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Penny McLoughlin

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since Jun 01, 2017
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Recent posts by Penny McLoughlin

I had about 3 inches but I think the rounded lip that I had made out of ceramic clay on the top lip of the heat riser sort of exploded off when I first got the stove good and hot. So might be closer to 4 inches now.

Glad to hear that's a normal temperature.
2 months ago
Thanks for the encouragement.

Unfortunately, we don't have running water yet or an easy way to heat it at the house we're building.

So the water even has ice in it sometimes. I do throw the ice back in the water bucket  when I pour the water on the mix.

I tried doing lasagna cob today which seemed easier. Light layer of straw on the tarp then the clay, throw some sand on it and then more straw and top it with some water. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Fold with the tarp and stomp some more.

House held at 40 deg last night when it was about 15 deg outside. Only up to 55 deg again today while I was cobbing again.

Is there a temp limit to how hot the 55 gallon drum should get? I've had it up as high as 700 deg.


2 months ago
So we didn't get our RMH started in the warmer part of the year. Our house build was delayed for many reasons and by the time we finally got "dried in", temperatures were regularly below freezing at night.

Can't build a RMH when it's freezing, right?  Frost heaven would knock everything off level. So then we needed to insulate the ceiling at least. But had to put in electric wires before putting in the insulation. So more delays.

Finally we're ready to start building the RMH but now it's snowing. Used a propane heater to keep the stove from freezing during the build which worked fine but cobbing is more difficult.

First you need to figure out which of the white lumps outside was the pile of clay. Then scrape off the snow. Next chip off the top couple of inches of clay which are actually frozen. Once you"ve found the unfrozen clay, load up the wheel barrow but only 1/2 way because wheel barrows don't roll very well at all in several inches of snow. Wheel it the 50 feet or so to the house. Up and over the step and the threshold. Into the house, and dump it out onto a large tarp. Add water, sand and straw and stomp, stomp, stomp. Don't dare do this barefoot though. Some of the clay is still frozen and the rest of it is nearly so.  Snow boots are in order for this. Fold the tarp over to flip the mix.

Finally mixing by hand but the darn stuff is so cold that my fingers go numb through the rubber gloves. Thank goodness I can run the RMH during the cobbing of the mass. I need to stop frequently to thaw out my fingers.

It's all worth it though as the bench starts to slowly take shape and the temperatures of the house slowly rise.

Outside temps 22 deg, inside high was 55 deg today. Quite comfortable while working around the RMH. Our house has a large thermal mass behind the back wall that unfortunately got quite cold from snow melt falling off the roof and getting past the plastic and into the earth. Going to take a bit to warm it back up but we're well on our way now.

2 months ago
Woo Hoo!!!

Doing the happy dance!

Took a little while but got my first fire going in my bran new RM.

Put a candle in the clean out at the base of the upright part of the chimney. Used a lot of paper but the draft kept sucking the flames off the paper so I had to keep adding paper until the wood was finally able to catch.

Awesome!  So excited!

2 months ago
Can I add cob to the mass while the RMH is running?

Or will the temperature differences between the cold cob and tree he hotter exhaust pipe cause problems?

I've cobbed up enough of the RMH to test fire today and was wondering if I could keep it running while I worked on cobbing the mass.


2 months ago

I squished down the ceramic fiber blanket and was able to get 4.5 inches of clearance but I'll check around and see if I can get a larger pipe for that section.

I'd need to get it in a "T" thought to maintain my clean out access.

2 months ago
Yes, it is a ceramic fiber blanket. Rated for 2300 deg.

Thanks I'll check out the pipe wrapped in blanket idea.

2 months ago
Thanks for your input!

Yes, I am burning off the paint right now. Just decided to cut the manifold piece out before doing the burning so I'd have less to clean up.

Interesting about not seeing the manifold done with a 55  gal drum piece. That was what was recommended in the Builder's Guide. I see what you mean about the amount of space in other manifolds though from the pictures that you linked.

I believe that the book recommended at least 3" of clearance between the insulation on the  heat riser and the beginning of the horizontal stove pipe and I have about 3.5 inches but the ceramic fiber insulation seems like it takes up a lot of room. I have the insulation lined with hardware cloth on the outside but maybe I can squish it back closer to the heat riser and gain another inch or so.  All the projections on the fire brick make it stick out a bit from the heat riser too.
2 months ago
Hi all,

We're building our first RMH to heat our 1440 square foot house (still under construction but dried in).

Building an 8" J tube style per Ernie and Erica's Builder's guide but we had a couple of questions.

First - should we leave more than 2 inches between the top of the heat riser and the barrel? And if so, how much?

Second - the book talks of putting a stove gasket to seal between the top barrel and the manifold barrel. We're using the lid ring to join the barrels but should we put the gasket between the two barrels or between the barrel junction and the ring?

Thirdly - Does the manifold look OK? I was hoping that I could just use cob to seal up the gaps between the manifold and the fire brick?


2 months ago
Sorry, didn't see Paul's note about showing the milking until the new post came up.

I guess admin comments don't trigger a notification of new activity?

Anyway, here is a (not so great) picture of me squeezing milk out.


5 months ago