New Barrel for Rocket Mass Heater/Forge

I got a new barrel for my Rocket Mass Heater/Forge (RMH/F) from my neighbor. The new barrel is over 10 times bigger then the old one. This should give me a performance improvement.

The current barrel is too small to work, really. There is no room for the insulated heat riser they need to work. I folded up a metal sign to use for my heat riser. I have to cheat it by putting a pair of inline-duct blowers at the far end of the heater. This forces the draft to work in the direction I want it. Works well for the forge, it sucks all the smoke out of the building, not so good for a hot fire, I have to keep the fire a bit held back or I overheat the blowers.

There is a bit of math that is required to build one of these. Not too much though. Area of a circle is pi time the square of the duct diameter, all divided by 4.

I am using 6″ ductwork as that’s what I got for free on freecycle. 8″ would probably work better – that extra 2 inches gives me twice the air volume, but, I don’t have it. This gives me a cross sectional area of 28.2 inches. I want to keep this 28 square inches minimum throughout the length of the system. Especially critical are the areas around the burn tunnel. You can get bigger than this in places, such as with the burn barrel, but everything up to the burn barrel had better be pretty close to 28 inches or this thing will smoke.

The space between the top of the heat riser and the burn barrel is one of the few spaces where you can ‘tweak’. I guess going smaller will actually make the heater sound more rockety. I am going to try to maintain my 28 square inches. The circumference of my 6″ burn tunnel is 18.8 inches. So I need to gap the top of the heat riser from the inside of the barrel an inch and a half.

This is primarily a forge, so that means I need to forgo the burn tunnel. However, I can lay a dozen bricks or so and make a quick, loose burn tunnel for the times I am wanting to heat the shop to do woodworking, or some other project.

I want to be able to ‘peel back’ a few of the ‘layers’ so to speak, so I can show people how these things work. The barrel I got is conducive to such abuse. It has a lid with a bolt-tightened band to hold it on. I will make it so I can take the outer barrel off so I can show people the insulated heat riser inside.

So, All I have to do is cut two 6 inch holes in the barrel lid, balance the lid upside dine precariously on some uneven brick, and then somehow sling the barrel up over the top of the heat riser which tops out near 6 foot off the floor.

I have a hunch I won’t be taking the barrel off for show and tell all that often..

1000 posts!

A big milestone, that’s for sure, 1000 posts. Granted, this is cheating a little, as it’s counting the twitter summaries as posts, but still…. 1000 posts! I only have 6 ‘drafts’ that are partially completed, so this post could have come a bit sooner.

I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now. http://mike.creuzer.com/2006/01/blogging-just-a-fad.html
I still have that same computer from way back when (it’s now sitting on top of the fridge in the kitchen – best place ever for a computer). Google Pack has recently been sunsetted. I still use Picasa, but how I get photos into it is totally different, between an eye-fi card and my android phones syncing to it automatically.

I am no longer using blogger, but wordpress now. I’ve written my own wordpress plugin.

With so much changing, so much is still the same. I am still making my own aquarium gear – granted with a bit more to it now with the aquaponics aspect.

1000 posts! Crazy!

What would you want to see me blog about more? Less?.

Isabella has a barn, e-i-e-i-o

Sing with me!

Good thing my carpentry is better than my singing.

Today I didn’t get around to any blacksmithing, but I think I have a pretty good excuse!

Bella inspecting the new barn. She was asking if I had pulled the proper permits
Bella inspecting the new barn. She was asking if I had pulled the proper permits

My pallet started looking like a barn today.

The barn and the tools to make it
The barn and the tools to make it

I kicked around the plexi roof and after a bit of trial fitting, decided it would work quite well. I started by cutting the lower sections of the roof and worked out a frame to hold them. The fame has a slot to hold the plexi. Once painted, I will silicone the plexi into the frame to keep it from popping out. The frame is also notched to fit over the sides. This will help keep the wood dry so it won’t disintegrate in the weather.

