It seems rocket stoves are as much part of the natural building vernacular as glass bottles in cob walls: de rigeur for any self-respecting stomper-of-mud, stacker-of-straw and fashioner-of-eccentric-curves. Being innately somewhat contrary and suspicious of fads and fashions, even ones I’m participating in, this fact alone would usually send me running in the opposite direction. But reading about rocket stoves, I was attracted by their low tech simplicity, their apparent ease of construction, how they lend themselves to self-build projects, how they can be made from junk and be fueled with the small branches and sticks that are no more than kindling for more conventional wood-burning stoves, and how efficient a burn they can achieve. So they were penciled in firmly for the buildings here – for cooking and heating water – pretty much from the start.
But theory is one thing: practice another. With a big push on the main building planned for this year, it was time to start experimenting – constructing different configurations of firebricks and clay and stuff and firing it all up to see what works and what doesn’t.