Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stoking the fires...

Ok, so, new year new adventures. We haven't posted much on this for a while but that is going to change.
By way of catch up Lisa is just about done with classes for her doctorate and getting started on her dissertation process (Hmm probable future topic there) and doing lots of knitting, some quilting and music stuff for church. As for Patrick, ward clerk (Again!) and two weeks later I got two new assistant clerks and a whole new bishopric to deal with (fun!) and within the last month a new elders quorum  president, a new stake presidency, and new auxiliary sectaries (even more fun! (anybody want to guess what 'fun!' means?)). I'm also writing, and working on setting up our own business (fun!) and my workshop (fun! (yes that word can mean a couple of things and I mean at least three of them)).

So getting on to at least one definition of fun, and our adventure of the day... direct from my workshop rocket stoves!

Part of the shop is outside in an unheated (except for my collection of metal working torches) and unpowered (except for my portable generator) shed, so, I could use an additional heat source. They can also be useful for camping and power outages so I thought I'd give it a shot.

This is my Mark I Rocket Stove scrapped together from materials we had around the house. I have a few doubts about it, but it was essentially free except my labor and is pretty typical of most of the designs I've seen out there.

here's the top view and a second one showing the lining.

the lining helps with the efficiency (I'll explain in a minute) and provides a mass that will slowly release heat to heat the area.

This is the front view showing the fuel loading port and the air inlet.

 The theory is that with the air coming at the bottom and coming out the top provides a strong air flow. Once the lining of the chamber heats up the combination of the air and increased heat  results in better combustion meaning even higher temperatures, more efficient use of fuel and less smoke (all things that sound good to me!). The theory is pretty sound but will this thing work?

Here we are with a load of sticks.
This shows my number one concern. Loading from the side can be fiddly. I have to pay attention and push the sticks and other bio mass into the chamber. You need to watch your fire anyway, but as a work shop item I'd rather spend as much time as I can working and less fire tending. This could work for camping and cooking where paying attention to it and what is heating on it is the main point.

And the results of the first fire tests.

Test one: just sticks. Pain in the butt to start didn't really burn.

Test two: added some paper to the chamber to start. Three matches in and it still didn't want to run... so

Test three: this time I'm taking no chances in firing up! I broke out a serious fire starter
With a little help from my plumbers torch it caught and I got to see the start of how a rocket stove should really work. I got a good air flow coming in the bottom and out the top. You could really see the airflow in the fire and it started picking up. Then I met the next problem... between the rising air jet and a helpful burst of Idaho wind the paper ball I had put in jumped out and headed into the yard!

So the results of this test... It looks like it will really work, but I'm concerned about the fuel loading, there is a trick to lighting it, and I'd rather do the next test on a calm day...

To be continued...

Upcoming posts will include the test firing of the Mark II Rocket Stove which is heavier do to different materials, cost a whopping four bucks and addresses my fuel loading concerns (and maybe even some lighting issues!). A head to head Mark I v Mark II fire fest and the Mark 1.5 which is a Mark I modification I thought of today.

There will also be serious philosophical, technical and scientific questions such as: Is stamping a 'crafty' activity for the unskilled, a legitimate art form or serious shop craft?

and... what the heck does this have to do with it?????? (hint: if you can figure out what this is you know my side(s?) on the stamping debate...)

You can probably still expect some recipes and fiber arts stuff but there are many other adventures and "burning topics" ahead.

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