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james beam

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since Jul 13, 2012
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Recent posts by james beam

Oh thanks neighbor, Farkleberry~~~how funny a name is that? I never would have guessed that name, but I searched it out further on the net, after your ID, tyty!

Well I like the shrub, it has a crooked & wild shape, and yet reminds me somewhat of a crepe myrtle, it is slow growing in the woods, and the pollinators seems to like the white blooms, I think the deer like the cover of it.

james beam
hi neighbor, would you do me a favor please? I would like to know the name of the wild bush that grows here & there, (it isn't Privet, that has black berries), but your snap shots 753 & 758 shows it...do ya know the name of it? I've always called them alders...but I'm usually wrong.

james beam
hey ben, no I think I would stay with the 4" inside heat riser pipe + the 3" of vermiculite + the 10" outside heat riser pipe as it is now about 21" long, --if that is what ya have--, I wouldn't change that part, it looks decent proportional-wise too me, but I could be wrong. On your 4" unit, I really wouldn't expect the flames from such a small fire to lick any further than your 21" heat riser. I don't think a 40" riser is going to improve 'draft' or increase temperatures, but I don't know. You might try building up your internal vermiculite in the base, even more than you already have, I would want at least 3" deep and 6" deep if I could get it...of vermiculite covering over the burn tunnel & extend that vermiculite to cover most of the heat riser. I've never used vermiculite before, but they say it insulates well, I just use clay dirt. You can probably fabricate a piece of sheet metal to make a 'mini-bulkhead/barrier' to keep the vermiculite in place and not allow it to wash & fill into the exh. port. You may have to make some kind of thin sheet metal 'form' to hold the vermiculite build-up in place, till you can get your barrel back on the thing. I used a sheet metal form on mine to raise the dirt up higher inside the barrel...kind of a rinky-dink way of doing things, not really a standard RMH practice (see picture), but I was able to increase the insulation inside the barrel & still get the barrel back on the thing....hahaha hope that makes sense.

~~~I probably ought to tell ya, I ain't no RMH expert~~~ but I have had a little fun experimenting from time to time. All my suggestions should be taken with a dose of salt.

Anyway, I think it matters if you can get more insulation covering over the burn tunnel, how ya do it is up to you. I'm guessing you got rid of the fiberglass blanket set-up, which should be a good thing, dirt or vermiculite should insulate better than fiberglass in this situation. It also matters that your fuel wood, better be really dry wood, wood just from the outdoors soaks up all kinds of humidity & it burns colder, than dry wood...so there is that.

I don't think, it matters much that filling in more insulation (dirt) covering over the burn tunnel...main thing is keep your exh. port wide open, you may have to make another metal form or something to hold the insulation back away from the exh. port. Also you want to look at the "J" of your burn tunnel/heat riser, that elbow should be covered with your best insulation, to separate that intense heat from that elbow, radiating heat directly to the adjacent exh. port. I like how you got your exh. port attached to the side of the base, you want it insulated in that area, but cannot restrict the exh. port flow. I had to use a kind of funnel looking thing to collect as much exh. flow (inside the barrel) & bring it unrestricted to the chimney pipe (outside the barrel).

james beam

5 years ago
hey ben, well ya, you got the whole 'metal is doomed' thing going, which is one problem, and RMH's are not well known for high performance with a 4" burn tunnel size, and I think the other problem might be in the mostly metal structure is radiating most of your heat too quickly. As you probably know, RMH's are specified to have firebrick for the burn tunnel, and for important reason. The firebrick absorbs the heat & holds the heat much differently than steel.

Most RMH's seem to always encapsulate the firebrick burn tunnel, & the feed tube areas with a thick application of cob, or whatever...which further slows down the ability for the firebrick of the burn tunnel to quickly radiate heat. Instead the combination of the firebrick & the thick cob overlay concentrates the heat in the burn tunnel & heat riser for a longer time as compared to metal. This concentration/insulation of heat in the burn tunnel & heat riser forces higher temperatures further down the line till it is allowed to exit the heat riser at maximum heat obtainable. The sudden transition from the 4" heat riser to the 12" barrel causes a change in the flow rate, slowing the hot air down somewhat.

You already got 450F out of it, which seems adequate for a shop heater, but for fun, I would like to see if you can get it near 650F. Remember the higher temperatures are what erode the burn tunnel faster, than lower temperatures...at 450F, that little stove should last for years, just like it is.

Just for fun, you could try dumping 2 or 3 big wheelbarrow loads of dirt around the support legs of the thing, mound the dirt pile up around the base, & sides covering the exposed metal lower parts of the unit. I would bring dirt & mound it up high, till it was to nearly 1" below the feed tube opening, therefore the whole bottom half of your unit would be embedded in dirt, including the exh. pipe area if ya want, this dirt pile might slow down your heat radiation in the lower parts of the unit, which is where you need to concentrate heat. This is just an experiment suggestion you might try. If you decide it is concentrating too much heat, some of the dirt mound could be easily pushed away...after all-- all you want to do is heat the shop, it is not necessary that you melt the burn tunnel out of it prematurely.

I think as your picture is now, it is your exposed metal pieces that are radiating the heat too fast, both internally & externally. I think the main goal of your style shop heater should be low chimney temperatures, therefore proving that you have extracted & used as much heat from the fuel you fed it. Generally if your chimney temperature is over 300, then more mass in/around your stove would help capture some of that excess heat.

james beam
5 years ago
hi ben, nice set-up you have there. I would try for non-fiberglass insulation in the base of the unit as shown in this picture. If you used cob you could mold it to allow the exhaust port to remain wide open. If that increases your temperature, you might think about adding more cob in the same area, building it up around the riser & wall of the barrel a couple inches & retest, making sure your exhaust port is wide open.

