16 Brick Rocket Stove

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rocket-stove-brickWhile much of the US is covered in forests, that doesn’t mean that you can count on readily available firewood during a crisis. Hoarding, over-harvesting, and simple supply and demand will make firewood hard to come by in many local areas (as it is in many third world nations).

One way to safeguard your own supply is to set aside a cord of wood… But even then, you can’t afford to waste this precious resource.

How can you stretch your cooking and heating fuel? Perhaps the best way is to build a  “rocket stove,” a simple stove design that will allow you to get the most out of your resources.

The concept is simple, you create a vertical column that draws air into the bottom to fuel a highly efficient fire, exhausting through the top of the chimney, which serves as a cooking surface.

Whether it’s heating or cooking that you’re after, this stove will maximize efficiency.

The Simplest Rocket Stove Design Known to Mankind

In this series of slides, I’ve shared a design for what is perhaps the simplest, easiest to build rocket stove I’ve ever seen. It’s literally as simple as stacking 16 bricks.

The most difficult step, by far, is the process of breaking some of the bricks in half with a trowel. As you can see from the video, however, precision is not required. In fact, I’m pretty sure just about anyone could chop a brick as good as the man in the video (page 4) does!

trowelMaterials Needed:

– 16 Bricks (preferably red clay or heat resistant)

– A trowel, hammer, or hatchet (to break the bricks)

– Kindling

– Lighter/Fire Source

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  1. Very good idea ,so simple anyone can do it . good presentation thanks for the information .im going out in the yard and gather my bricks to put my own together and give it a try . thanks

  2. Really a good idea and very simple. One thought – better use “fire” bricks, as regular bricks may contain some water and explode when heated. This is also true of stone. Do not use lime stone or and stone to build a fire place or oven as they are also porous and can retain water.

  3. Oh please! This is HIGHLY OFFENSIVE TO WE BRITISH! The reason being that we have been building & using the whole rocket stove concept BEFORE the term was thought of! I was trained to construct the same thing with substantial improvements which we developed since the Boer War! Back then & even today, we Limeys refer to this as a flatbed cooker. We use handy angle shelves to make the main heating bed onto which we place our cooking vessels, pots, pans and kettles.
    I can even train folks to learn HOW to use more than one type of fuel to fire it up. Not solid fuel either, diesel and engine sump oil, along with water – yes – you are reading this correctly! Water with oil being used in a fire! Crazy, but then we Brits are well known to you Americans for being nuts, yet coming up with sheer genius out of it all.

    The only real feedback to give, at this stage, Is USE CLAY BRICKS! Silicate bricks, ash or cinder blocks, compressed concrete paving blocks ARE dangerous to use in such. WHY? It is down to the way that they are manufactured. They all require water in their production, molding & compression. Sometime this water can be held in tiny pockets as liquid. As the block starts to heat up, so does the water inside the pocket. SO when it reaches 100 degree Celsius, it can explode with violence! To explain this in clearer terms, 1 cubic inch of water at 100 degrees C under pressure, with become 1 cubic foot of steam in less than 1 second in the open air. This is enough to explode or crack such materials being exposed to such heat.

    I hope that my comment has been of some use to folks, Stateside?

    Respectfully Yours,

    JGH Boyes.

  4. Thanks for the demo I would have never considered such a thing and I will add it to the list of knowledge obtained by research.
    Again much appreciated.
    JN USA

  5. Well JGH Boyes,
    despite your rant, if we can get past cultural differences, LOL, I would like to hear how you do it differently. Maybe you could offer a tutorial here and/or on YouTube.

    It’s true that clay or firebricks such as used in forging metal would be better, but sometimes people are just exploring alternative ways to survive. Of course as you point out, an explosion in a crisis isn’t going to help and in fact poses a risk that may be detrimental when medical help isn’t coming. It does concern me that even at the temperature to boil water that the bricks can explode which means that cooking meat would require 3x hotter fire increasing the potential for a blow up.

    I have also seen people fill a bucket with cement and create the funnel or airway for the fire and it’s heat with metal cans or PVC, which is later removed. This seems safer, but of course the cement is mixed with water. I don’t know if this is safer or the same hazard exists.

  6. Thanks for the video and knowledge. I like this idea a lot better than some of those on the market made of medal. Like you say, this stove is sturdy, I won’t have to be concerned with the stove and ultimately the pots tilting over. I really like your stove.

  7. Well I think you should show us another way that may be safer so how about it?

  8. Is there any way I can learn to build your “version” of the rocket stove? Your method sounds much, much better and also much safer. Thank you very much!

  9. If you have the ability, and you may not in a survival situation, by all means select the best materials for the job, i.e. red clay bricks or heat resistant cinder blocks. Just to play devil’s advocate here, all this about bricks “exploding” has been a bit over-hyped thanks to the internet. Given moist conditions and rapid temperature changes, some bricks can “fail.” These bricks may crack, pop, shatter, and eventually crumble… but explode? Not likely. Fail is probably a better word.

  10. Can use a Dakota fire pit in the same way and all that requires is a hole in the ground. Could also build your stove from mud. Initial fires would dry the mud into a rigid structure. Clay soils are better for this method.

  11. Very good idea. I have to try this. Thanks.

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