Playing With Fire

We learned about home heating during week 5 of the Shelter Series, which meant that we got to play with fire 5 days in a row! This equaled a very happy Sarah.

On Monday Max Edleson built and dismantled and rebuilt a dozen different systems for containing and controlling fire – from a circle of stones to an oven to a rocket mass heater.










The J shape of the rocket mass heater – this brick formation is inside of the barrels

We then proceeded to build a rocket mass heater inside the Boathouse. We needed two barrels for our heater, so on Tuesday morning while most of the group built up the floor where the heater would go, myself and two others burned the paint off of the recycled barrels. Perhaps this was not the healthiest thing I’ve done since I began my adventure as a natural builder, but it was certainly fun!

This beautiful image of a tree magically appeared in the bottom of the barrel…!

Over the next few days we got all of our stove pipe organized and laid out, built the brick innards of the heater, cut the barrels to fit, made batches of cob, and formed the bench. By Thursday we were able to fire the heater, and after a bit of tinkering, it worked!

It will be so nice to have the rocket mass heater in the Boathouse as we head into autumn. There will be plastering and many other finishing details to work on, and having the heater there to keep things cozy will be brilliant. (FYI, here is more information on rocket mass heater construction.)

In addition, busy little bees that we are, on Friday we whipped up a Justa griddle, just for kicks.

All together it was a splendid week, full of fire and fun!





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