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Rocket Mass Heaters:
You've been asking if we sell plans.
Well, now we do!
The following documents are based on proven projects: they have worked for their builders for at least one year.
We are happy to answer questions before or after you purchase our plans - just send them to questions@ErnieAndErica.info. A big thank-you to our first year of customers: your comments and clarifications have helped us expand these plans to include more useful features like materials and tools lists, brick-by-brick layouts, clearer measurements, and more.
Built over a concrete slab floor, this was the only heat for our Portland rental for 3 years. Small system for a converted garage, or storage area. The low, L shaped bench doubles as day-beds, or add a pull-up bench and mattress to make a heated double-bed. Photo essays show the build at: http://picasaweb.google.com/eawisner
PDF 16MB, 5 pages 11"x17", 300 DPI -- $
Bonny Convection Bench: Rocket Mass Heater, 8 inch ducting, with air channels over hardwood floor. This large system currently heats a 3-story, multi-family house in a cool coastal valley. The large day-bed in the bay window and comfortable seating bench are fitted with a redwood vent system to match existing bookshelves (not shown). Reinforcement and built-in air channels protect the existing hardwood floor while providing passive circulation of warm air to the rest of the house.
The building and maintenance of the Bonny 8" project was filmed by Calen Kennett, and we anticipate offering the documentary here when it is ready for release.
The printable documentation now available includes an example of Calen's photography, references, 2 pages of as-built drawings (plans, elevations, sections, and enlarged details), 2 pages of builders' notes including materials and clearances. Prints to 5 pages at 11"x17", PDF 26 MB, $50.
Bonny Convection Bench: Rocket Mass Heater, 8 inch Buy Now View Item
NEW: Cabin 8" RMHeater - compact 8" system over slab floor, 4' x 9' footprint on concrete slab with fieldstone facing and wooden bench/mantlepiece. Heats a 840-sf cottage in sub-alpine woodland near the Canadian border. (snow Oct to April)
PDF, 10 MB $35
(14 pages, 8.5" by 11", 300 dpi)
Cabin 8" RMHeater: Buy Now View Item
a compact little heater for a small guest room or occasional-use space. Footprint 4' by 11', with a 7' by 4' heated (twin) bed. The 6" ID ducting (5.5" by 5.5" firebox) means this heater is most suitable for a single room, or for mild climates.
Builder's notes include detail on how to make a bypass for pre-warming the ch
8 MB PDF, 6 ledger pages (11 x 17 inches), $20
Daybed 6" RMHeater: 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") $
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.
29 MB PDF, $15, from author's website at www.rocketstoves.com.
Rocket Mass Heaters Book: Buy Now (PDF)
We are currently out of paper copies. Please contact the authors directly - email 'Cob' at CobCottage.Com, or visit http://www.rocketstoves.com. Thanks! - E&E
The Art of Fire:
This book covers the fundamentals for safely setting up, laying, and lighting a fire, avoiding or controlling smoke, and tips for best results using axes, building a woodshed, etc. Plus some inspiring examples of sophisticated yet simple stoves and fireplaces, and pointers toward some of the beautiful and terrifying rituals and religious observances that may accompany this ancient art. Does NOT cover Rocket Mass Heaters - this is our 'everything else' book.
The 'Print Format' version offers a higher resolution for detailed viewing or magazine-quality printing.
The 'Web Format' version offers a smaller download size, and the more complete online product description. Take a look at the 'Web Format' version for sample pages and general details before purchasing either item.
The Art of Fire:
PDF, 6 MB (Web format) - $8 - View Item Buy Now
PDF, 50 MB (Print format) - $9 - View Item Buy Now
(separate printable cover, 14 MB, available for $0.50 for your printing convenience.)
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.
The Fine Print:
These condensed images are a sample page only. Paying customers download a high-resolution (300 dpi or better) printable document, with page numbers and print size as described above. The largest standard format we offer is 11"x17" for ease of local printing; plans can be enlarged further by suitable printers.
You may print multiple copies from the PDF originals as needed for personal use. (For example, a muddy copy on the building site and a clean one for your owner's manual or permit application), and you are welcome to share these printed copies with friends. Please get our prior written consent for commercial or public purposes such as sharing online, running a paying workshop, or contracting to install. We are currently training potential contractors, and open to working with others interested in installation or parts fabrication.
You can request a paper copy instead, by phone or email. Please allow about one business week for handling. Printing, shipping, and handling comes to about $8-10 per document. We will ship anywhere, but most people prefer to print their own copies. Payment can be by any of the methods below.
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.
When you buy any design drawing from us, we include about 1/2 hour of email or phone consulting in case you have any questions. Photo galleries of similar projects are available on the web, free of charge. We sell only proven designs; these are projects that have been installed and worked for at least one year on a previous site.
If you like these drawings, we can also draft your custom design to scale in this style. Prices for custom drawings, with 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. (Typically starts around $300.)
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 advise you on a workable design for your situation.
We exchange thumbnail sketches until we both like the design.
If you need a scale drawing for building planning, we provide it as a PDF or JPG file, or paper copy. Some owners prefer to draw or CAD their own designs, or choose a standard plan from our gallery, and use our consultation time for advice only.
As you build, we continue to be available for advice on materials, planning, and other details; in some cases, your design consultation serves as a deposit to schedule a site visit or workshop for help with the installation.
After you are done, we continue to be available throughout the following year, as you operate and maintain your new creation. If needed, we help troubleshoot performance of experimental designs. We recommend, and can provide templates for, an owner's manual and logbook where you fill in the details of your designs, materials, and first-year observations.
You can over-rule our advice and have us draw a scale plan for an experimental design; the ultimate decisions are yours as the owner-builder. In some cases, we have worked for owners at hourly or day-rates when we could not endorse their preferred design, or refused to consult further on a project we considered too dangerous. (Pressurized rocket water-heater systems are a prime example.)
We do not recommend hiring us and then ignoring us, but it's your money. 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 we do tend to get results. We are not lawyers, engineers, or architects, and can only offer our personal experiences and opinions. This especially applies to questions of building permitting, insurance, or liability. If you want an insurable mass heater, you may need to hire a licensed building professional as well. Our advice can save you a substantial amount of their time, and yours.
We are willing to prototype most experimental designs on our test-beds, prices vary according to costs of parts and labor. We reserve the right to refuse any project at our discretion.
To save time and money, and improve your results, visit the wood burning stove forum at the Permaculture Forums, and read the book Rocket Mass Heaters, before we begin our consultation.
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, horticultural or building grade are both fine. Try to find 4 cu ft bags, or at least nothing smaller than 2 cu ft. Vermiculite is a second choice (you need twice as much of it, and it can't support weight). Rock wool, kiln brick (the lightweight stuff that you can carve with wood tools), or refractory insulation (Durablanket, Duraboard) are all useable as well.
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.
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