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Monthly Archives: October 2019

8 shorts from the end-cuts bin at Wasatch Steel, cut on my Evolution metal miter saw and welded up. This bench holds the Mass Heater from the previous post at the correct height to align stovepipe from the J-Stove.
All this pretty metal will be under the Mass Heater.
Spray-painted in “Oiled Bronze”
The rear ladder is a guard for the J-Stove, as I’ll store lengths of wood under the bench.
Each leg has a large nut welded within, and a bolt to adjust height to align with the J-Stove vent pipe.
E spotted 3 boxes of this stone veneer at 1/8 price.
Enough to cover three of the sides (short ends and this long side), all but the side facing the wall. I’ll cover the top with native flagstone.

Hooray for the learning curve. This iteration of a mass heater weighs in at just over 100lbs, and took a day to create.

simplicity. Mold form is a plaster hardy-backer board that is an aspect of the form, rather than the previous pop-away mold form. An external frame holds the thin board in place and will absorb the liquid pressure against the form. The seams are sealed with drywall paste.
The stovepipe ends are added in with AL tape and drywall paste on the bottom, and a salvaged board with a routed hole holds the top pipe in-situ. AL vent pipe taped together makes an “S” in the stove, using two straight flexi pipe connected to the stove pipe ends, the straight flexis meet at a short flexi forming the bottom curve of the S.
The drywall screws poking into the interior will help anchor the walls and the aircrete. This is my maximum size possible with a 3’x5′ panel; 14″ x 36 “floor, 13″ x 14″ front/back, 16″ x 36” sides.
Two days of curing in 75 degree temps, an inch or two of shrinkage at the top- and so I poured an un-airated concrete & perlite backfilled with cured aircrete “stones” from the demo’d mass. This will make a nice hard top for the form, and I may grind it flat for a reveal of the red aircrete backfill stone and white bits of volcanic perlite.
Rolled up in the old rubber pond liner to retain moisture in the desert wind, and build heat for a better cure. This form I can easily move into the studio for the weekend snowstorm, and has about 1/4 of the footprint and 1/3 the weight of the demo’d mass- so the trip to the ranch will be easy. Now I just have to weld up the little bench it will sit on to align with the J-Stove.
After a week of curing. At least 300lbs. The mold is unscrewed and pops away clean. Some settling and a bit of layer separation at the bottom where I had technical issues with the first few mixes and they collapsed as they cured. A lot more red dye in those first mixes.
I back poured some collapsed areas with quickrete/perlite- the gray area…
The underside is the bench seat, and it came out smooth and strong.
The bench was an easy weight reduction of 40lbs. The mesh caused issues of a hollowed out collapse in the body of the form. It deflected the mix in a few other areas as well.
And the narrow bit of wall sawzalled off like styrofoam (embedded with rebar). Still over 200lbs. WTF? you might ask. Well; too big is too big, and a fail is a fail.
I ripped the top layer of aircrete & mess away without too much trouble, exposing another layer of solid concrete back-pour into a big gap.
Salvage the expensive bits. This bit of stovepipe is worth more than the all the concrete.
Sawzall weight reduction so I can expose the bottom. The venting system was flawless.
Easily tipped on its side now, this would have been the top.
Stovepipe salvage complete.
The is the Gorn’s stash of throwing boulders for lobbing at Captain Kirk.
All tidied up for round two.

First, lets remember the J-Stove / Rocket Stove project: https://youtu.be/V2q4g-5P8Js

To capture the heat from the J-Stove, a secondary stove pipe connects into a separate mass, the pipe then exits the mass and rejoins the main J-Stove stove pipe to flow out the chimney. This is the mass form I designed and made. It will warm to a few hundred degrees durning a 40 minute burn of the J-Stove and radiate heat for 8 to 12 hours.

The side vent of the stove fits into the hole pictured below- the mass form is upside down and will have a welded metal platform to align it with the side vent.

This is the mass heater form / mold, inverted for pouring in the mass. It will have stove pipe connections and tubing added, along with rebar and expanded metal to add strength to the mass of aircrete (foamed concrete). This form provides a large mass and a bench for warm seating.
The holes are where the tubing will enter and exit, and the L shape is the bench. The form is made of one 4×8 sheet of Laminated 3/4″ MDF. It is screwed together, then hot glued, then silicone sealed along all edges and some exposed MDF was taped over as well to create a water tight form that could hold hundreds of pounds of aerated concrete.
The fins under the seating ledge provide support for the concrete weight it will bear.
It has to live through the pour, holding hundreds of pounds of liquid concrete, then after the concrete cures it has to be able to come apart and knock free of the internal mass.
The form had to wait a bit on the order of two 6″ long sections of 4″ diameter double-wall pellet stove vent that fit into the enter/exit holes. I thought I had the right pieces already…then tape on the flex tubing and add in a rebar cage with expanded metal to carry heat through the mass.
Another layer of expanded metal is added to bolster the seating platform (remember, the form is upside down / inverted for pouring.
All connections have to be secured from the outside, and water tight.
Hats off to the Honey-Do Carpenter for the aircrete cannon and aircrete recipe- just add warm water and a bit of shampoo (and my air compressor) for foam too thick to shave with. Then I use a “barber-pole” drill bit to lift the concrete mix from the bottom of the bucket into the foam laid over it, until all the concrete is suspended in the foam. It seems impossible, but it works.
The aircrete mixing station: 17 five gallon buckets will fill the form- at about 1/3 the weight of concrete. So about 300lbs, should have been 275 but the first three buckets were a bit off. Nora is next to the drill with the concrete mixer attached (black), the silver spiral between Nora and the drill is what I used to blend the concrete into the foam.
The main mass of the form is more than half full. I’m using a red dye in the aircrete.
This is all very tiring, and I’m only half convinced it will work- the form could blow out at the sides/bottom, the aircrete might not set, and even if it does the thing is a lot more massive than I had conceived.
4 hours after the pour is finished and not even beginning to cure out.
I wake up with a dread that the form has popped overnight, and the concrete never set, and it all flooded into the pond and killed all the fish and ruined the pump and waterfall. Now, 5 days later, and after 3 nights below freezing wearing a foam cap, it is solid and curing toward a respectable hardness.

I’m letting it cure into next week. There has been some small shrinkage/settling that will need another round of pouring- I may use a fast setting concrete to make a stronger platform for the mass, then I will remove the form. If all that is successful, I’m going to cut it down in size quite a bit. This is designed as the ideal form to have at the ranch that can fit into the back of the pickup, but it is too heavy to move without at least two more strong guys and a bit much for a 500 mile trip in the back of the little pickup. I’ll remove the bench and bevel an angle into the body of the mass, dropping around 100lbs. If all that works out, it will travel up to the ranch sometime this fall for installation and testing.