Very interesting. It looks as if there are really two pinches. one near the bottom as noted, and a smaller one a little further up. These "pinches" to my mind, would act as the "Tripwire" used in many of RMH designs, but I've never seen them used on the riser, which may very well add a bit more of the Three T's we look for, (Time, Temperature, and Turbulence) at the very last opportunity in the combustion zone.
William. Could you elaborate a little more on what you would do with said "Plunger Tube" and how that would work in the water heater tank.
I have such a tank plumbed with threaded fittings at the top and bottom of the "Central Chimney" that I intend to use for the solar collector side of a solar thermal hot water heater. In which case it would radiate the heat into the 50 gallons of domestic water in the outer jacket. What are you thinking???
Use a six inch fastener bit extension for your drill motor if you have one and you can pop those cans into the plywood with one screw right in the convex section of the can on the bottom. Works like a charm.
I built a soda can collector once upon a time. I found a can opener that would remove the inner part of the can top. Where the opening is. I then painted many cans with hi-temp black spray paint. I built a 4 x 8 foot frame with plywood and foam board. Used 2 x 6 framing for the sides and covered it in a sheet of plexiglas. There were 2 x 6 baffles inside to help guide the air around in a maze of sorts to give it a good length of time in the collector. there were inlet and outlet ports on the same side of the panel and it was all driven by a bathroom fan. If I had to do it again I would use a computer fan, as the bathroom fan was overkill.
Splitfire up in Canada makes a fine electric/hydraulic wood splitter. I bought one. The build quality is fantastic. Yes, it was rather expensive, but it's something my grandchildren will probably pass on to their kids.
I've been meaning to chime in on this thread for a while now. I have tentative plans for a large solar array to be placed on the roof of a future pole barn/workshop. There would be enough electricity produced to cover all of my needs plus some extra. The problem with the extra is that Ohio Utilities don't pay squat for surplus energy credits. My thinking was that I could use up my excess capacity by running a small welding shop.
I'm planning an organic pool. Although I was inspired by David Pagan Butler's ideas, I will not be following his typical build. I am approaching it something more like a conventional pool, although I will be incorporating the airlift means of circulating the water. My plans include a singular, large vertical pipe with which to move a column of water which will then be divided into two pipe sections that will carry the water in two different directions down into the filtration beds. As I imagine it, the beds will consist of larger stones on the bottom and will be covered with stones increasingly smaller in size until the last few inches or so that will consist of pea gravel. So in this pool, the water will rise from the bottom of the filtration bed, up through the stones and gravel until it reaches the surface. I have read that some natural pools that filter from the top down have developed a problem with the beds getting clogged up with debris. It is my hope that the bottom up approach might prevent this. Now, to the point of this post. Is it possible that certain organisms could be employed to assist in keeping the gaps between the stones and gravel clear?
If so, what kind of organisms/species?
I'm thinking of some kind of freshwater shrimp, but IDK. I live in zone 6B and Winter can be somewhat hostile here.
Tim. I'm wondering if lining the hot face of your casting with firebrick would allow you to use foamed Portland cement, or "Foamcrete" or "Aircrete" as it's popularly known. Foamcrete is Portland cement that has been mixed as a very wet slurry and then a detergent or foaming agent is added and then the mixture is whipped up with a drill and a mixing paddle. You can also get or build a foam generator, make the foam, then mix the cement slurry directly with the foam. I built a foam generator, and it works well, but my experiments with foamcrete have not gone that far yet as at the time I was focused on creating a foamed ceramic refractory material.
I have seen experiments with foamcrete in RMH use, but always where the foamcrete is directly in contact with the flames, or just behind a thin wall of metal ductwork. Even where it was used in high heat contact, such as in the riser, it held together pretty well, mostly only suffering surface deterioration. I would think for the outer bulk layer of your casting it may hold great promise. It is lightweight, extremely insulative, and very inexpensive.
I'll be building raised beds this year and plan to have my chickens run the walkways from time to time to keep all of that stuff in check. I have Creeping Charlie on my property and it tries to suffocate anything it can get a grip on. That and cottonwood seedlings. They are the bane of my existence.
I was pleasantly surprised to find chopped straw in bagged for sale as animal bedding at my local farm store. Depending on your budget, it might be worth the small expense for the labor savings involved.
Thank you for the pictures Eino. That makes things a lot more clearer. I had not so much understanding of the birch bark roof until you educated me about it. It looks like you have a solid foundation going there, and like William said, grade your surrounding area for proper drainage and you shouldn't have much to worry about. As far as water wicking, and post rot, have you looked into the practice of charring the wood and setting it on a stone? The charring prevents rot and insect damage, while the stone provides a barrier from direct contact with wet earth.
