Author Message
Max Edleson
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

Hi all!
Just a little assistance with some terms.....

The insulative fire brick (IFBs) are the light, generally white ones and Thomas is right that they are great for the heat riser but not in situations where they will be continually abraded by wood.

As far as refractory firebrick goes (generally yellow/buff in color), you can find low, medium, and high duty versions out there.  There isn't much low duty firebrick produced these days.  Medium duty will more than meet RMH requirements and is more economic than the high duty.

Alsey, Whitaker Greer, and Harbison Walker International (HWI) are the main fire brick makers / distributors in North America.  It is most likely that a local brick supplier will have one of these three brands. HWI has its own distribution centers and an impressive array of refractory products, including castables.  There is also some fire brick coming in from India and China these days.

In our experience as heater masons.... it doesn't really make sense to stock up on firebrick.  We prefer to let local masonry supply shops supply the firebrick (and red brick) for projects and for us to have more specialized materials on hand.  For us, this has evolved to stocking a full line of mass heater hardware which we have in stock and ship:

Hope this helps!
Leif Ing
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

Thanks Thomas!
thomas rubino
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

Hi Lief;
The insulated bricks are super away from the feed tube.  
Using them in the burn tunnel and riser base is fine.
I recommend using Super wool ceramic fiber to create five minute risers.
But IFB make a fine riser as well.

The feed tube will do best using the hard bricks.
Wood abrasion will wear thru the insulated ones quickly.

However rebuilding is easy .
If you have pallets of insulated brick to use.
Leif Ing
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

So Thomas, I need the heavy firebricks? Not the light/insulative? Have several others near me expressing interest, so planning to buy supplies by the pallet.
Leif Ing
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

Thanks Thomas and JoyLynn! Am a wee bit busy these days, but am so glad for the tips and now I know better where to go and who to talk to. I have participated in one RMH build and have the Wisners’ book, but haven’t actually built one all on my own nor bought materials or figured out exactly which ones will work best for us.

I do plan to build on in the garage/metal building next to the house first, before one in the living room like at Paul’s. That one I know I’ll have to build a foundation for it under the trailer!

As far as place name ideas, maybe Twin Labs… since my twins are 9 now, or Twin Acres… ;-)

Thanks again and will be in touch soon Thomas!

thomas rubino
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

Hi Leif;
That's awesome your saying goodbye to Kansas City and moving to the country!
You and your family are going to be so much happier and healthier!

So Ing labs in Missouri  or maybe  Ing ranch.   Gosh your last name just doesn't have that "ring" that Paul's does...
Maybe Heartland Permaculture center or  Missouri alternative energy institute?
Or just Lief's really cool off grid learning center?  

Bulk RMH supplies.
Your best source for firebricks and fire clay is in any large city.    A masonry supply house.  KC probably has one.
I use Mutual Materials.  Brand new heavy firebricks full or split are less than $2 each and the by the pallet price is even better.
Fireclay is $7  a #50 sack.
Red clay bricks are easily available at the same place or I buy mine at Home depot for .48 each.

At Dragon Technology I can supply you with any of the metal fabricated  pieces and parts needed for J tube or Batchbox construction.
I also stock,  bypass gates , temp probes , Morgan Super wool, ash cleanout tools  and I am a dealer for RA330 extreme high heat metals and also  for high heat clear glass.

Visit the RMH forum to ask any specific questions about construction methods and the latest innovations.
Contact me at  for any questions on how we can help you.

Joylynn Hardesty
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

I don't think he has bulk, I want to be sure you have found your way to Dragon Technology owned by our awesome Thomas Rubino, Rocket Scientist. A store with stuff specific to rocketry.
Leif Ing
Post     Subject: Rocket mass heater supplies (MidWest USA)

Ok permies, I should be moving my family in about 3 weeks to our new property and have some questions on what and maybe where to find useful stuff. With 31 acres of mixed pasture and woods, I should have room to store some “stuff” like I’ve never had in the city!

So, what suggestions would you have for “stuff”, especially that may be much cheaper in bulk? Example: for RMH supplies, I plan to put one in the 30x40 metal shop/garage first, but after that would like one that is at least sort of pretty (like Paul’s) in the double wide. So, maybe a pallet of fire bricks? Buy 6-8” ductwork by the pallet or case? Suggestions on where to find bulk quantities? What are the latest suggestions for fire bricks vs. ceramic wrap vs. casting a j-tube?

Moving out of Kansas City, I’ve still made a lot of freedom minded friends in the past year, and we are looking into buying pallets of solar panels to start with. I should have the room to store extras to sell off for a price well below retail. Been trying to think what else that may work with. Considering buying a super duty pickup and trailer (have a CDL so can drive pretty much any loads up to 80,000 lbs.) Maybe I can help save on shipping costs by picking up or delivering for friends.

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas! Not sure if I’ll ever be able to get to sort of a Wheaton Labs-Missouri type status, but it can be a goal... along with a wofati in the Northern slope of that hill in the woods, maybe!

Leif :)