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.

I found this armoire for free, just a few blocks away. It had seem some hard use, but two days of Danger tinkering and she is ready to travel to the Montana ranch (she’ll nearly fill the bed of the truck).

3 Part Armoire. Mirrored Door. The biggest triage was making new interlocking boards between the drawer section and the closet section. Simple in theory, but it needs to align perfectly so when they seat together they seal tight. I had to wait for E to come home to help lift the closet on and off to set the pieces.
Steel wool carrying beeswax with orange-oil loosened black grime and paint splatter. It wiped away with a sacrificial microfiber towel cut into sections for degrees of yutz.
Both inlay panels are intact and cleaned up nicely.
Fleur de Inlay with flaming grail.
The door hardware is intact. Twist the hoop and now the latch catches and releases. I have an old skeleton key at the ranch that will likely fit the lock.
The center rear panel is new birch, still debating whether to stain it. The side panels just needed their tops and bottoms trimmed to fit and lots of fresh staples. A piece of oak is just behind the bottom edge of the door, securing the wall to the floor. The weight and pressure of the door had shattered the old bit of wood holding things together there. It was a few hours of fiddling to get that one detail to come together.
Also added in; a clothes hanger rod. This took some new supports for the walls.
The bottom of the drawer needed reattaching, and a side wall dovetail connecting to the face board had split out and needed glue with a long clamp overnight. The lateral runner bars needed resetting, and I added a back bumper strip to act as a stop.
Last week’s triage was repainting a portion of the bathroom door. First, removal of hardware.
I stripped the door down to the wood, removing old stinky lead paint. Then repainted and reassembled and rehung. This was necessary after using Costco’s mild bleach cleaning wipes around the door handle for a few years- it melted the binders in the paint.
There is a blizzard at the ranch, and here it will drop into the 30’s with rain and wind- so we moved all the deck plants back into the sunroom. The fig tree is blocking half the room, and I can hardly open the door. The sliding glass door is completely blocked as well. Things got big this summer!
The pair is cleaned and waxed.

All welds, road rash & dings, car paint & rubber bumper transfer have been turned back to fish skin and stream stones with grasses.

After adding in new patina at welds and dings, the sculpture is left to warm in the sun. Once toasty, I paint on a layer of clear wax, let it cool, and buff it off. Then warm it in the sun again. This view shows the rear fin’s weld to the hoop, and the front fin’s weld to a stream stone.
Another view of the front fin connected to a stream stone. A tan stone behind the fin is making it a bit visually confusing.
The rear fin from the opposite side. This weld is the only connection to this stream hoop, so it is hefty all the way around.
This fin had been ripped nearly off, and was clapped against the fin on the other side.
The third main anchor weld is the fin connection to the front hoop. A section of the stainless pipe is visible under the rear hoop, it’s weird angle shows the force of the impact. It will be cut away and replaced.
Happy to be clean and waxed, the pair will return to the studio to wait next to their stainless steel poles.
The knocked apart pair finally were released for me to reassemble.
They had some boo-boos.
And they had some ouchies.
Magical salmon glow underlays all fish welds.
There were three broken welds that joined the two fish. One.
Two.
Three.
The fish are tied down to my new hand truck, awaiting patination fix.
Swimmingly is how they are doing.
This is a recurring nightmare for a dented bumper somewhere out there.
And you may find yourself, in another part of the world.
Into the blue again; Into silent water.
Under the rocks and stones; There is water underground.
Water dissolving, and water removing; There is water at the bottom of the ocean; Under the water, carry the water; Remove the water at the bottom to the ocean!; Water dissolving, and water removing;
And you may ask yourself; “Well, how did I get here?”
And you might find yourself, living in a shotgun shack.
And you might find yourself in beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.
And you may tell yourself; This is not my beautiful house; And you may tell yourself; This is not my beautiful wife;
And you may ask yourself; “Where does that highway go to?”
Letting the days go by; Water flowing underground.
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down.
And you may ask yourself; How do I work this?
Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.
Letting the days go by (same as it ever was)
And you may find yourself; Behind the wheel of a large automobile.
And you might ask yourself; Am I right, or am I wrong?
And you might say to yourself;
“My God! What have I done?”
Time isn’t holding up
And time isn’t after us
And here the twister comes
Here comes the twister
Look where my hand was
And you might ask yourself; “What is that beautiful house?”
< Talking Heads >
And you may ask yourself; “Where is that large automobile?”
Same as it ever was.
Once in a lifetime; Let the water hold me down
Same as it ever was.
Into the blue again after the money’s gone; Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground.
My 1980’s mental soundscape pulled out David Byrne for the lyric through the blogpost.
Riptide apex at sunset on the beach front.
Lightning strikes ocean @ “Wrong night for the drug drop”.
Rain and thunder at the riptide.