Hi Tim. I like where you are going with this. I've asked myself how I could cast a core with firebrick splits in place to line the high wear areas. Duh! I never realized I could just glue the splits to the wood form, cutting them to fit as needed. Then cast the whole thing and burn the wood form out of it. Bravo!
Eino, If you are going to have a ventilated crawl space it won't matter if you are pulling air in from directly beneath your stove. Although it might contribute to making your floor just a tad colder since outside air will be moving into the crawlspace from the perimeter vents or from anywhere else it can leak in. Just so we are clear, I understand this as you want to build the RMH with the weight borne by support posts in the floor. Will these be wood? or Steel? I understand the desire to go "all natural", but there is merit in considering compromise. Whereas your birch bark will eventually capture and entrain moisture, and eventually decay, a polyethylene vapor barrier will not. Have you considered a poly sheet for your roof cover, upon which you can layer your birch bark for durability and aesthetic reasons. You must understand that to be a "Vapor Barrier" the material must be relatively impenetrable to moisture and not have any voids in it. I'm afraid your roof, while historically accurate, will leak without one. Maybe you could give us a sketch of what you have planned so we may better understand your intent?
That's a very interesting question Scott. Usually, the door frame is mounted to the outer skin of the stove, be it masonry or cob. That's not to say that what you propose wouldn't work, but I do agree that expansion and contraction may introduce unwelcome variables. Mounting a door is one of the areas of construction that lead many to pause and forego building a batch box. Maybe someone else here has some handy links that help illustrate how mounting a door is done in the traditional fashion? Maybe we can get some more insight as to your proposed innovation as well?
After examining my barrel lid I found the rubber gasket. I removed that and measured it with calipers and it was approx 1/2 inch at the widest part. I ordered enough 1/2 inch fiberglass/graphite stove gasket rope to make the circumference and put it in for a test fit. I haven't put it on the barrel yet, but it looks like it will be a winner.
Not a stupid idea at all since many have thought the same thing and tried it. I'm not a construction technology expert, but it would seem to me if you were to lay a heavy, 6 mil or so vapor barrier on the subfloor of your cabin, in what we would call the "crawl space", then you could technically build on top of a RMH foundation underneath the vapor barrier. The barrier shouldn't mind the load on it, yet should still prevent the migration of water, via capillary action (which is what I believe you are concerned about).
Thank you for taking the initiative and sharing that link. I ran across this tech some years ago and had no idea it had matured to this point already. So, they are using hot air to heat sand. Sure doesn't seem too far off from what we do here. It would be great if we could collect anecdotal evidence from everyone and anyone who has actually tried using sand as a thermal mass so they could share their experiences and maybe we could come to a conclusion about why it is we think it doesn't work in the RMH world. Maybe it really is as simple a matter of mass density v.s. the enormous size of something like what Polar Night Energy is constructing? I think I remember Ernie Wisner saying sand wasn't any good for mass due to the tiny air pockets. Hopefully someone with experience will chime in.
The subject of sand as thermal mass for the RMH is a weird one. The popular consensus is that sand makes a poor thermal battery, yet researchers are spending loads of money on thermal sand batteries for the purpose of heating water and whatever else. Maybe we're just not using the sand in the right way. At any rate, something is definitely off here and worthy of further research.
I believe what you are referring to is called "Make-Up Air" and it has been a subject of contentious debate. My 1950's brick home has two fireplaces and a third flue that leads from the basement to the top of the chimney that was originally intended for make-up air. I was curious about why it was there and researched it myself. Apparently, they have fallen out of favor as they just don't seem to work very well. Now, some states in the U.S. have mandated outside make-up air for masonry heaters, but the general consensus here at Permies, if I may speak for the group at large, is that bringing in cold, outside air will:
1, Cool the fire and prevent it from getting to it's maximum temp.
2, Bring in moisture that will condense inside the stove as it travels through a bench or up the flue leading to a bigger water problem than you would have had without it.
Any issues you have with water should only last for as long as your RMH is still wet. It shouldn't take so long for your Dragon to dry out that you suffer any damage from whatever moisture is let out of it.
The only other way you might have a problem with water is if you're burning wet wood. Make sure your Dragon has dry wood. That's what it likes to eat.
Good luck on your build. Looking forward to you posting your progress here.
I know this is a very old thread but those seeking information will inevitably find it and use the information within. I have just begun cleaning the paint/powder coat/whatever it is that has been applied to the outside of my barrel. I have considered all of the various ways of burning the paint off but having some experience with paint strippers, I decided to journey down that path first.
