Monday, March 4, 2013

Rocket Stove Mass Heaters- A love letter

I've been reading about this for months now and want so very much to begin building one.
          Dedicated to Terri & Ricky in Takilma who treated me like family from day one.

Article updated; 1-2-2016

   Ernie and Erica Wisner

What is a Rocket Mass Heater? 
It is a hybrid of a rocket stove design combined with principles of stone and brick masonry but made with a clay and straw mixture called cob... It is also in a great love affair with sculpture.
 A rocket stove runs on very small amounts of wood, twig sizes are ideal... making firewood easy to obtain. Wood is placed in a vertical hopper and magically burns sideways. The videos I have compiled here do a lot of the explaining. 

"Mass".. is made of cob in the example above and below.It is sculpted into a bench shape, the "mass" in a masonry structure it is brick or stone, in the greenhouse video below it is earth. Mass..It holds the heat from the exhaust, and releases it  for hours after the fire goes out. 

Unlike a usual wood stove. It is constructed with a j shaped tunnel going up into an oil barrel in many cases, with it's magical guts configured with precise specs...runs super hot like wind tunnel and it sounds like a rocket... thus the term "rockety" has been catching on. The exhaust pipes from the heater barrel portion are run horizontally through a long massive bench capturing and storing the heat. Warm seating and a radiant heat barrel that boasts a ripping spot to cook, boil water, and more.

All this and no smoke, just steam..invisible from any real distance. Pure efficiency when it comes to using wood as fuel. 
Cord wood is not really needed, branches will do and fit well into hopper. Just one reason they are great for the elderly and me.
This is a love letter to all the amazing people who have been experimenting and building amazing Rocket Stove Mass Heaters Those who have the brilliance to make it accessible to more people. Making the "mass" of cob, these can be made for very little money by homeowners all over the world.

I am trying to make a one page spot, to store all the best videos and links I have been watching in preparation of building one in our greenhouse and then one for the house. We figured we'd work out all the kinks on one that did not need to be quite as lovely to look at.

New videos will be added to this blog as they emerge in an effort to keep info fresh and current, so please return


 Ernie and Erica Wisner.. Authorities in the Rocket Mass Heater world, have written in great length and with
Paul Wheaton  they have made great videos about the subject. They have TONS of  invaluable experience.
Must read and must follow; as in advice, publications and videos.

Purchase plans

You must do a lot of study before you begin to make one at home...
 Buy their smart.


more links;


Combined with this earthen mass greenhouse design 

Here is the core at work,
 note the metal riser has what looks like cement on top of it at 1:00 and 5:39 min mark
that is the insulation..that tube has an inner metal tube with insulating material stuffed
between it and the outer metal pipe.

 nice visual video from urocketstoves

Cob steps lead to a second floor, bringing warmth up and warming feet. An exceptional site with beautiful cob construction pictures, where I found this. 

  Here is the main book in print, you can buy it a lot of places

   Rocket Mass Heaters © 2007
by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson

Paul Wheaton YouTube video's
are used throughout this blog
Go visit his channel, it's filled with goodies.
the very same
Paul Wheaton 
From Permies. com 
& Rich
 The information hub and forum where I began this journey. I have not taken as much as I would like from there, for this article because you should go yourself!

Super clear visuals from Zero Fossil Fuel, impressed with his technical methods, and the dry stacked firebricks and more that can be replaced. Welders will find this viable. The rest of us will get a much better understanding of the core.

Masonry heaters are the grand daddy of the "mass" heating technique. Large stone walls with fireplaces, ovens and such built in, holding the heat of the fire for hours after fires have gone out. These are from
A wonderful Oregon Company  Firespeaking whom I would just love to hire!
                                                                   for amazing pictures

from their page as well a rocket mass heater


This is a crazy huge application..with floor heating ...way over my head.. 
The autopsy of it, when they do repairs is a good illustration of how some materials break down and just plain old don't work and should not be thought of as "good enough."

This article is still a work in progress...stay tuned

Urbanite in one of  it's natural environments 
Some home spun fun and BBQ to boot
you can do this kind of Rocket Stove as a warmer upper.

Please let me know if I have used any pictures without proper credit being given
it can be hard to trace things to their proper origins

1 comment:

  1. You have written very long blog but very interesting and useful. Really appreciated for that. I think this information is useful to people who wants to install heating system at their home. Thanks for sharing such a nice information with us.