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What Makes a Wood Burning Stove a Rocket Stove?

The coziness of a “rocket mass heater” (aka “rocket stove”) is something we would love to have in our house. So when Lasse Holmes, esteemed natural builder and teacher of this DIY technology, said he was going to be in the area, we decided to sponsor him to teach a rare workshop here in Western North Carolina on the theory and building of the rocket mass heater.

Lasse is featured (among others) in Rocket Mass Heaters, a book by by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson. Leslie has cheerfully agreed to let us use a little excerpt with a link to the complete article explaining these wonderful wood-burning stoves at rocketstoves.com. In fact, we are including a copy of Rocket Mass Heaters in the price of our upcoming Rocket Mass Heaters workshop (April 7, 8-9, 2016) since it is an essential resource for anyone serious about understanding and building one!

Excerpt from Rocket Mass Heaters by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson: What Makes a Wood Burning Stove a Rocket Stove?

rocket mass heater diagram The rocket stove burns cleanly and almost completely, and it does so by means of a combination of materials that is it built with, and geometry. The chimney is insulated, maximizing its interior temperature, thus helping the fuel burn completely. The wood is small, dry and straight. The chamber in which the wood burns is of a size to reflect back on itself, also maximizing the burn by helping it stay hot. The opening in the stove in which the fuel is fed, the chimney on which the cook pot sits and the gaps–around which the gases flow past and around the cookpot–are very carefully sized to control the amount of oxygen mixing with the burning fuel. The stove’s “L” shape or “J” shape contributes to an ideal mixing of the combustion gases for clean burning. It’s all about the proper conditions for complete combustion…
»Read complete article at rocketstoves.com

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About Mollie Curry

Mollie got involved with natural building when she moved to Earthaven EcoVillage in 1996. She has taught natural building workshops, often at Earthaven and in the Western North Carolina area, since 1998. She has taught cob, plastering, straw bale, straw-clay, earthen paint, earthbag, and carpentry, as well as permaculture. Being involved in many of the natural building projects at Earthaven, as well as teaching and doing projects in other locations, has informed her building experience. Being an “earth” person, cob, plasters and earthen paints (alis) are her favorite things to work with.