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The Chicagoland Permaculture Meetup Builds a Rocket Stove

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This Labor Day weekend the Chicagoland Permaculture Meetup traveled to Woodstock, IL to build a rocket stove. Here’s a time lapse video I made of what went on the first day. 

In case you it went by too fast for you in the video or you, I’ve pulled out some of the pictures from the video and posted them below.

Here’s a picture of the inner structure of the stove. That silver tube has a piece of black stovepipe inside it. In between the black and silver pipes it’s packed with a mixture of perlite and clay slip, which acts as an insulator and focuses the heat to help the stove burn cleaner. That insulated tube is the heart of the rocket stove; it creates the draw and is what makes it “rocket”. The fire is built in the gap in the bricks below.  
After we had built and tested the inner workings of the stove we built up a platform for the barrel to sit on. We sealed the cracks with a mixture of clay and sand.   
The exhaust from the silver tube hits the top of the barrel, cools down and flows out the back of the stove. You can see the exhaust pipe just in front of the left shoulder of the gentleman seated in front of the fire.
Here is the stove the second day. The exhaust makes a sharp bend to the right down the length of the box, and then curves back around to exit near where it enters.
The exhaust was then covered with pea gravel and stones. The mass in the box will act like a thermal battery, storing the heat from the fire. We also covered the barrel with cob, a mixture of straw, sand and clay, which insulates the barrel and helps transfer more of the heat to the mass.




8 thoughts on “The Chicagoland Permaculture Meetup Builds a Rocket Stove”

  1. Nice!!

    I’d like to know where you got the barrel for the outside. Is it stainless steel? Is it real heavy guage? The steel barrels we use for burning barrels only last about two years.

    Looks like you will be building a room around the stove, huh?

    1. Seth got the barrel from a friend. I think it used to have cutting oil in it? I’m not sure about the specs on it. I do wish we would have burned off the paint, but it was a last minute find and we were burnin’ to get the stove together.

      We actually built it in a gazebo, so it probably won’t ever get any walls. It’s on a pond where folks ice skate a lot. We thought it would be a nice place to rest and warm up.

      1. Now that is a sweet use of the rocket stove!

        I wonder if there are any groups looking into combining the rocket stove design and the pellet stoves concept of constant feed of pelletized wood – now that would be a heating system! A guy with a shop could pretty easily set up a spring or weight driven worm gear – by passing the need for a grid connection.

        The one disadvantage of the rocket stove that I have seen is the methods of stoking it with small sticks. It is ideal for mild climates were you just need to take the edge off the cold. How does is work in a 20 below setting? We use heavy chunks in our standard wood stove to keep us warm all night.

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