Yes, all of the links in this thread are shameless affiliate links. So if you buy any of this, the empire gets a kickback.
I'm amazed at how many people carry a lighter. So when the times comes to start the fire, they seem to be all over it. And when the time comes that I need to start a fire, I have nothing. Since we have so many fire starting points, I picked up a few things to try. And this is, by far, my favorite. Six bucks and I can point the little blue flame downward to start the rocket mass heater fire. It is supposed to be a mini torch - I can see how. It is about ten times cooler than some stupid lighter or fireplace lighter.
Welding gloves. This particular pair is jumbo size because I have freaky big hands. We tried hot pads and other lame things for moving the bricks on the woodfeed. I seem to still get burned, or nearly drop things. But the welding gloves are the RIGHT way to do this. During experimentation when deciding to stop a fire, I have used the welding gloves to grab a burning stick and throw it outside.
We have four rocket mass heaters and a half dozen pocket rockets. I bought this ash vac with the idea of saying "We use this ash vac all the time. here is a link to amazon. Buy it and I get lots of kickback money." Instead, I have to say that while this has been an excellent ash vac, the thing I use the most is the small piece of cardboard and a stainless steel bucket. The ash vac has come in handy a few times while experimenting with cores and the like. We want to stop the fire and move on to the next test, so we throw sand on the fire and the vacuum all the sand out. This thing has lots of metal tubes and super fine filters so you don't end up just blowing ash all over the house like other shop vacs. So it has earned it's keep. Definitely a cool tool.
The plan is to bend the handle on this shovel to get ash out of the rocket mass heater. I have used the poker a LOT and erica uses the tongs a lot. When looking for fireplace tools, most are crazy expensive (hundreds of dollars) or have features that won't work for what we are trying to do. This is reasonably priced (forty bucks) and the shovel will bend just right.
et al : - if I am just plan wrong here, just shout me down, as possessor of one of the oldest shop vacs ever made,( I have to get a new motor and one endplate of the motors
frame is a cast aluminum part of the vacuum itself, it came with a two prong ungrounded plug cord ! ) The vacuum's ability to not blow fine Fly ash and sawdust is the result of
a great filter and proper installation, and do a google search for an inline cyclone bucket dust collector, worth the price for anyones home wood shop ! BIG AL !
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan
I have one of those axes and use it every day to create kindling wood. They are all metal and come in different sizes. The top has mushroomed over from hitting it. I just borrowed an infrared digital thermometer from a friend, that's a very handy tool too.
Paul: I'll start by saying that I mean no offense or to sound like a know-it-all. As a welder/blacksmith/certified Campfire Tenderer, I have tried both your suggested 20$ gloves and the 11$ Lincoln Electric welding gloves from Home Depot and highly suggest the 11$ gloves from the Despot for all of the above mentioned uses. I think they are a generally a superior product and 1/2 the price so you can get a pair each for both you and your partner, if they have different sized hands, for the same price.
This is my favorite tiny ad:
Morgan Superwool Plus non-ceramic fiber blanket for Rocket Mass Heaters