The mustang has been in her stall all summer as I slowly worked through removing all her layers of grime. First a hot wash with dish soap to strip her of wax; then a traditional clay-bar polish (I guarantee this was the first time ever for this step- wow. so. much. yutz. and blue paint); then a hot foam as lubrication for the new Mother’s “clay” micro-cutting pad- again, wow. even. more. yutz; then it was time for the pneumatic polisher. I decided I would not attempt to use cutting fluid or a cutting pad, as the 45 year old repaint from some archaic shop in Great Falls, Montana is a question mark regarding thickness and stability. Pros have a thousand dollar meter to read how thick the paint/clear coat is, so they know whether to cut or just polish. I decided I could live with some scratches and swirls vs creating a real disaster, and went with a microfiber polishing pad and polishing fluid. For a minute I thought of using cutting fluid with the polish pad, but decided to just try out the polish/polish first. Dead clear-coat and blue paint loaded the pad really quickly. No matter how many pros tell you that seeing the paint load up the pad is normal on an old car, it is a bit nerve wracking. I had to stop every cubit of surface and blow out the pad- it would create a cloud of debris (I wore a particle mask!).

Today I began the final step: ceramic coat (Avalon King). I completed the hood and the trunk, or all the upward facing surfaces. I hope to complete the rest tomorrow morning. The old girl really pulls down a lot of product, and requires a long fussy hand buffing. The results were worth it. I rolled her back into the garage for a “dust-free” environment for the first two hours of cure, then rolled her back out into full sun for an hour or so of UV fix for the ceramic. The day climbed from 80-85, then I pushed her back in the stable as the real heat came on.

Rear 3/4 view.
Trunk from driver’s side rear.
Closer view, trunk from driver’s side rear.
Trunk skinscape.
Trunk and surround, from passenger side looking back.
Trunk midline at hinge seam.
Trunk, passenger side sparkles.
Hood, front view.
Hood, from passenger side looking forward.
Closer view, passenger side Hood.
Driver’s side, front quarter panel and hood. sparkles.
Driver’s side hood. Universe.
Almost full view from high perspective, shot while balancing on narrow truck bumper.

The trout are all finished out. When last we saw them, they were undergoing reconstructive surgery from their car attack. Since then I set a new cold patina to etch and seal the naked bronze, then went about color matching. They are all dolled up with patina renewed, and the entire form cleaned and waxed. When their sister pair is released from police evidence, I’ll finish out that set, then add new stainless steel mounting poles to both sets.

The fishies are ready for inspection: welded, chased, color matched.
Feeling swimmingly.
Reconstructive surgery was successful!
A view of the opposite side.
This was the side with the long dent that I pounded out from the inside.
There are two tiny perfect triangles stamped low in his brow, cool scars he wanted to keep, cuz he’s a tough guy who’s lived a rough and tumble life; fought a car and won.
This hoop belongs to the pair still in police holding. The near side had been bent toward us, ripping the metal open on the inside. I bent it back into place with a come-along, then welded, chased, and color matched it.
Feelin’ streamy. The bronze spot (with grasses covering it from above) is where the fish mounts via weld.