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Homemade Tarm/Econoburn?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by deerefanatic, Apr 11, 2008.

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  1. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    From the conversation on the other thread, I'm beginning to think that a homemade version of the Tarm or Econoburn is really what I want.... I've really wanted one of those since I first laid eyes on them.......

    The garn is just not what I want... Neither is really a mass refractory unit like I'm currently contemplating. I think the downdraft gasifier design used on the Tarms, Eko's etc is much more efficient than either.......

    Has anybody seen the Stickwood Furnace plans before? I can post a link to them if you need...... It's like a Tarm or Econoburn turned sideways! :)

    I'm really thinking this is the way I'd like to go........

    Anybody that has or knows of a source for plans for such a downdraft unit is heavily encouraged to post it here! :)

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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  3. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Yep, I've got that bookmarked... BUT, a few dimensions, some theory of operations, and some other various tips would be helpful! :)

    I'll have to draw up my ideas and see what ya'll think........
  4. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    If I'm not mistaken, that's the early version of what later became the JetStream gasification boiler. One of our members, slowzuki, has three of them. I helped him load one of them onto his pickup, but I've never seen one work.
  6. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    So you think that'd be worthwhile to build?

    The reason I'm leaning toward it is I can make it accept 6ft long pieces of wood..... Which would be great since I'd like to burn slabwood... The downside, is if the slabwood supply dries up or gets too expensive, it won't work with with large rounds.......

    Correct me if I'm wrong here.....
  7. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    How much time do you want to spend messing around with it? Seems the R+D will be time consuming...

    Chris
  8. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Make the door big enough and when your slab wood is no longer available, you can push a bale of hay or straw into it. I did a search for "straw boiler" and found they are very popular overseas.
  9. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

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    several yrs ago I came across some info on the internet about a farmer who built a round hay bail burner. It was a huge boiler for heating most of his farm. He had to load them in with a tractor because they are so heavy. If I remember correctly they burnt from the inside out right thru the middle. I think you could load 2 deep. It would burn for days.
    Mike
  10. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Hay/Straw has gotten expensive recently...... VERY expensive. I doubt it would be cheap heat.....

    As far as how much time do I want to spend messing around...... Well; I have wayyy more time than money, so I'll mess around till the sun goes down if that's what it takes.... (Frankly, we're about flat broke right now, so cheap and effective and long lasting is the word)

    The reason to go slabwood right now is 2000 lbs of dry oak slabwood is about $20 at this time...... Pretty cheap heat.....

    I've been wondering, for those who've been viewing my other thread about the greenwood spinoff I'm thinking of building: the big complaint I hear is that they smoke when burning slabwood, small rounds, etc..... Would that be due to the natural draft design and not enough airflow? If so, it seems some draft fans would solve that issue.......

    I short, natural draft units tend to like big wood, and forced systems tend to really go to town on small stuff... (And man, will slabwood burn HOT!)

    I'm after the happy medium.. Seems like a good mass-refractory would be the way to go.... But, a downdrafter like the tarm or like the stickwood furnace (I know, not really a "down"draft, but same principle, just sideways) is really what I'd like......

    Of course, with a log splitter, the slabwood drying up isn't too much of a concern........ Just split that big stuff!
  11. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Deer Fanatic and others- Good hay and straw IS going up in price. However, as a hay farmer, I know that there is always some hay that gets rained on or the humidity stays too high for too long and it often gets baled and dropped in the hedgerow just to get it off the field or it's sold cheap as cow hay. Also, those with their own equipment could profit from those who want their weed fields mowed every year. I wouldn't want to burn quality hay.
    It may not interest you but I'd love to try something for burning small bales. R&D;can get expensive and timely especially for us that have a hard time visualizing certain things. I could build it if I knew how. Anybody wanna help? Nothing too high tech (k.i.s.s.). It is intersting that there are some big outfits available in the U.S. where Europe has many different brands and sizes. I wonder if they just don't make themselves prisoners to the oil lords so they have this other technology in place already.
    kenny chaos
  12. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Ok HERE is what I want to build: http://www.gulland.ca/homenergy/boiler.htm

    That's really what I've wanted since day one. Now, I have a question on sizing.........

    I currently have a Piece-of-crap OWB that I am done with. The water jacket is in good shape and doesn't leak, made of like, .10-.25 inch steel. It is 5ft long, 3.5ft wide, and 4ft tall.... Could I use this as the top firebox for a downdraft like that in the link above, then size the bottom to match it? It would be great as it's already assembled and ready to go.

    You may wonder why such a big boiler. Well, I have an old 2 story farmhouse, plus it's DHW, plus the massive amount of DHW in our milk barn (probably 150 gallons a day) plus my shop with radiant heat.. The shop alone has a calculated heat loss of 60,000 BTU's/hr in 10 degree weather..... So I'm gonna need a big boiler.