While most paint stripping products that I have used have been very toxic and unpleasant to work with, there is a product called Citristrip that I find to be very pleasant and easy to use.
What I do is use an old paint brush and spread the Citristrip over the area I want to strip and then cover the area with a layer of plastic. This could be a cling film like saran wrap, or a garbage bag liner that has been opened up to gain it's full square footage. Place that over the wet Citristrip and try to smooth it out, removing as many air pockets as is reasonable. It's ok if some air bubbles persist. Now the best part. Go do something fun! Don't worry about it for 24 hours or so. Come back when you've had a nice break and remove the plastic film a little at a time, exposing enough of the drum to allow you to use some kind of scraper to remove the loosened paint. An old credit card will do the trick. Scrape off the paint as you go, trying not to expose too much of the stripper to air. If the stripper dries out it won't work anymore and you'll have to add more to refresh it. Soon you'll have a barrel that is mostly clean. You can hit some spots with stripper and a scrub pad to knock off any remaining residue. When you're done, wipe the drum down with mineral spirits and you're good to go.
For those who don't want to do this the hot, smoky way, this might just be the ticket. Remember, it's always a good idea to wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with chemicals.
I started stripping another barrel and I wanted to share a variation of the method described above. This time I covered a portion of the barrel with the Citristrip remover, spread it out to about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick with an old paint brush. Then I covered the treated area with cheap paper towel and covered that in turn with plastic sheeting to hold the vapors in. After letting it sit overnight I was delighted to find that as I peeled the paper towel back from one corner, it was taking nearly all of the layer of paint right along with it. No scraping involved whatsoever. The next step was to wet another paper towel in mineral spirits and wipe it all down. I then experimented with a larger area and got even better results. I am now convinced I could cover an entire barrel all at once like this and have the entire barrel clean in less than one hour of effort.
I do think it would be just fine to use the ridgidizer as you say. Once it dries, the item will be hardened and supposedly able to support it's own weight. My plan is to follow on at that point with some sort of refractory hard face coating on the inside of the riser. Thomas Fox has been experimenting with it on vermiculite board. Here's a new one. Just discovered that perlite come in board form now. Low cost perlite insulation boards
You've got a situation very much like my own. I've decided the best path forward for me is to dedicate one side of the fireplace wall to the RHM or Batchbox and a bench. I've thought about it a lot and a great concern of mine is that I retain the ability to clean or inspect the chimney without having to dismantle a big chunk of my installation.
I think this can be achieved by covering the fireplace opening with a removable piece of steel plate that has an opening cut in it for the ductwork from the bench, which can be removed for inspection or cleaning. Of course this leaves some rather unaesthetic details hanging out, but with some creativity and some stacked stone or brick with clay mortar, it could be easily disguised and would not require a great effort to remove and replace it when necessary.
While a lot of people would tell you not to put a RMH in a basement due to the fact that many people will not be inclined to spend much time down there tending it, I disagree, as I spend a great deal of time in my basement working on projects, inter-web surfing, reading, or just relaxing. Hopefully by next winter I will have a nice warm bench to warm my bones on as the winters here in N.W. Ohio do get pretty cold.
Now, if you want to heat the whole house, that gets a little more complicated. How many square feet are we talking about upstairs? Is there already ductwork installed for an HVAC system that you could utilize? What regulatory considerations do you have regarding your local housing codes?
I could imagine putting a hole in the ceiling for your riser to be as high as possible, with barrels stacked up until they reach well up into the room above. This might require some carpentry work to bolster your ceiling joists since you will most likely have to cut one out to make room for the barrel tower. You'll need to tell us what the diameter is of your chimney at the exhaust point on the roof. That should indicate the smallest cross sectional diameter of the chimney. This determines your potential system size.
I'm hoping others here who have basement dragons will chime in.
Matt McSpadden wrote:Hi Thomas,
I would be leery to use that as the only check, but it sounds like a good idea to be a part of the inspection.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I remember (9 years ago) that the wood I was burning wasn't very dry. Pretty much doing it all wrong. I'm going to build another fire in there this weekend and see now it drafts now that the broken damper is gone. That and using dry wood will probably make a big difference. If I don't smoke up the basement and still smell smoke upstairs, maybe then I'll call in the pro's.
