I was very intrigued by your comment on the system size.

I am assuming that the 3.9" is an equivalent system diameter?  I am building an oven from your book and from the kickstarter dvd.   I have made a few mods to the oven design that should improve the system efficiency a small amount.  Mostly improvements to the insulation of the front of the oven.  Once I build the engine and test it a bit, I will publish all of the mods.  I have attached a few photos to show the additional insulation of the lower front of the oven.  I also have insulated the front of the heating chamber area and have a really slick way to reduce heat loss from the hinge and clearance area on the covers of the oven door.  As you can see in the photos the lower insulation area was set to limit the door opening to roughly 90°.  Tried posting the photos, but I was apparently bandwidth limited.

Thanks for all of your inputs.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
Ralph Kettell
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Here are the photos I tried to post
20181110_190035.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181110_190035.jpg]
20181110_190233.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181110_190233.jpg]
20181110_190348.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181110_190348.jpg]
 
Ralph Kettell
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Graham Chiu wrote:If you're going to cook more than one pizza at time, how many trays would you be able to stack with a 15.5" diameter?  One? Two?



Hi Graham,

It all depends on how many shelves you would like to install.  Given that the barrel diameter is 22.5", you have roughly a 16" window (+/- 8 in from the center of the barrel) to install shelves which would meet your criteria.   You could physically fit say 17 shelves (1 shelf per inch), but I doubt it would cook very evenly with that much mass of pizzas.  You certainly could easily fit three 15.5 inch pies.

I hope that helps.

P.S. I re-read this and the sequence that led to it and realized that I zoned out back into the size of standard oil drum size oven when I answered you.  Sorry I am very focused on getting my oven done.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
Ralph Kettell
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Zac Holtzman wrote:Hello Everyone,
 I bought Tim’s book, read through it, and plan on building something in the “white oven” style. I have a few stainless steel beer kegs that I was thinking of using instead of barrel drums. The kegs have a 15.5” diameter. Do you guys think this is too small of an inner oven? Thanks



Hi Zac,

I am no oven expert, but I am a mathematician.  In your oven, if you have one 15.5" shelf in the center and two others at a 4" spacing above and below, the center shelf which would be 13.25" wide by whatever depth you make the oven.

I hope this is helpful.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
Graham Chiu
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@Ralph, actually my question was of a Socratic nature directed at Zac but having someone else do the actual calculations is useful

Has anyone documented how the base cooks in these ovens?  Stones are normally used in pizza ovens since they drag moisture out of the base to make it crisp whereas a metal base boils the water in the base.  The intense heat at the base also is what causes the pastry to puff up. Well, that's what I've read, but then I see baking steels being advertised which cook just as well as stones.  So, what's the story?
 
Ralph Kettell
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Graham Chiu wrote:@Ralph, actually my question was of a Socratic nature directed at Zac but having someone else do the actual calculations is useful

Has anyone documented how the base cooks in these ovens?  Stones are normally used in pizza ovens since they drag moisture out of the base to make it crisp whereas a metal base boils the water in the base.  The intense heat at the base also is what causes the pastry to puff up. Well, that's what I've read, but then I see baking steels being advertised which cook just as well as stones.  So, what's the story?



Hi Graham,

I jumped in as no one seemed in a hurry to answer your question. I ask planning on getting a couple pizza stones to add a bit of thermal mass to the oven. Also I got a 3/16" steel plate from a salvage yard for $5 and have cleaned it up and cut it to fit the bottom of my new oven.  I am hoping it will make for good crust also once it has been run through several heating cycles and is well seasoned with oil.  I will let you know in a well or so when the stand is finished and the engine is complete.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
Graham Chiu
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Oil on a pizza stone is a big no no.  No idea how one cooks pizza on a steel though.

https://www.pizzacraft.com/blogs/pizzacraft-blog/how-to-use-a-pizza-steel

Looks like you can put a stone above the steel to radiate heat on to the top of the pizza.
 
Ralph Kettell
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Graham Chiu wrote:Oil on a pizza stone is a big no no.  No idea how one cooks pizza on a steel though.

https://www.pizzacraft.com/blogs/pizzacraft-blog/how-to-use-a-pizza-steel

Looks like you can put a stone above the steel to radiate heat on to the top of the pizza.[/yquote]

Hi Graham,

Sorry that I was apparently unclear.  I was talking about the steel parts of the stove being treated so they would be a good cooking surface(s).  This would also be to keep them from rusting.  I was not planning to oil the stones, but thanks for the heads up. By the way many pizzas have been cooked on metal pizza pans.

