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Rocket Mass Heaters:
As-Built Drawings, Plans, and Instructions:
These as-built drawings don't come with any official warranty or license. But they do come with our personal guarantee that they are based on proven products: each example has performed to their owner's satisfaction for at least 1 year, including a full heating season. Any improvements or modifications made during that year are documented.
Purchasers make their own decisions about the suitability for any particular purpose, or may consult a licensed building professional for informed local advice.
We are happy to answer questions before or after you purchase our plans - just send them to questions@ErnieAndErica.info. We also offer help with custom plans, and draft versions of plans still in testing, by private request to: questions@ErnieAndErica.info
Prices below are for PDF / online digital versions, except as noted. For printed versions, in most cases we add $5 too $7 for printing and shipping. Contact us directly to ensure prompt shipping: questions@ErnieAndErica.info.
The Annex: Rocket Mass Heater, 6 inch ducting -
The only heater we used in our 900 sf Portland rental for 3 years. The low, L-shaped bench is wide enough to double as a guest bunk, or pull up a bench-table and mattress to make a heated double bed. Photo essay available.
PDF 15MB, prints letter or 11"x17", 300 DPI -- $20
Bonny Convection Bench: Rocket Mass Heater, 8 inch ducting, with air channels over hardwood floor. This large system heats a 3-story, multi-family house in redwood country. The seating bench is earthen masonry, with a vented redwood back. Built-in air channels protect the existing hardwood floor, and provide warm air to the rest of the house. Also available on DVD (see below)
PDF, 23 MB, prints 11x17. $35.
Bonny 8" Convection Bench: Buy Now View Item
This compact layout takes up less than 4' x 9' total footprint, yet stores a lot of heat. The original is fieldstone masonry with wood and tile trim, and an optional copper bell cover. Heats a 800-sf sub-alpine cottage near the Canadian border.
This design includes details on how to do a removable barrel and lid, simpler manifold construction, and integrate wood trim into earthen masonry. The well-documented combustion chamber may be used with a variety of other bench layouts.
PDF, 10 MB $35 (prints letter or 11x17", 300 dpi)
Cabin 8" RMHeater: Buy Now View Item
a compact heater for occasional-use spaces (the original heats a 120-sf detached guest room, as a built-in twin bed). Includes detail on making a bypass to prime the ch
8 MB PDF, 6 ledger pages (11 x 17 inches), $20
Daybed 6" RMHeater: View Item Buy Now
Rocket Mass Heater Operation and Maintenance Manual:
This is the one file we sell that we explicitly encourage you to share. Builders, print 2 or 3 copies for each project, and leave at least one with the clients. Owners, make at least 2 copies for your project (a dirty one for field notes, and a clean one for the household files), and share with guests or house-sitters as needed.
Current version (2013) prints 32 pages, letter, for only $3.
RMHeaterManual: View Item Buy Now
Two-Chamber Earthen Oven (with chimney):
3 color pages of plans plus 12 pages of step-by-step instructions. Suitable for first-time builders of earthen ovens, or cob fans looking to create a more efficient, less smoky bakery for an outdoor kitchen or pizza-palace.
PDF, 8.6 MB, prints 17 pages (8.5x11") $
How To Build Rocket Mass Heaters DVD
The Bonny 8" project was filmed by Calen Kennett, and we now have the finished instructional video available.
This is a step-by-step visual documentary, designed for you to skip to any part of the process to check the next step. Very useful for anyone who has questions about what materials are described in the builder's notes of all our plans, or wants to see how exactly the whole thing goes together.
How To ... DVD: 117 minutes, NTSC, widescreen, $47.
Email us to purchase, or go directly to Village Video (view selected scenes there, too). The DVD ships by mail, so please include your shpping address.
"Wood Burning Stoves 2.0" DVD set from the 2012 Montana workshops:
4 titles make up the set:
Fire Science: Bonfire fun in the dark.
Hot Rocket: Cookstoves and portable forge...
