The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

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The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby matt walker » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:24 am

Well gang, I've been racking my brain for a while on this one. Lolly, it's all because you said you might be interested in building a stove like my outdoor cooking system. For the last few months I've been trying to come up with a way to build that thing that wouldn't fall apart all the time, and that I could easily describe in a "how to" type presentation. So, here you go, an easy way to build a variety of rocket stoves, which requires almost no purchased materials.

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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:30 pm

How is the front feed working for you as compaired with the top feed? The new 1/2 barrel design looks like it has a much larger fire box which sould mean less stocking the fire with wood. Because the RMH is designed for a quick hot burn to use up all of the potential heat in the wood, do you find that the new larger fire box burns the wood too quickly and makes the cooking area too hot? I love the window design, I had not seen any other RMH with that feature and I feel that it adds greatly to the over all effect of sitting by the warm fire. Great idea Matt.
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby matt walker » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:08 pm

Thanks Guy, I'm very excited about the potential of this method of building stoves. The large barrel you can stuff a LOT of wood in. It definitely is way less efficient, but like you said, you can get a long burn and a more traditional feel. It can get very, very hot, as you suspected. Not too hot for the cooking area due to the baffle, but you can run it real hot for sure. What I like about this method of building is it is very scalable and configurable depending on what you want from the stove. The small barrel, no window version I built for cooking when I don't want to use a lot of wood, and it is very efficient. I smoked a pork butt last night and made pulled pork. It cooked for about 8 hours and I used one armload of maple sticks. Not even splits, just branch pieces about 1"-2" in diameter. Two at a time, about 30-45 minutes between loading.

As for the front feed, I'm enjoying it because I can get away from the stove for a longer time, and use wood that is less "perfect." In my inside, top feed stove, I have to have the wood split just so, no snags or knots, no curve, etc. The front feed allows me to use the stuff I can't burn in the top feed. The trade off is, I think, efficiency. The top feed, small tunnel version only lets you put in a little at a time and it all burns at once. Front feed stuff can kinda fall off to the sides and not burn as hot. I do think that this method of construction could be used to build a stove that is just as efficient, just by shaping the inside of the barrel with a bit of clay. Like, build a clay "platform" and some low side walls before plunking the half barrel down into that, thereby taking up some of the volume of the barrel. I sort of did that with the small one, built up the platform and stuck the barrel about 2" down into it. I also packed clay along the inside back and sides, under the riser. It burns great.

I also love that you get away from the expense and limitations of the brick, and the flue pipe for the mass. That does away with almost all the items that need to be purchased. One of these can be built with just a few short sections of flue for the riser liner and exhaust, and a bag of Perlite. There are even ways to do it without those two "bought" items. If you are curious at all about rocket stoves, I encourage everyone to try this out. It's really, really quick and easy, and it's forgiving as well in that it naturally creates a strong form for the clay, and a shape that just "works" right out of the box.

Can you tell I'm excited? Sorry for the long ramble, and I might just have to call my next video "I'm real excited" since I say that every 22 seconds. LOL.
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby Lollykoko » Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:43 pm

I guess I know why I hadn't left for the farm yet! I've been planning on making the drive but there is no rush since I have no help or company this weekend. I'll be thinking about his while I'm there, and will check the 55 gallon drum I have. I have need for both a cooking area and hot water / shower facilities. I might have to start tightening up the perimeter and stack the functions somewhat, since current plans call for the bathing area to be about 200 feet from the kitchen. :idea:

Great idea, Matt. Thanks for doing the design work and sharing your efforts.
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby matt walker » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:43 pm

Glad you checked it out Lolly, hopefully it gives you some ideas. I've been using it almost daily, the smaller one when I'm just cooking, the bigger one when I want to hang out near it. I built a small oven and baked bread in it the other day. Waaayyyy better than the regular oven, it actually really surprised me. Last night I smoked a bunch of fish my friend brought me from a trip to Alaska. I've got some buckboard bacon curing in the fridge now, I think I'll smoke it tomorrow. I'm loving this thing.
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby georgesr » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:59 pm

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays,
I have been checking this site for a couple of weeks and really like the forum. I'm interested in building a RMH using the half barrel system. Especially, the part about using material from home. We have some land with clay, so I harvested about a 1/2 yard after sifting through a tromel made with 1/2" hardware cloth, just before we got 14" of snow. The sifted clay is now in my heated garage. I screened about two five gallon buckets with 1/4" screen and added a little water to make a slurry, using a paint mixer in a drill. After it dried a little, I am able to make a 3/4 x 8" link with the clay and roll it around my finger.
I burned a lot of wet wood in my outdoor fireplace and screened two five gallon buckets of ashes. I'm thinking of using the wood ashes to add to the slurry and use that to insulate the 8" riser and around the burn tunnel. I looked at Matt's photo of the plug he used to cast the burn tunnel and plan on using that idea also.
Anyway, I still have to buy the drums and the 8" pipe. But in the meantime I will be working on casting the burn tunnel.
Thanks for the great wealth of information.
Here's a link to harvesting the clay
http://youtu.be/NcKNIaOvTVs
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby matt walker » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:54 am

Welcome George. Glad to have you here. It sounds like you're off to a good start on your build. I just built another plug and cast a combustion core yesterday. Hopefully I'll have a video up on the process soon. This one is for someone else so I'm using mostly purchased materials. I'm a big fan of using what you have at home, I'll be looking forward to watching your progress.
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby georgesr » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:49 am

Matt, your videos are very helpful to a newcomer like me. So, I'll be anxiously awaiting the next one. In the meantime I'm using some of the casting ideas from here: http://www.rechoroket.com/Home_files/EnglishBook_1.pdf
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Re: The Half Barrel system for Rocket Stoves

Postby matt walker » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:08 pm

Thanks George, I'll have measurements and a little more detail in this one since folks have been asking for that info.

That site you posted is great. I've followed those two a bit, I love their oven build. That particular page you posted though, that's great, great info.
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