Ok guys, as I get a little closer to my basement RMH build I am reminded that I need to do a little due diligence and check up on the integrity of my basement chimney. I remember when I first moved the family into this place and we were playing with the two fireplaces. I had the upstairs fireplace going and then I set up a fire in the downstairs fireplace. I had some issues with smoking the place up, only to discover that the flue damper was not working properly and only half opening at best. Still though, to my mind I still remember smelling a suspicious odor of smoke upstairs when burning only in the basement. I was wondering if anyone had ever used a pungent cleaning chemical, perfume, or other smelly substance to check for possible leaks in the chimney. I was thinking about putting something smelly in the firebox, covering up the opening, and waiting to see if I could smell it upstairs.
On the other hand, I could just call the chimney guys out with their scope and they could inspect it for me for $$$$. This chimney is only expected to carry spent exhaust gases from a bell bench, so it's not like there's going to be a creosote fire getting out of hand. But all the same, I'd like to know that I won't be smelling smoke in the living room when I'm running the RMH down in the man cave.
Any thoughts on this?? Or am I just nutty?
If anyone is curious about my draft, I cut a 4 inch diameter hole in a MDF panel that I used to cover the firebox with a hole saw , lit a candle and was able to hold the candle up to the hole where the flame was quickly snuffed out. Then I mounted a computer fan over the hole and the draft was such that it was able to overcome the magnetic inertia of the fan and keep the blades spinning at quite a clip. So the draw is good. No question about that.
Gray Henon wrote:Got a trunk load of elm early in my wood burning days. Was really surprised how much effort it took to split a 10” round with an 8lb maul. I finally beat it all into submission out of sheer determination. I’d have to think long and hard about some “free” elm! That said, I didn’t have a chainsaw at the time, now I do, and I am not against “ripping” stubborn logs down to size.
I haven’t ripped any logs but i would imagine it is difficult and inefficient. Although apparently so is splitting elm with a maul! I can fit a couple 8” rounds into our stove at a time and they burn quite a while but anything bigger than that will need some work. I would rent a splitter before I ripped them with my saw.
Brody, when I first got it, I didn't know what it was. It was very wet at first and impossible to work with. My "more knowledgeable" neighbor tipped me off as to what species it was and what I'd be dealing with. I let it dry out over a year and went at it again in the fall. I got what I could off of it. The exercise was probably more valuable than the btu's the effort yielded. I found that any rounds that were free of branch intersections were productive, everything else was a means to punish myself for past transgressions. I recently had a very, very, large Chinese elm taken down on my property and didn't even bother with having them try to save any of it for me. Researching Elm as firewood will show that it is one of the least desirable forms of firewood for home heating.
I'm getting ready to prepare a barrel or two for a build and I already know that I'd like to be able to remove the barrel lid for inspection purposes. I'll be shooting to get this thing code approved too, so hopefully it will help if the inspector can see the guts if he wants to. I see two kinds of high temperature gasket out there, the Flat type and the Rope type. Which is best for sealing barrels together? My barrels have the heavy duty rings that have a big bolt that tightens it down around the drum.
I've seen it mentioned many times that a removable top is a good thing, but few details on how it should be done.
Ok guys. Hit me with your best practices.
I suffered through splitting a truckload of elm rounds with axe, maul, sledge hammer and wedges. Many of them proved nigh impossible. If I had to do it again, I'd save it all for bonfires. Harvest the branches and anything you don't have to split.
What I mean by "penetration" is the hole you would need to put in your wall in order for the bench and bench bell flue cavity to pass through the wall and into the other side. Basically, just a hole in the wall for your bench bell to pass through.
Not sure if anyone else mentioned this, but plug off the horizontal hole in the front. Use it only for cleaning out ash. If you have both holes open while you are running it, you will have too much air flow.
Thanks for chiming in on the thread. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Aureon's claims, though I have been following their work since nearly the beginning with the early "Star in a Jar" prototype. Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence, that much is for certain. However, Aureon is not publicly funded and it's intellectual property is not open source. The SAFIRE laboratory is a one-of-a kind plasma research device, so it is no wonder no one else has duplicated their results. Unless, of course, there are other researchers engaged in exactly this type of research. I am not aware of any. The evidence for the EUT seems to be growing consistently. With every new contact with asteroids and comets we gain new insights as to how the EUT predicts the outcomes whereas the current cosmological paradigm is found wanting. If the Aureon team can actually scale this technology up to the point where we are refitting natural gas and coal fired power plant boilers with plasma chambers for boiling water for steam driven electric generation then the goal of meaningful fossil fuel emissions reduction can happen. Others in this thread have claimed the group is engaged in outright fraud, but I cannot find any evidence of that, nor have the accusers provided any. For what it's worth, I think Plasma Physics is going to be the next big thing in science and industry.