Set up to cut plexi on the table saw. It slides on the table and roller stands.
Set up to cut plexi on the table saw. It slides on the table and roller stands.
Thin slot for the plexi, thick slot for the wood.
Thin slot for the plexi, thick slot for the wood.
Notch so the upper plexi overlaps the lower plexi making a roof that will shed water
Notch so the upper plexi overlaps the lower plexi making a roof that will shed water
The lower section of plexi roof installed
The lower section of plexi roof installed
The whole roof installed
The whole roof installed

I figured out how I am going to do the door. I will make a slider door. Well, two actually, as I am going to split the door so it’s more symetrical. I will put two metal rails on the toy barn, and 2 hoops per door to hook over the rails. Think shower curtain.

I actually broke down and spent money on this project. I bought 2 gallons of barn paint for $15 each. One red, one white.

How perfect! Barn paint - it was the cheapest exterior paint I saw too.
How perfect! Barn paint - it was the cheapest exterior paint I saw too.
The outside getting painted, the front removed for cutting a door.
The outside getting painted, the front removed for cutting a door.
Door cut, front painted.
Door cut, front painted.
The outside is basically done. Just needs some trim & door painted and added yet
The outside is basically done. Just needs some trim & door painted and added yet

The neighbor brought over a bit of carpet. How plush! A carpeted play house.

Clear toy barn roof
Clear toy barn roof
View from inside the play barn through the 'glass' roof
View from inside the play barn through the ‘glass’ roof

So the things left to do:

  • Create a ridge to stop the plexi roof from sagging
  • Paint the interior
  • lay carpet
  • make a bench/work table along the back wall
  • make the door
  • make the door slide rails
  • trim the outside
  • paint the outside trim
  • maybe make some blacksmithed corner brackets for looks
  • make a wood shed on each side – this will ‘squat’ the barn visually so it’s not so tall looking.
  • make a silo – it would hold the coal for blacksmithing.
  • make a mini fenced area for the pretend farm animals.

.

My first try at blacksmithing

Today I started my hand at blacksmithing. A friend came over and we pretended we knew what we where doing. It was an absolute blast!

We used up two 10 lbs bags of charcoal, and made a railroad spike knife, a bit of a trivet, and some coat hooks. I only got burned maybe 3-4 times and only have one bad blister raised on the back of my hand at the moment.

The forge is made out of an old burnt out gas grill that I lined with some bricks. I used a leaf blower as the forge blower. The anvil is some random scrap of busted up metal casting that we made a post for. The anvil could be a good bit better, but it worked well enough for our first attempt.

We even cooked our steak lunch on the forge fire – I figured it was already lit and hot, so why not!.

Recycled pallet composter

My wife started raking leaves in the back yard today. I figured that means I ought to make the composter I’ve been talking about making for a while now. I’ve accumulated 3 regular pallets and one long ‘double’ pallet in the last year.

Recycling can full of yard gatherings ready to be put in the compost pile
Recycling can full of yard gatherings ready to be put in the compost pile

This is also a chance to use my tools. I love my tools.

Hatchet and mallet, hammer and saw, air nailers and compressor. The whole gamut of tool tech!
Hatchet and mallet, hammer and saw, air nailers and compressor. The whole gamut of tool tech!

I ‘decked’ the pallet that will face the yard with some scrap wood from a shipping crate I took apart for lumber. The scrap boards where too wide for some of the gaps so I split a bit off with a hatchet – no cutting these nail ridden scraps!

Filling in the gaps
Filling in the gaps
I used the hatchet to split scrap boards to fill the gaps that where too narrow
I used the hatchet to split scrap boards to fill the gaps that where too narrow

 

I put it together behind the garage so its out of the way visually yet easy to get to.

 

Trying to make it look nice-ish....
Trying to make it look nice-ish....
come around and it kinda looks a bit worse
come around and it kinda looks a bit worse
That is a huge compost bin!
That is a huge compost bin!

 

I still need to face it and add more slats on the inside so the compost won’t fall out.

 

A full garbage can didn't make a dent!
A full garbage can didn't make a dent!

 

So maybe this weekend I will be finishing this off. Not sure if I will put posts in front and slide the boards down in front of the pallets or maybe put nailers on the face and then some inside and slide the boards inside..