Adjusting mass for optimal performance

Here’s a valuable perspective on the benefits of smaller, easier, cheaper, “faster-cooling” ovens, and a working baker’s comparison w/the classic Alan Scott brick oven design (which isn’t always the best option for someone who wants to start small and simple).

The baker is Noah Elbers, who runs a small bakery in New Hampshire. There are some nice photos of him and his oven(s) on the web, but he’s clearly spending his time in the bakery rather than on the computer — hurrah! He does participate in the brickoven group on yahoogroups, which is where this comment came from.

It is worth noting that Noah fired his 4-5 inch thick cob oven for 5-6 hours every day and used it to run a business. For home-bakers who only use their ovens weekly or less, I’m now recommending just 3″ of thermal mass, and as much insulation as you can manage.

Terra Preta and “the Biochar Solution”

The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change, by Albert BatesA review by Kiko Denzer Living trees lock up carbon, and burning releases it. That’s the conflict-ridden equation of global warming. Albert Bates has been at the front lines of the warming conflict since his 1990 title, Climate in Crisis. …

Adding masonry to increase wood stove efficiency

earthen masonry heater hat for wood-fired stove
This time of year I don’t usually get too muddy, but I brought some mud into my office last month so I could have a better and more efficient source of heat — finally! This little “heater hat” effectively turned my little iron box stove into a mini-masonry heater — with 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 doesn’t generate that fierce, drying attack-heat that people try to moderate, either by burning wet wood, or by damping down their fire so it heats minimally and smokes prodigiously.

The stove was an old cast-off that now provides clean heat with minimal smoke. The surface temperatures of the heater portion are much lower than hot iron and (except for the tile, which gets hotter), very huggable. In addition, I lined the firebox with brick, which keeps the metal surfaces cooler and safer, but increases internal combustion temperatures for a cleaner burn.

Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can Build

This book is the second edition to Rocket Stoves to Heat Cob Buildings published by Cob Cottage Company. Drawings, descriptions and photos are improved and added to. This time, they provide more clear instruction on the brick assembly, the part of building rocket stove that is all in the design, …