By Jeff Ruppert
For the technical geeks out there the Rocket Stove instills enough inspiration to make us want to build a structure just to house one of these things. There are Facebook groups and websites devoted to the Rocket Stove by enthusiasts giving them nearly cult status. The variations of Rocket Stoves are truly amazing.
And to make those of us who can’t get enough of a good thing Cob Cottage Company has published a Third Edition of Rocket Mass Heaters. While the name remains the same as the second edition, there are plenty of new nuggets here, and more color pictures.
The phrase “mass heater” is used as the title of the last two editions because the most useful version of rocket stoves are buried in a shed-load of thermal mass in the form of cob, masonry, or whatever may be lying around the jobsite with high mass characteristics. Without large amounts of mass to capture and store the heat generated by one of these little monsters you end up with something like a regular wood stove where the heat is quickly dissipated into the room and out the flue.
The content of this new book is mostly the same as the previous version, but it is easy to see where years of experience are refining the thought process when planning a rocket mass heater. While many of the diagrams are from the original publication, the layout of information is better. Text and section formatting is cleaner and more spacious, probably contributing to the increase in pages from 100 to 121. There are nice spaces next to diagrams for the note-takers out there.
As one would expect, the Research Needed and Experiments and Case Studies sections have been updated. The Case Studies section alone is enough to literally fuel ones imagination with great color images of new ideas and useful tips.
As with the first two editions, you will not be disappointed. It is our opinion that all new homes in heating climates should incorporate either a traditional masonry heater or rocket mass heater (where allowed by regulation and with a supply of wood available) in place of the typical wood stove. They reduce both the consumption of wood and emissions to the point where your impact to the surrounding area is greatly reduced in comparison.
The Rocket Mass Heater, Third Edition (ISBN-13: 879-0-9663738-4-4, ISBN-10: 0-9663738-4-7) is available for $20 USD (softcover) directly from Cob Cottage Company on their website at www.rocketstoves.com or by mail at box 942 Coquille, OR 97423. (541) 396-1825. The PDF version is also available on their website for $18.