Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rocket Stove II:

This has been one of the best projects I've ever pulled off, and everyone in Hawaii needs one of these.

Phase two: Got rained out from work today so I installed the magic. On boats with wood stoves I faced the issue that it was often a pain in the butt to get little fires started and drawing, and in a small space dealing with a cold stack not drawing was an exercise in desperation, especially when it was near freezing and the wind blowing 50 knots. So, eventually, I worked through installing a set of gas jets that would allow the woodstove to heat and ignite on clean propane, which used very little gas to get going, and then once hot the solid fuel took over. You didn't need to spend an hour lighting a fire to make a pot of tea, or heat the cabin up--you simply threw on the gas and let 'er rip. This would have been expensive and fuel intensive IF you didn't have a pile of driftwood in the cockpit, which you then stuck into the already hot stove. Tending a fire is no trouble. Lighting it can be a pain in the butt. So, the attempt was to live minimally but still save mostly modern convenience.

The gas eliminates the smoky start-up as well. I hate wood smoke, for I've done way too much camping past the point it was fun and exciting, so this is important to me.

So, I did the same thing with the rocket stove. Rather than piddle lighting sticks I throw the gas to it and I've got tea in 10 minutes, and a hot stove for pancakes. If I want to simmer all day, I'll run guava and sticks.

This is kind of thinking we need more of as we cross the hump from the modern world to the post-modern minimalist one. Simple near stone age reliability and costs with near modern turnkey functionality so you can still have time to go to work while you actually have a job.

This stove will be the heart of my home. There's no question it will do all the cooking, heat my hot water tanks and provide a very high level of comfort while burning sticks. This too, is a godsend.

I'll probably weld some 1/4 by 1 angle iron to the bottom the griddle top to keep the plate from warping up when it gets hot, but if you're less type A than me you'll likely not bother.

Undoubtedly the best steak you've ever eaten will be cooked on the top of this bugger.


Anonymous said...

Propane... a blessing in disguise.

As I've said elsewhere, I can get 100 lbs of poi cooked off about $3.00 bucks worth of propane.

I guess depending on what your cooking and how you store stuff will really make a difference.

Now where is your Rocket Freezer?

bott said...


subgenius said...

I second the bitchin'

Wish I'd thought of that...

subgenius said...

Oh - I've been meaning to post this for a while...

For anyone who hasn't heard of them they do classic books and pamphlets on things like how to build a copper oxide solar cell from basic parts, stirling engines, wind generators, radios, rifle barrels etc etc.

Have a look and get their free catalog. They are a hidden gem.

RadioRay said...

Jay -

This is very cool. I could almost (but not quite) see one of these going in at the little family marina I an presently in. Make BBQ fuel scarce and it would be no problem making that happen, because similarly to your location, 'bio-mass' is plentiful in rural , coastal Virginia.

So - you cna EAT - now for the IMPORTANT bit: GIN, my good fellow. When do you beging the private manufacture of gin?

ha ha

I man's gotta have priorities, you know!

>RadioRay ..._ ._
s/v Milenka
Weems, Virginia