Sincerely,

Ralph

 
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Traditional pizza ovens have been around for a few thousand years, even today we still build them to the same design as the Romans did in Pompeii.
Cooking on porous stone or even better, brick, really helps to crisp the base and the high mass dome above the base will hold a stable temperature, always slightly higher than the base.
In a perfect world your cooking base will be at 730f and the top of the dome around 900f but of course you can still cook a pizza in less than ideal and traditional conditions!
When you cook pizza at those extream  temperature, you need to watch it very carefully and turn it every 15 second or so, a solid base is critical for that operation as you need to slide your tool (peel) under the pizza base and of course you need to see the pizza!

However I would think that by tinkering with the pizza base mix and type of flour used you could possibly make a more suitable product to cook in a rocket powered oven. The frozen pizza you buy in a supermarket are designed to be cooked at a much lower heat and might work just right?

As an owner and builder of traditional pizza ovens I cant really see how you could ever duplicated the traditional design as it require such a lot of BTUs to power up a ton of hight mass to the required temperature.
That is certainly not to say you can’t cook pizza and have fun with a rocket stove pizza oven and I intend to incorporate a rocket engine in my next traditional oven build because I think it will might boost or stabilise second and third day cooking temps.

 
Graham Chiu
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I'm guessing you have to turn your pizza every 15 seconds in a pizza oven because you have the fire source on one side of the oven. If we can heat the stone uniformly we can avoid that need.
 
Fox James
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Yes quite possibly although moving the pizza breaks the seal and stops burning the base as well.
I think the main difference will come from not being able to brown the top as this is normally achieved by lifting the cooked base to just below the top of the dome.

I hope I don’t sound negative as I really like the idea and I am sure with practice and familiarity with the oven, the pizzas will be great!

I also fast cook lots of other food in my pizza oven like steak, lobster and fish. I sometimes use a large pan to diffuse the direct heat from the bricks and cook potato dishes or fry a breakfast.
 
Graham Chiu
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It would be nice if someone who has one of these ovens pipes up to report on the cooking results of pizza in one of these ovens.
 
Ralph Kettell
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Graham Chiu wrote:It would be nice if someone who has one of these ovens pipes up to report on the cooking results of pizza in one of these ovens.



Hi Graham,  

I hope to have some initial experience with my oven in the next 2 weeks and I will let you know.  By the way the bottom steel plate of my oven may or may not get a pizza stone on it.  I do not think we will ever cook more than 2 pizzas at a time and thus my thought was that the two shelves which will be adjustable will do most of the pizza and bread cooking.  The bottom shelf may be used in a pinch to make pancakes and fry eggs with the door down/open.  In this mode the upper shelf should be able to be utilized to make toast.  Time will tell.  I am hoping this week be a very versatile oven/cooker.

I have been thinning off starting a thread for people to share photos of their ovens as they get finished since the kick starter is now mostly complete.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
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I was at the rocket oven pizza party 1 month ago and played with the oven- no need to rotate anything because the heat is even across the surface of the oven. The heat hits first at the bottom, and then goes up both sides to the top, then travels to the back and down to reach the chimney. Since heat inside the white oven probably stratifies a bit, it probably has a great balance between stratification and the heat initially hitting the bottom surface.

We were cooking at 450-500 mostly, because larger pieces of wood were being fed into it rather than continuing a stream of thinner kindling (more surface area per pound of wood=higher temps), and usually there was 2-3 pizzas inside at all times. It took 10-15 minutes to cook a pizza depending on how much the toppings were piled on, and someone made a calzone which took more like 30 minutes to cook through. Lots of door opening to check on progress resulted in lower cook temps too. All the pizzas were cooked on metal sheets and the crusts I sampled were in good shape- not mushy and not burned to a crisp either, more like Baby Bear pizza-just right!

This setup is quite handy, it took maybe 15 minutes to heat it up for the first pizzas, compared to a couple hours to get a masonry oven up to temp. You could have a pizza made while the fire ramped up, and then cook it in 15 minutes, and be done in 30 minutes total.
 
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