I'm not sure your fiberglass is doing 'enough', but you might try a 6" or maybe an 8" thin wall stove pipe over your existing heat riser tube, & fill it with cob, or ash, or clay...some people use vermiculite...to replace your fiberglass wrapping.

If the unit is primarily 'stationary' then I wouldn't hesitate to use the heavier insulation materials, if it is portable, using powdered clay might work-out, because damp clay will easily form & set where you put it. And after your done using it & disassemble to move it, a couple sharp raps to the side of the heat riser, the clay powder will crack & fall out the bottom as you pull the 8" thin wall stove pipe upward.

james beam
5 years ago
As far as 'formatting an episode', you might consider how your normal TV cop show formats, they typically open with act 1, and work thru the normal processes & gathering clues, the final act is either catching the bad guy, or having a drink at the sunset bar. Are you expecting to write each episode script yourself? Permaculture is the overriding theme, each episode should mention more than once, why each subject/episode is a permaculture process.

I suppose a farming episode could be similarly formatted, act 1 might demonstrate 'the problem', and with detective-like deductive reasoning and a strong back, the protagonist seeks responsible solutions in subsequent acts, setting about gathering clues, supplies, helpers, and doing the work. Those insights & clues are what make a good TV cop show, and I think unique farming practices are quite interesting, based on reality of course. Show the problems that arise, like the TV cop show does, show personal & commercial relationships like TV cop show does, show the success & hard earned celebration of it, just like a TV cop show would do.

One thing I have noticed about some TV shows is they will open with a 'captivating picture with dialog' and then a subtitle is inserted and it might say '2 weeks ago' or '6 months earlier'...then the plot begins, expecting the finale' to resolve back to the opening 'captivating picture'. I really think this 'captivating picture' emphasizes the theme thru out the show. Nothing bugs me worse than trying to follow some fast paced conglomeration of clues & processes without recurring reference to the theme...if the crux of the theme has not been borne out clearly in the first place how is the viewer supposed to understand what is happening? Think of it like a college thesis, properly define the theme with a statement like: 'the purpose of this paper is...', occasionally thru the show-- briefly redefine what the purpose is.

james beam
5 years ago
I guess I could mention there is a safety factor. A RMH is safer when left unattended, because the fuel (wood) is not present, there is a bit of time even on an RMH that must allow all the live embers to become consumed or go out, before leaving unattended. Although RMH operators should be aware of carbon monoxide build up in their system when unattended & operate accordingly.

A regular wood burning heater has a safety concern that all wood heater owners should be well aware and that is of creosote build up in the fire box & flue which all too often become 'flu fires', we have many burned down houses every year in my county, as a result of wood heaters. These burnt houses are partly due to excessive creosote build up which is generally caused by choking down a huge amount of firewood. Operator error is also a huge factor to burned up houses.

Great care & attention to the operation of your wood heater is sometimes not easily learned. For me, I don't fill the firebox & choke everything off for the night...it just seems to be too dangerous. And think about the possibility of someone else opening the door of the wood heater, and if they did not know it was chocked full of smoldering firewood...what happens when a choked off smoldering load has a sudden burst of air allowed too it?...it wake up everyone in the house! hahaha

Albeit I don't have the serious overnight low temps. that people north of me have to deal with every year. If it is a cold night around 5 F ...then I will simply have to wake up every 2-4 hours to tend the fire, if the low temps are only in the 20's (and the wind isn't blowing too hard) then I can make it 6-8 hrs. expecting there will be some coals still active. And just by the way, if it isn't terribly cold in the house, only put enough wood in there, over stoking the wood heater is really not necessary, put you sweater on or whatever while your waiting on the thing to warm up, throwing more wood at the heater is just wasting wood. I would rather burn 4 sticks of wood cleanly, than 10 sticks that required being choked back somewhat...use your air inlet to burn the wood as clean as you can, for continued safe operation.

Just for fun, pretend you didn't have a mountain of firewood stored outside, pretend you have only 4 sticks of wood...how far can you make it last? hahahaa

james beam

p.s. if you don't have a big fire extinguisher, ready to go...GET ONE!
5 years ago
I doubt gasifiers are even making a dent in forest supply, because gasifiers are simply not in widespread use...hard to say what the future holds. But forestation or biomass is readily renewable, 'stored solar energy' that is to say recently stored solar energy...verses the petroleum fuel based on ancient stored solar energy. Hybrids of renewable & ancient fuel are in use in mobile applications, at this time, so there is that to consider also. Also if you have noticed the RMH type stove is claimed right here at Permies.com to burn at rates 10X less fuel is required, as compared to a normal camp fire...so a gasifier does also use much less wood fuel/BTU as compared to a normal camp fire. That is because of the efficiency of the set-up, which determines fuel consumption rate.

As far as what Elliot Harrah was referring to, I think he brings a good point that I too am also interested in, 'cracking temperature'...and I would ask Ben Peterson, has there been any practical english speaking examples of using catalyst after the woodgas hearth? {I know the typical automotive catalytic converter was not yet invented back in the 1930-40's} And if so, perhaps Ben would like to share his experience using catalysts applied to gasifiers. I am wondering why automotive catalytic converters are not used more often on their gasifiers to further crack the CO2, just off the hearth, before any cyclone or other type condensers. Here is a video of what I am referring to. And while I'm asking questions, how come typical gasifiers are not using firebrick in the hearth area, there again, to increase smoke temps? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKJzMjhuoKw

james beam

5 years ago