Increase wood-stove efficiency with bricks and mud: Construction Details & Videos

Increase woodstove efficiency with bricks and mud

This is a pretty simple do-it-yourself option for anyone interested in increasing the efficiency of an old (or new!) woodstove.

That said, a heater in the home poses serious risks — greater than an outdoor oven, and potentially greater than the old stove itself. But it’s not rocket science; masonry heaters were developed and designed by people who worked for love, not money (the whole story is in David Lyle’s Book of Masonry Stoves: Rediscovering an Old Way of Warming).

The videos below show (roughly) how it goes together. In addition, I’d recommend you look up the Masonry Heater Association, and Alex Chernow’s website.…

Heat your masonry oven with a clean, top-down fire

Heat your masonry oven with a clean, top-down fire

The top-down fire works well for masonry ovens, stoves, and fireplaces, as well as outdoor fires. It’s simple: dry fuel, small sticks (plenty of surface area), plenty of volume where fuel and oxygen can mix — and kindling on top, so the fire burns down, clean and hot. Think of a candle: the flame on top pre-heats the fuel (wax) below, as well as the incoming combustion air. The wick burns hot, bright, and clean, so all you get is light and heat — a perfect fire! If you use it in your oven, your neighbors won’t have to breathe your smoke for hours while they’re waiting for the invite to the pizza party.…

Adding masonry to increase wood stove efficiency

Adding masonry to increase wood stove efficiency

By adding masonry and mud to an old cast-iron wood stove, I greatly increased its efficiency — and it even has an oven! (note the wooden door on the right, just above the iron stove door). The wood that used to over-heat me, briefly, in the morning, now keeps me comfortably warm all day, and into the next morning (depending on how long I fire it and how cold it is). And, unlike most iron stoves, it no longer generates that fierce, dry heat that you can only moderate by burning wet wood, or by damping the fire down to a messy, smoldering smoke generator (both strategies will cause dangerous buildups of creosote in a chimney — a major fire hazard).…

waterglass for binding earthen surfaces & pigment

“Waterglass” for protection & paint Waterglass has become my preferred binder in places where it’s needed. The chemical name is sodium or potassium silicate. It’s an inert mineral compound similar to window glass, but under heat and pressure, it’s soluble in water. I beauty get it from a ceramic supplier for $9 a gallon. It’s clear, viscous, and pours like heavy cream. It dries into a clear, brittle substance cheap jerseys that crushes to a fine powder, wholesale mlb jerseys but it has significant binding power, and is used in some refractory cements, as well as numerous other industrial applications.

I’ve only discovered it in the past few years, so I’m still learning, but it has made murals possible in less protected areas where I might not have risked it before.…