Sneaky Heat: Rocket Mass Heaters, 6" portable.
Boom Squish: Rocket Hot Water, 8" brick-&-cob.
Individual titles $25, or $100 for all 4 titles, plus shipping at cost.
Low-resolution download version of all 4 titles available for $40 here: view item buy now
Streaming online version at Paul's site, Richsoil.com.
For any or all of these DVDs, please email questions@ErnieAndErica.info with your order info (name, shipping address, and DVD selection).
We will respond with your order total and payment instructions.
The Art of Fire:
This book covers the fundamentals for safe, effective fire tending from hearth to ashes. Includes safe hearth setup, tools and storage, fire layouts, and extinguishing tips, as well as some cultural notes and examples of clever stoves.
Does NOT cover Rocket Mass Heaters - this is our 'everything else' book.
The Art of Fire:
PDF, 6 MB (Web format) - $8 - View Item Buy Now
PDF, 50 MB (Print format) - $9 - View Item Buy Now
Rocket Mass Heaters: superefficient woodstoves You can build (and snuggle up to) by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson, 2005.
The recommended companion for understanding and designing your own heater.
Rocket Mass Heaters Book:
29 MB PDF, second edition $15, buy now (PDF)
Hard copy $20 view item on Amazon
Third Edition $18 Buy Now (PDF)
Contact us if you'd like to purchase from us directly - questions@ErnieAndErica.info.
We put together this booklet for a survival-themed promotion. Personal, household, and cultural tips for staying warm in all weather.
Expanded from Erica's "Northern Comfort" article at hubpages.com, with more details, pictures, and references.
3 MB PDF, prints 12 letter-size pages, 144 to 300 DPI. Current version $5.
The Poor Man's Driftboat (original design by Captain Ron Wisner), approx. 20 pages. A 15-foot boat for pickup or trailer launch, built with 4 sheets of plywood and assorted small lumber.
Items purchased here are intended for personal use (except as noted). We don't mind if you show your copy to friends, or host a living-room movie night with the DVDs, but please do not share files or print additional copies except for personal use.
Please seek prior written consent for commercial or public purposes such as sharing online, advertising or running a workshop for which you charge admission, or contracting to install. (Builders who just want to work from these plans can purchase an additional copy each time they use these plans for a new project, on the honor system, if that's easier that contacting us.) Please document any changes to the original design when handing over the project to the owner. We are happy to consult on design goals, troubleshooting, or documentation for projects.
We are currently collecting a contact list of people willing and able to install heaters and ovens for clients, as well as parts fabricators and other innovators.
We accept PayPal, personal checks, cash, money orders, and well-trained firstborn children. If the links above don't work for you for any reason, please contact us at Questions@ErnieAndErica.info to get your PDF or paper copies. (If you are expecting a download link, please check your spam / bulk mail folder first.)
If you like these drawings, but want something a bit different for your situation, please contact us. We have a small selection of 'draft' plans, for projects which have not yet been proven by a full heating season of use, and if one of these fits your project we usually sell them for $20.
We can also draft your custom design,
We originally priced all our books and plans to include up to 1/2 hour of consultation time, answering questions from purchasers about both the original designs and their proposed alterations. Since then we've reduced the prices on the digital versions of most plans. If you'd like to purchase consultation time, you can either look for the higher-priced version of the identical plan, or contact us about a project-outline consultation to discuss situation, goals, and heater parameters. Prices for design consultation start around $300 *(see below for more details).
A typical project consultation goes like this:
You call or email us about your project.
We take a deposit or agree on an hourly rate. (Base rate is $300, covers the first 2 to 5 hours of consultation. Hourly rate is typically $120 per hour. Sometimes we offer a discounted rate or additional hours in exchange for thorough project documentation and permission to publish.)
We ask you a lot of questions about your building site, have you take measurements, discuss your climate and desired performance features, consider your proposed layout, and suggest a workable design for your situation. We exchange thumbnail sketches until we both like the plan.
