Category Archives: Books

Spoon-Carving Classes, 2016, or Why it’s good to carve your own spoon

Some of Robin Wood’s collected spoons, at lunch, made by as many different carvers. Note the bowls, too… Robin has been making bowls and spoons for twenty years, as well as doing research, writing, and advocating for hand craft. I got to visit in April, which was a huge gift. Click on the photo to goto Robin’s website, full of good things (browse the blog, too)

This summer, I’ll be teaching three spoon carving classes, all on Saturdays: May 21 June 18 and August 20 Classes are hosted by friends Richard and Charlene at Nanacardoon, their wonderful 1.5 acre suburban …

Posted in A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity, Authors, Books, Featured, Kiko Denzer, Sculpture, Spoons | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

earth oven building errors to avoid

Beginning an oven building adventure…click on the photo to read the builder’s story…

Especially when building a larger oven, there are some clear earth oven building errors to avoid. (Building an oven is simple, but the truth is that nothing is quite as simple as it may first appear, especially when you build a fire in it.) Heather Coiner of Hat Creek Farm in Virginia (in photo) has generously documented some of the mistakes they made on a commercial-scale oven they built (and used successfully) on their farm — and which they recently took down after building their next oven …

Posted in Authors, Build Your Own Earth Oven, Featured, Kiko Denzer, Ovens, Ovens | 3 Comments

Bill Coperthwaite & the Arts of Culture (a review of A Man Apart, Bill Coperthaite’s Radical Experiment in Living, by Peter Forbes & Helen Whybrow)

A Man Apart, Bill Coperthaite’s Radical Experiment in Living, by Peter Forbes & Helen Whybrow

I met Bill Coperthwaite in 2007. I had recently read his book, A Hand Made Life, and was deeply impressed by his stories and practice, and the way he was trying to live out an answer to questions that, by our denial of them, define our culture:

“Can you have ‘culture’ without violence?”

“Is beauty useful?”

“Are justice, democracy, and peace possible if most all of our technologies require violence?”

Like Gandhi, Bill figured that whatever he could make for himself meant less dependence on …

Posted in A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity, Authors, Books, Essays and Other Writing, Kiko Denzer | 1 Comment

cabin stove/sidewinder build sequence

This photo-essay documents about 2 days of experimentation that resulted in a pretty stupendous new variation on Max’s “Cabin Stove.” The overall footprint of the stove determined the firebox size, and the geometry resulted in a rectangular heat riser that took hot gasses from a vertical throat in the corner of the firebox — unconventional, but it worked amazingly well. More to come! (Ed. Note: This stove, like so many others, is merely one more in a long line of innovations and adaptations, all based on the same basic principles: burn the fuel fast, hot, & clean, and extract and …

Posted in Authors, Fire, Heaters, Kiko Denzer, Rocket Mass Heaters | 6 Comments

Earth Oven builders in Ecuador, Manuel (10), Juan Carlos (6)

A builder in Alaska sent me this story about an earth oven she built in Ecuador, with two helpers. At the ages of 10 and 6, they are clearly competent. Margaret writes:

Winters in Kodiak were beginning to get to me.  I had it in mind to snow goose it away in a warmer climate for the coldest, darkest part of winter.  Alan and his girlfriend, Loretta were due to get married on their farm [in Ecuador].  They invited me to the wedding.  And so I went.

I had always said to Allan that if I did ever get to …

Posted in Authors, Build Your Own Earth Oven, Creative Children, Kiko Denzer, Ovens, Uncategorized, Working With Children | Leave a comment

Wood-fired, earth-oven pizza grows a family business in Cedar City UT

Wood-fired, earth-oven pizza grows a family business in Cedar City UT

The Murray family needed extra income to pay dad’s college tuition; he had already made a little backyard oven, and decided he could make a bigger one on a cart and run an outdoor pizza business. My favorite line from the video (below) is Jason expressing amazed gratitude for his wife Cindy’s support: “How many wives would let you make some stupid oven in your backyard out of mud and then put it on a trailer and go out on the street, you know?” They were so successful tho, …

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Increase wood stove efficiency with a Heater Hat: Free plans!

Free plans to increase wood stove efficiency

Lovely friend Erica Wisner (she’s the cute one on the right w/out the fuzz) put the heater hat details down on paper and gave them to us to share — and I’ve finally figured out how to post them as a new “product” in the bookstore — available as a free download, here. If you wonder what the heck I’m talking about, a masonry heater hat is a smallish amount of masonry (300 lbs or so) that you can add to a conventional metal box stove to improve performance, reduce wood consumption, and …

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Earth-Art: Maia’s Mud Mural

Earth Art in Oregon

Maia Fischler and friends made this mural on Maia’s house using local earth and powdered concrete tints mixed with waterglass. Maia said “I hadn’t planned to paint the brown areas but as time wet by the mud turned a pretty boring color so I decided to do it at the last minute. Sadly, [the masonry supply place] was closed for the weekend, so I went to Home Depot and got some liquid concrete tint, which wasn’t as nice. (You couldn’t control the consistency so it was pretty runny when mixed — a little less than 1 …

Posted in Authors, Dig Your Hands in the Dirt, Featured, Kiko Denzer | Leave a comment

New translations! in Spanish and German: Hornos de Barro; Lehm Backofens

Thanks to muddy friends Ian Miller, Christo Markham, and Xavier Rodriguez, there are now German and Spanish editions of Build Your Own Earth Oven. The German edition is published by Stocker Verlag, (click here). The Spanish edition is published by EcoHabitar (click here).

A few words of thanks are in order: Ian’s first oven inspired him to start a bread business and build his own natural house; when his (Austrian) wife Andrea got accepted for an educational program in her homeland, he wrote me out of the blue, proposing an oven book for a German speaking audience. He took on …

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Wood-fired oven recipes: Hameen Eggs

I don’t normally get excited about hard-boiled eggs, but these aren’t your normal fare. The color alone gives them a quality like deeply polished mahogany; the flavor is nutty and sweet; the texture of the white is firmer, while the yolk is softer. The trick is simply to boil them gently with onion skins, overnight, in the declining heat of your oven. Red onion skins give a deeper color — these were cooked with white onion skins.

I forget who got us started with these, but when I went looking on the web I found many references to “hameen” dishes …

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