    Let me know if I'm off my rocker on this.. :)
  13. tom in maine

    tom in maine Minister of Fire

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    I have worked with Dick Hill over the years. (We do a radio program together.)
    The Jetstream is an awesome boiler. If you can ever find one, buy it!
    It is very serviceable and is usually inexpensive. It was the most advanced unit of the original designs that
    were licensed from the University of Maine.

    I like the two others that are posted on this thread.

    I asked Kerr a couple years ago, if they would ever consider manufacturing the Jetstream again. They said it was too expensive to manufacture?? (Compared to WHAT?)
    I think it is a fairly simple design. I worked on several of them and really liked their simplicity and serviceablity.
  14. tom in maine

    tom in maine Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, Dick is pushing 90 and is still going strong.
    I would build a boiler just like the Jetstream, but use ceramic fiber refractory beyond the area where the wood is dropped in.

    His boilers never had issues with cold return creosoting or other problems that boilers that think they can safely turndown suffer from.

    "Burn it fast and store the heat." It worked 30 years ago and it still works!

    I inherited his files when he retired.
    We did some small boilers years ago. After I inherited his wood boiler files, I realized that a lot of the stuff that we tried on my suggestion,
    was stuff that he had already done.

    He literally forgot more than I knew!!

    My hero.
  15. Bob Rohr

    Bob Rohr Minister of Fire

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    here is a link to what looks to be a fairly efficient round bale burner. I suspect a savvy farmer could grow an ideal crop to provide the most amount of BTU's.

    Several turkey growers around SW Missouri have been building round bale boilers for their poultry barn heat.

    www.herlt-holzheizung.de/engl/HSVE.html

    hr
  16. ugenetoo

    ugenetoo New Member

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    hey tomg
    dick hill IS the prof.
    i especially like his no holds barred stand on nuclear power. if we are to continue with the standard of living that oil based energy has given us, we will HAVE to go nuclear.
  17. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    Hey sparks,

    have you got any information about how these guys are building them? Are they hanging out anywhere on the internet?
  18. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Ok, so back to my current topic, with the current size of my OWB's water jacket (which will be used as a firebox), how big should my refractory gap be and how large for the bottom chamber?

    :)
  19. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Another question:

    Should I use an insulating or non-insulating refractory for the bottom?

    I know there are insulating refractories that you can use to make small melting furnaces that can be 1500F inside and only warm on the outside..... Then there are the non-insulated varieties that are just as hot on the "cold" side as the hot side.

    My thought is: Use insulating refractory on the firebox walls, then non-insulating for the bottom pieces as they need to be hot all the way through to achieve gasification... Then insulating refractory in the secondary burn chamber.... Does this sound correct?
  20. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Ok, nevermind.

    I've purchased firebrick for my stove... I've decided to make a smaller firebox, 42 deep, 33 wide, 36 tall (inside dimensions with firebrick installed) which will net me around 25 cu ft.... The water jacket on my stove if used as a firebox would get me into the size for a 2,000,000 btu/hr stove! :O

    Alsey firebrick, and Alsey Hi-Cast castable refractory....

    Question: The place I got the brick from sold me "fireclay" to put them together with.... It's just ground clay... Is this the correct stuff to use? The bag says right on it: "Not certified for refractory mortar"........

    Or do I take it back and get something different?
  21. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    I can't directly answer your question as to whether it is right for your application, but if you haven't found it already, here is the link to the Alsey web page on the Hi-Cast.

    http://www.alsey.com/industrial_hicast_castable.htm

    Looks like it can handle up to 2700 deg. F.
  22. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    yah, I was there.... The Hi-Cast is what I need for the bottom pieces... I'm just wondering about what to use to mortar the firebrick together...... Or maybe just stack em up and let it be.....
  23. KZIEBARTH

    KZIEBARTH New Member

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  24. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Yah, nice stuff.... Did you notice the $500 MINIMUM shipping charge? Yikes!

    I talked to the guy at the clay factory... He said they put the disclamer on the bag for lawsuit purposes.... He said that he has gotten good reports using 3 parts sand, 1 part clay, & 1 part cement.......

    -Matt
  25. deerefanatic

    deerefanatic Minister of Fire

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    Ok, does anybody know what CFM of blower I should look for to use on this puppy?

    I'm shooting for 500,000 btu/hr out of it. I was going to use an old leaf vacuum, but it's going to be wayy too noisy........

    So, what should I look for? 200 cfm, 400? I was going to use a draft induction style blower where the blower was drawing air out of the stove, but now I think I'm going to go the opposite route and force air into the stove.......


    How about this unit? http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2008050721460283&item=16-1158&catname=electric
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