If the outcome depends more on on-site work (such as what you may discover when you start cutting into walls, or what your insurance agent will agree to), then we usually reserve the remaining consultation hours for phone support.
If you prefer a finished, scale plan of the proposed design, we provide it as a PDF or JPG file, or paper copy. We may include builders' notes or instructions based on a similar project from our archives.
As you build, any remaining hours can be used for advice on materials, planning, troubleshooting, and other details. A design consultation may also serve as a deposit for a site visit or workshop, if mutually agreed.
Regardless of total hours, we hope you will call us with a project update in the year following our initial consultation. We recommend using the owner's manual as a logbook where you store all the details of your design, materials, and first-year observations.
You can over-rule our advice, and in some cases we will even complete detailed plans for an experimental design that we don't endorse. The ultimate decisions are yours as the owner-builder.
We do not recommend hiring us and then ignoring us, but it's your money. We give clear warnings about known problems. However, sometimes new and interesting problems first appear with no warning beyond a mild hunch.
We are not lawyers, engineers, or architects, and can only offer our personal experiences and opinions. Our experience is substantial (600+ test-bed systems, research collaboration with a wide range of experts, and dozens of owner-builder installations and consultations) and our designs are considered some of the most reliable in the field. For questions of building permits, code, or liability, and especially if you need a mass heater to be covered under your home insurance policy, you may need to hire a local, licensed building professional. We are happy to work with heater masons, architects, or engineers to ensure the project is as successful as possible, given both our rocket mass heater experience and their local expertise.
We are willing to prototype experimental designs on our test-beds, at cost of parts and labor. We reserve the right to refuse any project at our discretion. (Our occasional lack of discretion does not constitute endorsement).
To save time and money, and improve your results, visit the wood burning stove forum at the Permaculture Forums, read the book Rocket Mass Heaters, and take a look at our site planning page before we begin our consultation. All advice given through the permies.com forums is free, though we may not be able to comment on all posts during the busy season.
Parts in a typical project:
Ducting or stovepipe
Earth (clay, sand, quarry fines, rock, subsoil, fill dirt)
Perlite (or other high-temp insulation)
Hardware / fittings (cleanout cap, tap screws, tape, chalk, gasket, foil tape)
Fiber or straw for cob casings
Decorative materials (tile, mica, pigments, facing stone, stove enamels, etc)
Masonry tools (trowel or float, brick-set or cold chisels)
Tape measure, level, etc.
Barrel / Bell: We have a design contest open to the public, to create a 'better' bell for the heater. It needs to works well (support downdraft temperatures) and look beautiful. Attractive examples will be listed here, with source/ordering info.
For standard steel shipping barrels, try scrap dealers and junkyards, feed stores and commercial processors (e.g. a local maker of soap or shampoo), Craigslist, or your local Jiffy Lube (smaller grease cans, often used as shop trash cans). Steel buckets for pocket rockets can often be had at paint stores or fireplace shops.
Two more versions of the barrel: (reclaimed barrels, polished and oiled. The copper version is simply a flat sheet of copper wrapped over the steel barrel.)
Firebrick, stovepipe, through-roof fittings, and other new stove parts: Local fireplace shops and woodstove installers are great. We liked Ludeman's fireplace shop in Beaverton, OR; and AlJu in Omak, WA. It's hard to find a small fireplace shop we don't like, so far. You meet the nicest folks, who are passionate about odd things like boiler insulation.
Ducting, reclaimed brick, tile, and other recycled building parts:
the ReBuilding Center, Portland OR; Habitat for Humanity's ReStores across the USA; comparable local sites like NZ's SuperShed and the Kiwi Swap website. Hit Craigslist early and often, and don't be afraid to post in the 'Wants' section. Expect to pay for metalbestos chimney parts and other spendy-when-new items, even if only at 'scrap metal' prices. Ask scrap-metal dealers and haulers about sources, and whether you can buy from them when they get a new load.
