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Pocket Rocket Stove Portable Heater Project (PRSPHP)

12 December 2011 2 Comments

Recently I changed the living room set up. Rearranged the furniture, made a cushion for the bay window and stuff like that. I got to thinking about the fireplace and how I wish it has something that would let more heat into the room. So I began researching ovens.

I quickly got to Cob Ovens and the rocket stoves. But they were so big and in a style that would not work in our home. And really, this is the fireplace I had to work with.

I couldn’t find a rocket stove that was a heater and was small enough to use in an existing fireplace. So I figured I’d have to make one. I had a few pieces to consider as my criteria.

1. It had to be cheap. I didn’t know if it would work, and would need to disassemble it easily.

2. It had to be small enough to possibly work in the fireplace in our home. All the ones I found on the web use 55 gal. barrels. That would never work for me. My experiment is now based on the notion that one doesn’t need a big fire to get big warmth.

With that in mind I went to the hardware stores. I didn’t know what I needed, just that I would find it only if I looked. The big box stores didn’t have what I needed to find. So I went to Andersons, a sort of “we have everything” kind of place. That is where I pieced together the following supplies.

I metal seed bucket.
A 5×4 Reducer (on sale .99)
A 4×3 reducer
2 6×5 reducers
A 4 (or was it 3) inch flue
2 4 inch elbows (or are they 3 inch)

Once I had it mostly figured out I grabbed some Perailite (sp) from the garden section of the same store (~4 bucks) for a total of less than $50. I went home, and began work. In all it took me about an hour to put it all together.

Put the 4×3 on the 5×4 for height. I trimmed the rim off one of the 6x5s and dropped it over. The two 6x5s hold the perilite in.

Here are photos of the steps.

I then positioned the pieced on the lid that I needed to cut. Then I cut out the holes with metal cutters I already had.

I slid the bottom of the 5×4 into the opening to give room in the bucket to burn off the extra carbon – as is the theory – I think. After than I used Aluminum tape to put it all together, and filled in the perilite.

I then put the lid on, and notice I bent the handle so it didn’t rub the side – essentially making it portable. Extra Bonus.

Next time I hope to add more information about building the place for the fire – and I’ll correct spelling errors. This was done really quick.

So, I tested it out, and there are some big flaws in my design. I will post video, perhaps, of what it looked like, but this project has not achieved what I hoped that it would.


  • RR said:

    So, what happened? How did your design fail to achieve your goals?

  • Ian (author) said:

    Wow. Well, I think my overall design was too small and there wasn’t enough room for proper venting through the heating chamber. As a result, when I opened it up to look inside there was an extreme buildup of creosote, after the first use.

    I had hints during the trial that something was amiss with the level of smoke and draw throughout the process. This was difficult to determine because, as I understand things, if it is working properly then there should be less smoke.

    I believe that probably size does matter, eh-hem, at least in terms of a burn chamber.

    Thanks for visiting.

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