Please feel free to recommend other sources you love.
Perlite insulation: your local garden center or building supply, or larger agricultural suppliers. Horticultural or building grade are both fine; just avoid those "enriched" with fertilizers. Try to find 4 cu ft bags, nothing smaller than 2 cu ft, for the best prices. Vermiculite is a second choice (you need twice as much of it, and it can't support weight).
Refractory insulation: We have had good results with a blanket or batt-type refractory insulation such as rock wool, kiln brick (the lightweight stuff that you can carve with wood tools), or refractory insulation (Durablanket, Duraboard). Fiberglass is not suitable for the heats involved.
Refractory insulation options can be found at fireplace shops, ceramic suppliers, a good masonry supply (these insulation materials are used to back insulated chimney liners and fireplace throats). Rock wool, one brand is "Roxul" high-temp products including a greenish-grey granite batt, is sometimes sold as building insulation (especially in Canada and bordering states in the USA).
Pottery shops like Georgie's in Portland, OR, or Clayscapes Pottery Inc. in Syracuse, NY, may have a good basic selection for kiln making, or be able to order at good prices from their catalog suppliers. If time allows, we sometimes order directly from the makers online. (Western Industrial Ceramics in Oregon and California has been very helpful in the past; there are similar Eastern manufacturers.)
Natural plaster colors, tints, and additives: Our favorite is Georgie's Ceramic Supply; they cater to hobby potters and have a lot of naturally-colored clay, extenders like grog or mica, and non-toxic clay-compatible paints for surface murals. Avoid glazes as they may be toxic, and rarely tint well if unfired. Also a great source for kiln brick, weird tools, and refractory materials.
The Green Depot has premium ingredients at premium prices; they source natural and recycled decorator materials from Oregon Clay, Ochres & Oxides, and other suppliers.
Local masonry suppliers will have concrete pigments at a fraction of the price, which are suitable for lime and clay plasters but may not be as 'naturally' sourced. Also a good bet for lime, high-grade masonry sand, and colored sand.
You can also take a suitable container to most local hardware stores and get paint pigments sold by the 'squirt' (the ochres, white, and black, they are more heat stable, but you can try other colors if you like). Ace Hardware and Do It Best stores are run by good local folks in most cases; we've had good experiences in various locations. Home Despot and Lowes are a crapshoot; you get great expert helpers, and clueless salesgerbils, and have to watch more closely for inferior products. But the do tend to have a little of everything. We prefer to go first to the oldest local hardware store we can find, they tend to be awesome, and they will stock the best and the cheapest decent version, no crap.
Hardware stores are also good for gasketing, masonry tools, tarps, a wheelbarrow, grinders or tinsnips, ducting screws, buckets, and other miscellaneous ... hardware.
Refractory ceramic insulation: You probably don't need it, but it's fun.
We have had good experiences with Western Industrial Ceramics at their Tualatin, OR location (they cheerfully do business with anyone: aerospace industrial giants, foundries, pottery studios, amateur glassblowers; and they can custom-cast refractory parts at reasonable rates.) Many of the standard materials like board, brick, and felt can also be found locally - search for suppliers under foundry, masonry, industrial, ceramic/pottery, and woodstove/fireplace. LaGrande Industrial Supply Co (foundry specialist), and Masons Supply, are two examples in Oregon. Both have treated us right when we know exactly what we need; ask for a catalog or sample if you're not sure.
Industrial suppliers generally cater to tradesmen, not retail, so expect early hours, and don't be high-maintenance about small orders if you can help it. They often stock superior masonry tools, powdered fireclay, kiln brick, fire brick, gasketing, sand, perlite, etc., sometimes at lower-than-retail prices. If they sell only to licensed contractors, you can ask a tradesman friend to pick things up and offer a percentage for their trouble.
Finally, a Magic 8 Ball bonus: AdSense. Let's see what this page's info summons online!